KCPA 2017/2018 First Meeting

The First meeting for the 2017 -2018 took place in the College on Tuesday 10th October.All new members were welcomed by the Chairperson Mr Nick Bennett.

Kieran Pryal was elected as the new Treasurer. The Post of PRO /Website coordinator is still vacant. 

Funding Request wee approved for:-

  • Contribution to The Senior Boys Rugby Trip to Manchester.
  • Contribution to Debs Committee to help fund 6th Form Hoodies 
  • Contribution to the Smart TV Screen in the Girls Boarding House.

Update from AGM: Board of Management.

After their 3 year service Shelly Stokes and Derek Beattie rotated out of their position of Parents Representatives on the Board of Management. The Parents Association Committee greatly appreciate their service and contributions on behalf of the Association and best wishes for the rest of their “school” involvement.

Through an open ballot Dorcas Collier Hannon, representing Boarders and Brian Scobie representing Day Pupils were elected to serve as the Parents Representatives onto the College Board of Management for the next 3 years. Best wishes and the committee look forward to working with you Dorcas and Brian.

Update from AGM: New Committee Members

The AGM was held on Thursday 28th September.

6 new members of the Parents Association were welcomed onto The Committee.

Carlow – Surine Hillebrand

Kildare – Siobhan Hanway

Laois – Gillian Purser

Laois – Valerie Whitten

Kilkenny – Geraldine Kearney

Wexford – Henry Chamney

The first meeting of the new committee will be Tuesday 10th October, at which a new Treasurer , PRO and Deputy Chairman will be elected.

 

 

Nomination Form for Parents Association

Completed nomination forms can be presented at the meeting, by email or post. However, please ensure you have sent your expression of interest to chairperson@kcpa.ie or Chairperson KCPA c/o School Office Kilkenny College, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny by Monday 25th September 2017 to have your name included on the ballot paper

Kilkenny College Parents Association

www.KCPA.ie

 

Nomination Form for Parents Representative

 On the Kilkenny College Board of Management

 

 

I wish to be included to the list of candidates in the election of the Parents Representative to the Board of Management.

 

Candidate:

Name:       ____________________  

 

Address:    ____________________

                  ____________________

                  ____________________             

                  ____________________

 

Phone No:  ____________________

Email:         ____________________

 

             

Is your child/children attending Kilkenny College as:         Boarder:     ______

                                                                                                Day Pupil:  ______

 

What form/s are your child/children in    _____________________________________________

 

Signed:  _________________________________

 

 

Proposed by:                                                                   Seconded by:

Name:      _____________________                                Name:     _____________________

 

Address:  ­­_____________________                                Address:  _____________________         

 

               ______________________                                               ______________________

 

Signed:   ______________________                                Signed:    _____________________

 

PLEASE RETURN BY MONDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2017

 

 

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Kilkenny College Parents Association

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Date: Thursday 28th September 2017 @ 7.30pm

Venue: Mc Adoo Hall, Kilkenny College

Refreshments served from 7pm

Guest Speaker: Prof Donal O’Shea

 

The Kilkenny College Parents association would like to invite you to attend our AGM on Thursday 28th September 2017. Our guest speaker for the evening is Professor Donal O’Shea.

Prof. Donal O’Shea is a Consultant Endocrinologist and Physician based in St Vincent’s University Hospital and St Columcilles Hospital. His talk is entitled ‘Healthy Eating & Active Living in 2017’

 

We will hold two elections at the AGM. One for the election of new members to the Parents Association Committee and one for the election of two Parent Nominees on the Board of Management.

 

Parents Association Committee

We currently have 6 vacancies for the Parents Association committee. We would welcome any parent/guardian who is interested in joining the committee. We would particularly welcome parents/guardians from the Kilkenny, Waterford, Wicklow, Laois & Offaly regions following retirements of committee members this year. Nominations will be accepted at the AGM.

 

Election of Parent Nominees to the Board of Management

The current Board of Management has reached the end of its term of office. At the AGM we will elect the two parent nominees for the incoming Board of Management.

 

The Board of Management has a three year term of office. The Board of Management look after the management & welfare of the school.  The Board meets once a month. In total there are approximately nine meetings per school year. The Parent Nominees also become ‘ex officio’ members on the Parents Association.

Under BOM guidelines we are required to have gender balance so we are seeking one male nominee and one female nominee. We also require at least one parent to represent boarders. The election is open to all parents/guardians who have a child attending Kilkenny College. If you would like to put your name forward for the election please complete the attached Nomination Form which has to be signed by yourself and two other parents who are proposing & seconding your nomination.

 

Completed nomination forms can be presented at the meeting, by email or post. However, please ensure you have sent your expression of interest to chairperson@kcpa.ie or Chairperson KCPA c/o School Office Kilkenny College, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny by Monday 25th September 2017 to have your name included on the ballot paper.

 

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM at the end of the month.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Nick Bennett

Chairperson

 

 

 

March and April Funding Requests

Over the March and April meetings the Parents Association Committee funding of just under €3,500 to a variety of requests. 

Dishwashers were approved for both the 6th Year Boarder Boys and the 6th Year Border Girls.

Contributions for the cost of accommodation for the Kate Russell Hockey Tournament, the Minor Boys Hockey trip to Northern Ireland and the Minor Girls Hockey Trip to Dublin. We also funded Medals for the South East Hockey Cup.

A request from one of the Senior Students resulted in funding for Megaphones and Drums to be used by pupils supporting the various school teams at sports matches.

Admissions to Schools Bill 2016

Text of Letter sent to Minister R Bruton T.D. regarding Admissions to Schools Bill 2016

 

 

Minister R. Bruton T.D.,

Minister for Education and Skills,

Marlborough Street,

Dublin 1.

16th March 2017.

 

Dear Minister,

We, the Parents Association of Kilkenny College, are writing to you following your invitation to make submissions on the Schools Admissions Bill and are pleased to makes ours herewith.

Introduction

While your Consultation Paper clearly states it is the primary school admissions system that is first being considered nevertheless, as the Parents Association of Kilkenny College secondary school, we are making this submission on the basis it will have both immediate and intermediate implications for us. Making changes in respect of the primary school system will inevitably impact on the secondary system. It is our deep concern that by altering primary schools admissions, the initiative will undermine the minority secondary school system with the effect that minority schools will not be able to serve the population for which they were established. As a school built of the ethos of the Church of Ireland but one whose Admissions Policy clearly provides for those of all religions and none, we are deeply concerned that all options presented by your Department place a direct threat to us as school providing education in line with the ethos of a minority religion. It is also one that we will steadfastly work to protect. By this submission we will clearly express that a fifth should be offered – retention of the status quo.

Our submission is framed in three sections namely:

  • General Background of Kilkenny College which includes some information explaining why Options 1 and 2 would not work.
  • A general comment on each of the Options and a suggestion for a 5th
  • A final section that outlines some broader legal and political factors that we believe will be important matters as the debate on this initiative unfolds.

Section 1 – General Background

Kilkenny College serves, in the first instance, as a secondary school for the Diocesan College of the Cashel, Ferns and Ossory Diocese of the Church of Ireland and has done so since its inception in 1538. The school is, today, the only second level school with a Church of Ireland ethos serving the following Counties:

  • Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Tipperary.

Kilkenny College is also the only co-educational second level boarding school with a Church of Ireland ethos serving:

  • Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Tipperary, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford.

Our school has a current enrolment of 846 students of whom 432 are boarding students and 414 are day students. Of the 432 boarding students 420 live in the counties above and Westmeath, Cork and Dublin. There are 12 international boarding students.

Kilkenny College has a current total of 69 feeder national schools located in 12 counties of which 29 are Church of Ireland national schools. The balance are Roman Catholic, Educate Together or Gaelscoilleanna national schools. The school has grown with increasing popularity and respect and is currently heavily oversubscribed each year. In 2016 a total of three hundred and sixty two (362) applications were received for entry into 1st Form. Typical enrolment into 1st Form is one hundred and forty four students (144) of which 74 are boarding places. It is expected to grow to 870 by 2018.

Section 2 – Options and comments

Kilkenny College’s Admissions Policy is straightforward and transparent. Priority is given in the first instance to applicants from a Church of Ireland and other Protestant faith background. Priority is then given to siblings of existing students. Thereafter places are offered to applicants from the local and wider community. The College fills all available places each year and within the student community are students from all faiths and none.

Option 1 – Catchment area.

The Catchment Area proposal, as outlined in the Consultation Paper, does not provide a workable for our school. The following points portray the reasons why we would object to this option:

  • In general local geographic catchments cannot be defined for the dispersed Protestant community and this most certainly applies to the population that Kilkenny serves. As noted above, we serve ten counties and, indeed, within the current student enrolment of approximately eight hundred and forty six, there are upwards of seventy students who come from outside of the Diocese.
  • Likewise, we consider it incorrect to describe the catchment area of Kilkenny College as being the province of Leinster, since the school has significant numbers of students, both day and boarder, travelling from the neighbouring county of Tipperary, which has no Protestant secondary school within its borders. Furthermore, pupils come to the College from as far afield as Meath and Westmeath.  – see background above. Serving the needs of ten counties is the reality that confronts our school.
  • This option would also seek to ignore long-standing family links with particular schools.
  • As noted above, Kilkenny College provides boarding facilities in order to accommodate Protestant students from their far-reaching catchment area. To confine our school to a more local “catchment” area will undermine boarding and almost certainly herald the end of this facility, one that has existed to serve the wider Protestant community on this island since its foundation in 1538. It will also render a large capital investment programme over many decades redundant with huge costs likely to be incurred in any restructuring of these facilities should the status of the school change.

Conclusion. The Catchment Area system, which sets boundaries to the catchment area, is completely at variance with the reality of enrolment of our school.

 

 

Option 2 – Nearest School Rule

In examining this proposal, we have also found this option inappropriate for the situation facing Kilkenny College. We note the following points:

  • As with the “catchment area” approach, it must be remembered that minority faith schools (particularly at second level) are not all the same in that we cater for many minority faiths and none – not just Church of Ireland.
  • The Nearest School Rule also seeks to dismiss the relevance of family traditions and identity within dispersed minority communities. As a general principle, we remember only too well, that religious viewpoints have dominated our society in the past and it is good to recognise more pluralism alongside religion. However, we are adamant that we must beware of not allowing the pendulum to swing too far in the opposite direction. 

 

Conclusion. We do not favour the nearest school rule, for the reasons outlined above but also in relation to the dispersed catchment area from which our students come. It is not acceptable that a Nearest School system be used which sets pre-determined limits on what schools are available to a child based solely on those spaces available within the immediate locality

 

Option 3 – Quota System

Overall, we find this a crude option and one that would create many problems. Limiting the proportion of faith-based places within a school espousing to subscribe to that same religious ethos would seem incompatible with its very identity.  We consider that:

  • It is entirely appropriate that a school founded and operated under a particular religious ethos should give preference to applicant students of that same ethos.  There is no doubt that within some faiths, religious upbringing and education are seen as contemporaneous and the imposition of denominational quotas would be viewed as completely irrational move.
  • The number of Protestant children can change from year to year and a fixed quota system could lead to Protestant children being turned away some years and not others. Those that would, basically, be randomly turned away would have to be accommodated in a school with a different ethos of their own, while places would have to be offered to those of no connection to that ethos. This would lead to unfairness which would cause a great deal of hurt to families. Again this would lead to a dilution of the school’s ethos
  • While, as a possible solution, that could possibly work in Dublin where more schools are available and distances shorter , it would undoubtedly damage rural Protestant primary and secondary schools where there will be a higher proportion of Protestant applications for a smaller number of places.

Conclusion. A quota system that (i) does not facilitate the accommodation of a scattered Protestant population and (ii) which would set pre-determined limits on enrolments each year will not be acceptable. Without clear exceptions being given would rule this option out entirely.


 

Option 4 – Outright Prohibition

The Irish Constitution, in Article 42, recognises the family as the primary educator of the child and makes particular mention of the rights of parents “in the matter of religious and moral formation” of their children.

It must be noted that Protestant schools in Ireland have a proud tradition of being inclusive and have long welcomed pupils from outside of their own denomination traditions.  This can be seen to be the current situation in Kilkenny College as set out above.

In light of the constitutional rights of parents, it is necessary, however, that where they are oversubscribed, Protestant schools continue to be able to prioritise applicants for places of their own denomination tradition, who may be travelling from very considerable distances away.

The extension to the Post-Primary sector of an outright policy prohibition from using religion as a factor in admission is overtly against the principles upon which religious schools were founded.  To permit faith-based schools to exist and yet to restrict them from accommodating members of their own faith is an inherent contradiction. 

Conclusion. We do not believe an outright prohibition of religious denomination as a factor in Admissions to Schools is acceptable as this undermines Article 42 of the Irish Constitution as set out above. It is therefore not acceptable that an outright prohibition on religious denomination be the system used to manage admissions to schools.

We recognize that our above considerations have each presented reasons why each particular option would not work and that we have been less constructive in proposing solutions. This lies in the fact that we firmly believe that a 5th Option – retaining the status quo – is the only one that genuinely protects our minority status and respects the ethos to which we subscribe. Equally, we would add that is not a right that comes without a cost either on our side (as parents or members of our particular faith) nor that of the State. We would point that we too provide considerable additional resources, both in terms of actual finance but also our own time and commitment to maintain our school and insure the retention of an ethos we value.  

 

Section 3 Other Issues

Finally, there are a number of additional issues we would like to bring to your attention.

  1. The extension to the secondary school sector of an outright policy prohibition from using religion as a factor in admission is overtly against the principles upon which religious schools were founded. Allowing faith-based schools to exist and yet to restrict them from accommodating members of their own faith would seem to be a contradiction. 

 

  1. While religious schools have welcomed state assistance in terms of payment of teacher salaries and in some cases complete state-funding, at no stage during the process to enter the free scheme was the assistance understood to be contingent upon changes to Kilkenny College’s Admissions Policy. In fact, the contrary was assured i.e. our Admissions Policy was guaranteed to remain. Had alteration of our Admissions Policy been a condition it is very conceivable that the school Board would have made different decisions at that time. Adoption of this Bill without full recognition of our status and honouring the terms and conditions agreed in good faith would represent a serious change and led us to seek legal opinion and action. Additionally, at a stage when many schools have become economically dependent upon the state for their existence, a reversal to being wholly independent so as to protect our identity and ethos may no longer possible.

 

  1. In addition to our reference to Article 42 of the Constitution, we would also draw your attention to Article 2, of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights which states ‘No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.’ We are of the view that this is a right against the State not against an education provider. We consider this a very legitimate right and would argue that, as a minority religion that could be discriminated by the Admissions Bill, this Article is an important protection against such discrimination. Politically, we would also feel that in light of any possible steps to move towards an united Ireland, such discrimination might not sit well in the overall scheme of future negotiations.

 

  1. Finally, we would note that in answer to Deputy Martin Heydon’s parliamentary question on Schools Enrolments Data 200-226 on 23rd February, the Minister responded that the information requested by Deputy Heydon was unavailable. To date no evidence has been provided in support of a need for change to admission policy in either the primary or post-primary educational sectors. The Minister has referred to a lack of school spaces in certain urban areas and oversubscription in the primary sector as affecting less than 20% of religious-based schools. In the absence of clear, strong data and evidence, we question why such a policy on Admissions is being pursued.

We thank you for the opportunity to make this submission and look forward to hearing the outcome of these deliberations. Once these are known we will be glad to work further with you in addressing the concerns we have raised.

 

 

 

Mr. Nick Bennett

Chair

Kilkenny College Parents Association

 

February Funding Approvals

At the February committee meeting the following funding requests were approved ;

  • 6th year Hoodies for the Debs €1,190
  • Music Department Formal Folders for the Choirs €1,100
  • Support towards Hockey Equipment Storage Unit €4,000
  • Outside seating for Girls Dorms  €1,400
  • P.E. Benches €955

Annual Carol Service

 

KILKENNY COLLEGE SERVICE OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS

 

In  The Cathedral of St. Canice  

 

@ 11:00 a.m, on Monday 19th December

 

Refreshments for Parents/Guardians in

Rothe House, Parliament Street

 following the Service

Courtesy of the Parents’ Association

2016 /2017 Parents Association Committee

The Committee for the coming year is as follows. We welcome our new members onboard, and look forward to meeting up with them at our December meeting. Nixk Bennett is the new chairman, Colin Feely remains as treasurer and Brian Scobie as Website / PRO. The new secretary will be appointed at the December meeting and the sub groups finalised for the year ahead. All parents please remember that The Parents Association is there to promote the interests of all pupils at the school, if you want the Committee to raise any issues with the school please send your contact details and county to info@kcpa.ie and the relevant member will be in touch.
County Kilkenny:
  • Nick Bennett
  • Colin Feely
  • Brian Scobie
  • Jackie Treacy
  • Dermot Dalton
  • Kieran Dempsey
  • John Clarke
  • Ger O’Neill
  • Sol Saez
  • Kieran Pryal
  • Amanda O’Flaherty
  • Helen Dobson
County Carlow:
  • Patrick Empey
  • Fiona Hawkins
County Kildare:
 
  • Dawn Barrett
County Laois/Offaly:
  • Richard Jack
  • Alan Stanley
County Tipperary:
  • Jenny Fahy
  • Eileen Spens
County Waterford:
  • Julie Green
  • Trish Power
County Wicklow/Dublin:
  • Sinead Hamilton
  • Elaine Smyth Collier
  • Doro Callinan
County Wexford:
  • Glen Jacob
  • George Steacy
Ex-Officio – Parent Representatives on the Board of Management:
  • Shelly Stokes
  • Derek Beattie