The new Boards of Management of primary schools in the Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, who were formally appointed on 1st December by the Patron, Bishop Paul Colton, met with the Bishop last evening, Monday, 7th December, for a briefing about their role, in the Radisson SAS Hotel, Little Island, County Cork.
The group of 126 was representative of all the primary schools in the Diocese, and many of the schools had 100% of the members of their new Board of Management in attendance. Also present were staff from the Board of Education of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland: Dr Ken Fennelly, and Ms Eimear Ryan.
Bishop Colton thanked everyone for taking on the important role of school management. ‘The purpose of the briefing,’ he said ‘is to set out, at the earliest opportunity in their four year term of work, an overview of their work, and the fundamental principles to guide and support them.’ Delivering the training session himself, Dr Colton said:
I take this responsibility directly on myself at the outset of each term of office of Boards of Management to signal my personal support for you and interest in your work. There is, of course, a cauldron of debate about many aspects of our education system in Ireland, but, for now, Boards as leaders in school management and supporters of our school principals and staff, have an existing framework that is detailed and complex. The purpose of this briefing and training evening, in the midst of all the density of regulation of the schools’ sector, is to set out the core elements of your work as boards.
The Bishop’s presentation covered keywords (vision, partnership, communication, trust, representative, and confidentiality), the legal framework governing schools and the work of boards, the role of boards, what is a school?, the school plan, the specific functions of particular members of a board, as well as some of the current topical issues such as religious education, and equality/inclusiveness in the school community.
There will be further training sessions in the Diocese so that board members can explore some of the issues in more depth: staff appointments, finances, child protection, anti-bullying procedures, legal issues and data protection.