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Síol Newsletter – Winter 2018

Gerry Bennett, Chief Executive, ERST, Opening Welcome, Síol Newsletter – Winter 2018

By now I hope most of you will have received our Celebration Book to mark our first 10 years as the Edmund Rice Schools Trust.  Also, I hope that you will agree that it is a vibrant representation of just some of the amazing activities that have taken place over the past decade across our Network.

It is impossible to capture everything that has happened.  If we were to put together a book on sporting, artistic, academic, and charitable contributions and achievements alone, we would need a library!  We hope that it gives a little taste of what it means to be an Edmund Rice School, as a welcoming, caring home for all. 

Our schools are our lifeblood. The creativity, diversity, energy and innovation within our Network is simply amazing.  As a Trust team we are here to do one thing, and that is to provide the framework that supports and facilitates the teaching, learning, support and encouragement that is an integral part of your school life.

I want to reflect too on where we have come from.  Blessed Edmund Rice, the extraordinary man who founded his first school in Waterford 216 years ago, lit a flame that was, over time, to give opportunity to hundreds of thousands of children living in Ireland and around the world.  Where there were no options, he provided a solid choice which started with a set of values enshrined in the Catholic faith.

In 2008, the Christian Brothers generously handed on responsibility for their schools in Ireland to the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, to hold the schools in trust, so that they would continue to provide Catholic education, in the Edmund Rice tradition.  It is precisely because of this – and in the spirit of Edmund himself -  that our schools are so open to everybody.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about our schools over the past decade is the growing and flourishing diversity that distinguishes us.  We are truly educating together.  Our students represent every culture, every ability, every economic background. Edmund Rice Schools are notable for our welcome for, and inclusion of, children whose families have recently arrived in Ireland. In one of our South Dublin schools, there are 44 nationalities represented with no less than 30 languages being spoken on a daily basis. 

We know that there is a strong demand for the broad range of schools within our Network.  The Edmund Rice Schools Trust has opened a number of new schools over the past decade, based on parental demand, and we look forward to expanding and opening more over the coming years.

While we know that it is impossible to predict the future, there is perhaps one thing that we feel will stay constant into the future.  We are confident that the fundamental tenets of our unique Charter will continue to reflect the values of quality teaching and learning, care, equality, leadership and faith that are at the heart of Edmund Rice Education.

Our aim, as the Patron/Trustee body for our dynamic Network, is to support our schools to bring these values to life and to make them an integral and meaningful part of modern school life and experience -  in the classroom, on the playing fields and in the community. For now and for the future.

Gerry Bennett
Chief Executive
Edmund Rice Schools

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