What we do
Our First Year of Operation ….
The handover of the 97 Christian Brother schools in the Republic of Ireland by the Christian Brothers to the Edmund Rice Schools Trust represented a hugely significant milestone in the history of Irish education. In its first year, the Edmund Rice Schools Trust has sought to make the transition seamless while ensuring that the schools continue to receive the support and advice that they deserve.
This has been made possible by the steady sense of purpose delivered by all in the Executive Team. In the first instance, this was led by the Senior Management Team of Gerry Bennett, Tony McCann, Helen O’Brien and Louise Callaghan. Assisted by Br. Sean Breartun, they supervised the refurbishment and installation of IT in our office at Clonkeen Rd., Dublin, at the same time as new boards of management were appointed and induction was afforded to newly appointed principals and deputy-principals.
The characteristic spirit of the Trust and of our schools is clearly set out in the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Charter. The Charter underpins and informs the work of the Trust office which is delivered in three interrelated areas: Ethos, Governance and Finance and Property.
The areas of Governance and Ethos are inextricably linked in the day to day work of the executive, many areas were shared among all senior staff for example:
- * Working with selection panels towards the appointment of new Principals and Deputy Principals (Secondary) and Principals (Primary) totalling 40 in all.
- * Induction of newly appointed principals into the network.
- * Cluster meetings of Principals.
- * School and Boards of Management visits.
Whereas the first year of the new Edmund Rice Trust offered many positive opportunities for development it also presented a number of challenges.
As the Trust offices were undergoing a process of refurbishment in the first two month period much praise should be afforded to the Trust team for ensuring all appointments and induction in the early weeks of the Trust were completed within the appropriate time frame. Many thanks to the community at the Edmund Rice Centre in North Richmond St. for providing the Trust with temporary accommodation and for the hospitality that was shown to us during that period.
Following on from The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Irish media requested information on the financial arrangements regarding the funding of, and the assets of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. A comprehensive press release was issued which outlined the Child Protection Guidelines followed by the Trust and also the value of the properties transferred to the Trust including the current funding arrangements.
The Edmund Rice Schools Trust affords everyone involved in running the ninety seven schools the opportunity to share ideas and pursue best practice together and so give practical expression to the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Charter. During the past year, school principals met at cluster meetings. They responded that it was invigorating and encouraging to get together with people of common purpose and ideals. We will therefore extend the network of such cluster meetings in the coming year.
The first Annual Principals’ Conference of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust was held in November in Athlone. Attendance included principals from first and second level schools and from ERST Northern Ireland. This was the first time all principals in the network came together at one annual conference.
The Trust has two new publications, An Siol, for all Edmund Rice Trust schools, and Eolai, for their Principals and Boards of Management. We intend to publish each on a twice yearly basis.
The characteristic spirit of our schools is clearly set out in the Charter which underpins all that we do as a Trust. During the coming year we will be assisting schools in reviewing their mission statements in light of that Charter and assisting them reflect its values when formulating and reviewing their particular policies.
The energy and commitment of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust staff is directed towards supporting and advising the schools.
We have a common purpose and together are finding new ways to support each other in our work.