Board of Management Newsletter Summer Term May 2019
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We would like to welcome you all back for the summer term at ABACAS. We hope you enjoyed the lovely weather over Easter and had a relaxing break. It’s hard to believe that we are coming to the end of another busy school year! In this newsletter, we would like to bring you up to date on what has been happening in our school, provide you with information on upcoming events and highlight some important changes that will be taking place next year.
New Acting Principal in 2019/20 school year Our Principal, Lynne Tierney, will be taking a career break from September 2019. While Lynne will be sorely missed, we are pleased to announce that our Deputy Principal, Karen O’Dowd, will be taking over the full-time role of Acting Principal in her absence. We would like to take this opportunity to wish Lynne all the best for her career break and to wish Karen every success in her new role!
New playground equipment installed! As some of you may have noticed, our new playground equipment was finally installed over the Easter holidays, just in time for the summer term. In addition to the existing equipment, we now have a sunken trampoline, a carousel and a new spinner seat. We hope the children will get many years of enjoyment out of the new equipment. The total cost of the equipment came to €12,243, including installation. We would like to thank everybody who made the purchase of this playground equipment possible through fundraising activities and donations.
Seeking candidates for new Board of Management The current Board of Management will complete its four-year term in November this year. At the beginning of the next school year, we will therefore be seeking candidates interested in becoming members of the new Board of Management, which will commence its four-year term on 1st December 2019.
The Board of Management comprises the following members: The Principal Two parents/guardians of children enrolled in the school (one mother and one father), both elected by the parents One teacher elected by the teaching staff Two members nominated by our patron body, Autism Ireland Two representatives of our local community. At the start of the next school year, parents/guardians will be invited to nominate themselves as candidates for the parent/guardian representatives. If the number of parent candidates exceeds the number of parent representative positions on the board, elections will be held to allow all parents/guardians of pupils in the school to vote for their preferred candidate.
The primary task of the Board of Management is to ensure that the school provides the best possible education and learning environment for our pupils. Other specific responsibilities of the Board include the following: Upholding the characteristic spirit of the school. Ensuring that the school fulfils its functions as set out in the Education Act. Ensuring compliance with directives of the Department of Education & Skills. Developing, reviewing and overseeing the implementation of all school policy. Key policy areas include child protection, behaviour, enrolment and health & safety. Appointing all school staff. Managing the school’s finances efficiently and effectively. Supporting and facilitating the Principal and Deputy Principal in exercising their leadership role within the school. Promoting contact between the school, the parents and the community. To be a board member, the two most important pre-requisites are availability and commitment. You need to be available to attend regular board meetings and must be committed to putting in any preparation work required. The Board of Management currently meets every six weeks during term time. Meetings currently take place at 6.30pm on a weekday in the school.
Once the new board has been formed, the board will appoint a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer from among its members. The board may also choose to appoint sub-committees to manage or investigate different areas of school management (e.g. health & safety, finance, the sourcing of new school equipment). For the role of Treasurer, a sound knowledge of accounting is essential. Other skillsets that would be of benefit (but are not essential) to the Board of Management in running the school are: legal expertise, IT skills and general leadership/management skills.
We would strongly encourage parents to consider putting their names forward for the Board of Management. It is a fantastic and highly rewarding way to get involved in your child’s school. Likewise, if you know of anyone in the local community who may have some of the skills mentioned above and who may be interested in becoming one of our community representatives on the board, please ask them to contact the school at the start of the next school year.
Policy updates Since our last newsletter in December, the Board of Management has reviewed and ratified the following policies: Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) policy Toileting and intimate care policy Swimming policy Management of long-term health conditions and administration of medicines policy Critical incident management policy The updated versions of these policies and all other policies can be found on the school website at www.abacasspecialschool.ie.
Clarification regarding our patron, Autism Ireland Some of you may have heard through the media of the recent collapse and closure of the autism charity Autism Ireland, formerly known as IAA (Irish Autism Action). The Board wishes to advise that our patron, Autism Ireland, is a completely separate body. It was set up at the time when our school officially became a Special School under the Department of Education and Skills. Its sole purpose is and always has been to serve as the patron of our school and six other schools that have a similar background and mission to ABACAS.
First Holy Communion and Confirmation We are very much looking forward to celebrating First Holy Communion and Confirmation with 13 of our pupils on Friday, 31st May 2019. Everyone is welcome to attend the service, which will take place at 11.00am in St. Kevin’s Church beside our school. Tea and coffee will be served afterwards in the hall of St. Kevin’s Boys’ School.
Fundraising Committee We are delighted to announce that some of our parents have recently come together to form a school fundraising committee. If you have any fundraising ideas and would like to get involved, please contact Doireann Leonard at 087 6823100. This is a great way to get to know other parents and to play an active role in the development of the school.
Easter bag-pack fundraiser The Board would like to thank all those who helped out with the recent bag-pack fundraiser, which took place on Easter Saturday in Dunnes Stores Crumlin. The total raised came to €1055, which is a fantastic result! We would like to extend a special thank you to Tracy Webb for organising the event at such short notice and to Eileen Morris for counting and bagging the money raised.
Heart of Autism Ball 2020 We are delighted to announce that the organisers of the annual Heart of Autism Ball, which takes place every April in aid of various autism charities, have selected ABACAS as one of the recipients of the proceeds from next year’s event. Many thanks to Laura Hegarty for helping to make this possible. This promises to be a great night out for parents and staff alike. More details to follow closer to the date.
Recent article in Tallaght Echo to mark Autism Awareness Week As most of you are aware, the Tallaght Echo newspaper visited the school last month to mark World Autism Awareness Week. They took photos of some of the children, and these were published on Thursday, 11th April along with an interview with one of our parents. Many thanks to Doireann Leonard for organising this event to help raise awareness of autism in our local community.
School Calendar 2019/2020 Our school calendar for the next school year will be made available in the coming weeks once finalised. This will also be published for downloading on the school website.
Upcoming school closures As St. Kevin’s is being used as a polling station in the upcoming European and local elections, ABACAS will be closed on Friday, 24th May. The school will also be closed on Monday and Tuesday, 3rd and 4th June for the bank holiday weekend.
Summer holidays The school will close for the summer holidays on Friday, 28th June at 12.30pm. As usual, we will be holding a summer concert that day, and we will also be celebrating the graduation of one of our pupils who recently turned 18. All parents and family members are welcome to attend. More details to follow closer to the date.
Social & Personal We would like to wish two of our SNAs, Laura and Vicky, all the best for their respective career breaks next year.
A thank you to all our staff and parents We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff, pupils and their families for their continued support.
With kind regards,
The Board of Management ABACAS Special School, Kilnamanagh