Kilkenny College Parents Association Newsletter
Parents Association Mission Statement:
“The Parents’ Association shall promote the interests of the students in the school in co-operation with the Board, Principal, teachers and students in line with the current Mission Statement of Kilkenny College”
About The Parents Association.
What we do
- Liaises with the Principal and the Board of Management on matters relating to the school.
- Adopts a programme of activities which will promote the involvement of parents in the operation of the school, in consultation with the Principal.
- Allocation of funds raised by the Parents Association.
- Participate in COMPASS, the body representing Minority Religious Groups on the National Parents’ Council.
How we do it.
The Parents Association is funded entirely from contributions paid to The College by parents for Parents Association membership.
The PA holds their AGM normally in September each year, membership of the committee is open to all parents of students at the school. Committee membership is for a 4 year period, and we try to achieve a balance of Boarders and Day Pupils Parents as well as representatives from the various counties from which the school population is drawn.
The Parents Association Committee is made has 26 volunteer members, who hold monthly meetings from September through to May each year. At these meetings various school issues are discussed. Mr Thomson the Principal also attends the meetings, as a guest to deliver his report to the committee, generally speaking this consists of achievements and points of interest from the school, and Mr Thomson will clarify any issues that the PA has raised with him prior to the meeting.
There are 4 executive officers on the Committee. Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Website/ Communications. There are various sub groups within The Committee, each with their own areas of responsibility.
The Parents Association is www.kcpa.ie this can be found either by clicking directly on the link above or through the Parents and Past Pupils Association Tab on the School website http://www.kilkennycollege.ie/
The National Association of Compass is a constituent body of the National Parents Council (Post Primary – http://www.npcpp.ie/) representing all parents who choose to educate their children in schools or colleges which promote a Protestant or other minority religion ethos. All Schools affiliated to Compass express a particular ethos which stems from their respective religious and cultural traditions. There are 27 such affiliated schools in the Republic of Ireland. Patrick Empey and Dawn Barrett are Kilkenny College Parents Association representatives on the Compass National Executive.
During the academic year 2017-18 Compass engaged in the following four main matters:
- New website
In order to improve communication with and outreach to parents of Compass affiliated schools, it developed a new website – https://compassparents.org/. This website is now live and it is anticipated that it will be developed further in the coming months.
- Interactive on Cyber Aggression.
On the 10th March, 2018 at the High School, Compass held its first interactive of 2018. The event was entitled ‘Cyber-Aggression: How Can Parents Keep Their Children and Teenagers Safe?” and was presented by Dr Stephen Minton, Chartered Psychologist and Professor in Psychology of Education at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin.
The presentation – a copy of which is available in the Kilkenny College Parents Association website – was well received. It touched on several issues including the association between cyber-bullying and suicides; the constant evolution of internet technology and related challenges; legislation and school policies; and practical suggestions and guidance to parents.
Such was the positive response to Dr Minton’s presentation that the Kilkenny College Parents Association has invited him to address our AGM in September.
- Schools Admission Bill.
For a number of years, the Department of Education and Skills and, in particular former Minister Ruairi Quinn and current Minister Richard Bruton, have indicated a wish to remove the capacity for state-funded denominational primary schools to use religion as a criterion in admissions. During 2017 Minister Bruton advanced this proposal to remove the role of faith in determining admissions to faith-based schools. The purpose of the change, on the face of it, was to address difficulties some students have experienced in accessing school places.
While initially these proposed reforms focused on primary schools there was little doubt that the same approach would be adopted with respect to the post primary sector. COMPASS, along with a number of others, were deeply concerned that, by altering the primary schools’ admissions policy, the initiative would undermine the schools it represents to such an extent that they could no longer serve the population for which they were established.
Thanks to a large and active response from various bodies representing the interests of education in minority faith-based schools, including COMPASS, the Minister has proposed a Bill that would allow minority faith-based schools to continue to use religion as one criterion in admissions. The Bill has yet to go before the Oireachtas and therefore is still subject to further debate.
- National Parents Council Post Primary
National Parents Council post primary works as an umbrella group for parent associations in the secondary section of the Irish education system and is the main body through which the Department of Education and Skills seeks to engage with parents. It is managed by a Board consisting of representatives from its four constituent members (COMPASS, the National Parents Association of ETB Schools; the Federation of Secondary Schools Parents Associations – the representative body for Parents with children in Catholic Voluntary Secondary schools; and the Parents Association representing the 95 Community and Comprehensive Schools). The NPCPP has, over the last number of years, faced a number of challenges in addressing all its objectives. Consequently, during the second half of 2017 the Board commenced work with an external facilitator to examine how the governance arrangements of the NPCPP could be reformed in order to better fulfil its mandate.
This process is progressing and a number of proposals are being finalised. These changes should lead to a more professional and ‘fit for purpose’ organisation with much greater transparency. Officers from Compass have been heavily engaged in discussions of the re-structuring and will provide a full briefing at the Compass AGM on 26th May.
The ever popular Dragons Den business competition, reached its finale on Thursday evening March 8th, when 9 businesses made their pitch to four independent Dragons.
A packed McAdoo audience listened intently as the students were put through their paces by the Dragons’ interrogation of their product, sales projections, production techniques, and every aspect of a business plan. The entrepreneurs were very impressive in their ability to demonstrate that they understood the complexities of developing a product and preparing to bring it to the marketplace.
The Parents Association continues to support this very popular TY event by – making a couple of people from the PA committee available to the student entrepreneurs to have a practice run in the week in advance of the event proper, by recruiting the Dragons and by providing prize money – 3 X €50 prizes.
The evening of April 19th was the culmination of weeks of effort by all TY students to produce an academic project. The subject matter of their project was open to any topic the students wanted to write about. In advance of the evening Mr Willis and staff adjudicated the 10 best, and the authors of these presented on the evening to their peer group, their teachers, and to a panel of 4 independent judges.
The subject for each of the 10 projects was as varied as it was interesting and the students did exceptionally well presenting and then fielding questions from judges. Two of the judges work in third level institutes, and they particularly commented on the standard of work and presentations, and expressed how very valuable an experience for the presenters and the TY audience to have completed, in preparation for moving into further education and the work place.
The Parents Association supported this new initiative by recruiting the 4 judges and making available 3 X €50 prizes. However the judges had such a difficult task deciding on just 3 projects, and felt that every one of the students had put in such great work, they decided to make it 5 prizes of €30.
Each year the Parents Association organise the Debs with the Student Debs Committee, helping the 6th Years to organise their own tailor-made event to celebrate the end of their time at Kilkenny College. Last year was no exception when Debs 2017 took place on Tuesday 22nd August at the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge. Along with the Debs, the Parents Association also hosted the Parents Reception which allowed parents of 6th Years and senior school staff to come together at the Keadeen Hotel, prior to the official start of the Debs dinner.
The weather was overcast but we still managed for parents, students and school staff to socialise in the beautiful gardens, where many photos were taken of the students in all their splendour and their excitement about moving onto the next stage of their lives. This is the last key event where the parents can get together socially and meet up with other parents, who they have come to know after 6 years at Kilkenny College. Mr Thompson also gave heartfelt congratulations for the hard work put in; the exam results achieved and wished the students all well for the future. The 6th Years then gathered for one last group photograph.
The Debutantes then proceeded into dinner, keen to start their own celebrations!
This group will liaise with the school on matters relating to uniforms when required it is also responsible for the Second Hand Uniform Sale
The second hand uniform sale will take place this year on 20th June, from 7.00 pm – 9.00pm in the Colton Building. If you have used uniforms that you would like to donate / sell, please bag the items, once laundered and drop them off at the school office. For payment please mark the bags clearly with your Name and Details. The value of any items sold will be credited to your school account via Mr Dukelow. Please note we no longer can accept Blue Blazers or Blue Shirts For further information please contact Mr Dermot Dalton. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Hand Book Sale also takes place on the 20th June. 6.00pm – 8.00pm
This group will liaise with the school on Green Issue when necessary
Funding Requests and Supports
One of the main activities of the PA is to offer financial support to the school, parents and pupils, through granting funding requests. These requests are put to the full committee at the monthly meetings. They are subject to certain criteria within the PA Funding Guidelines before approval. For the school this is usually a contribution to buy some much needed equipment that normal budgets cannot stretch to, or a contribution to, for example the IT provisions within the school.
For the parents this help comes by support for bus costs or overnight costs for the various Teams and Societies that represent the school all over Ireland and beyond.
In recent years for the pupils we have made significant contributions to the refurbishment and establishment of various common rooms and boarding houses, as well as providing funding for everyday objects like kettles and microwaves.
Since 2010 The Parents Association has spent just over €204,000 on such requests.
This academic year we have supported the school with the purchase of Ipads for the Maths department, We made a considerable contribution to the Heritage Club Garden, and the supported the Drama Club with the recent production of Dancing at Lughnasa, plus a range of other areas of school life , both sporting and recreational. The 6th form Hoodies are paid for by the Parents Association
Some of the costs of running the Kate Russell Tournament, were also met by the Parents Association
Social Events / Speakers
This sub group is responsible for organising events. Following the School Carol Service in St Canice’s Cathedral the PA organised a reception in Rothe House. This is always a most pleasant occasion to meet and chat having Coffee and mince pies
This sub group also organise; on behalf of the PA, an end of year function each May, for retiring staff members. This year we jointly hosted the event with the College Board of Management.
The PA had 11 members of the committee retire this year along with 3 members of teaching staff.
Photo of Retiring teachers Mrs Gilliane Starett, Mr John Ponytz, Ms Ger Clarke Doyle, PA Chairperson Mr Nick Bennett and BOM Chairperson Mrs Rosemary Wallace
Fund Raising sub-committee
In January the Parents Association received an invitation to join the Foundation Committee. This committee is the fundraising committee for the school and, in particular, the Development Plan. It sits under the Board of Management and can only initiate projects approved by the Board.
The Foundation Committee is now actively engaged in financing for the new Library and a new Music and Arts Block. It is hoped to have the new Library in place for the beginning of next term while fund raising options for the Music and Arts Block are still being developed.
The Parents Association has agreed to work with the Foundation Committee in terms of both facilitating dissemination of information and identifying fund raising possibilities and events. The identification and development of these events will be a key task for the in-coming committee 2018-19.
Annual General Meeting 2017
On Thursday 28th September the AGM took place in the McAdoo Hall. Our guest speaker was the well-known Endocrinologist Professor Donal O’Shea. His talk was entitled ‘Healthy Eating & Active Living in 2017’
Professor O’Shea spoke to 3rd and 6th Form students giving them an insight on living a healthy balanced lifestyle. His talk was very informative and useful for both students and parents.
This year the AGM will be held on Thursday 27th September 2018, in the school. This year’s guest speaker is the well-known Psychologist Dr Stephen Minton from Trinity College Dublin. He will be speaking on Cyber Aggression – How can parents keep their children/teenagers safe? This is an ever changing topic we constantly need to keep updated on. Dr Minton will work with the school during the afternoon before the AGM. More details will be posted on Facebook and the Website in early September. We hope to see as many of you as possible at the AGM.
There are 11 members of the committee retiring this year, we will be electing 11 new members to replace the retirees. All parents are invited to attend the AGM, and if you like to be more involved with the Parents Association and become a member please contact us on email@example.com
Photo of retiring and current members of the Parents Association
Feedback: Remember it is your Parents Association always welcomes feedback, questions or comments from all parents. Please feel free to get in touch mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org