(you can dowload a copy of the constitution here)
- The Group shall be known as the Galway Educate Together Second Level Startup Group
- The aims of the Group are to work with Educate Together to establish an Educate Together Second Level school in the in the GALWAY area. The school shall be:
(a) MULTI-DENOMINATIONAL i.e. all learners having equal rights of access to the school and learners of all cultural and religious backgrounds being equally respected.
(b) CO-EDUCATIONAL and committed to encouraging all learners to explore their full range of abilities and opportunities
(c) LEARNER-CENTRED in its approach to education
(d) UNDER DEMOCRATIC MANAGEMENT with active participation by parents in the daily life of the school, with due regard however for the professional role of the teachers.
Membership: Membership of the Group is open to all who support the aims of the Group and who are prepared to accept the Constitution of the Group and abide by its rules.
- The Committee may at any time cancel the membership of any person if it considers that the activities of such person are injurious to the interests of the Group or inconsistent with its aims. The Committee shall be elected annually at the Annual General Meeting of the Group from among the Group’ s members and shall have responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the Group. It shall consist of at least a Chairperson, a Secretary, a Treasurer and four other members. A quorum at a Committee meeting shall be four members. Casual vacancies on the Committee may be filled at the next general meeting, but the Committee may co-opt to fill the vacancy until the next General Meeting.
- The Secretary shall keep a written record of all general meetings and all Committee meetings. In the Secretary’s absence, another member of the Committee may take the Secretary’s place pro tempore.
- The Treasurer is responsible for administering all monies of the Group, for preparing a budget of all proposed expenditure, for receiving all subscriptions, donations, loans and other monies received by the Group and for making payments on behalf of the Group. S/he shall present an annual account to the Annual General Meeting.
- The Group may raise money for any of its aims by all lawful and ethical means, including subscriptions, functions, collections, or any other fund-raising activities agreed by the Committee.
- Once the school has been recognised, and permission to appoint a Principal Teacher has been given by the Department of Education and Science, all monies held by the Group shall be transferred to the School Board of Management Account.
On the formal appointment of the Board of Management, or manager by the Patron, the Group will be dissolved.
Criteria for groups wishing to open an Educate Together school
Educate Together believes that the dynamic within a group in the start-up phase sets the tone for all committees that will come into being when the school is opened. Great emphasis, therefore, is placed on a no-blame atmosphere, one where people can gain expertise through experience, using the resources within the Educate Together network for advice, assistance, representation, and as a source of best practice both within the network and primary education generally.
We would encourage schools to utilise the knowledge and good practice, which Educate Together National Schools developed. Most Educate Together Schools have websites with lots of resources and information. Many will provide start-up groups with materials/assistance and advice if asked. The Educate Together website is at (www.educatetogether.ie)
The campaign to open a new school can be an exciting but daunting task. Educate Together believes that through training and sharing of experiences and information, we can assist, enable and empower communities to take on this task, and to support them in their ongoing experiential learning process.
We believe that our ethos offers unique opportunities to communities to participate in the shaping and provision of education in their area.
Responsibilities of Educate Together:
As both a Patron and a management body, Educate Together has a responsibility to those who will be working in our schools, parents sending their learners to our schools and the learners themselves, to ensure that the people managing the school are as well informed and resourced as possible for that role.
As a School Management Body, Educate Together has a moral obligation to all learners, parents, staff and supporters to ensure that all Educate Together schools reflect the values and ethos as reflected in the Educate Together Charter and as documented other national documents.
As a Patron Body, Educate Together has legal obligations around the ethos, operations and decisions of a school working with its patronage. Therefore it is essential that a good working relationship is established between a start up group and Patron Body, and that each party is clear around their respective roles and responsibilities.
It should be clearly noted that the Patron, while committing to working with the group to develop an Educate Together school, it is restricted by developments in the Department of Education and Skills, particularly in relation to the decisions on actual school openings and the provision of school accommodation.
Educate Together has drawn up the following set of criteria for groups wishing to open new schools. It is envisaged that these criteria will provide start-up groups with a clear indication of the road ahead towards successfully opening and managing a new Educate Together school.
The staff member responsible for working with the school will use these criteria to report and make recommendations to the Board of Directors of Educate Together regarding the opening of all new schools with Educate Together Patronage.
It must be understood that Educate Together may require a group to delay opening a school, pending further supports and training being provided by the Patron Body or developments with the Department of Education and Skills.
If you have any queries regarding the criteria, please discuss these with the staff member working with your group.
The group should have an understanding of the ethos of Educate Together. This would include:
- Have clear understanding of what Educate Together schools are and how they operate.
- Demonstrate a knowledge of the Educate Together Second Level Blueprint.
- Establish structures that are democratic, inclusive and facilitate good working relationships.
- Clearly demonstrate an adherence to the Educate Together ethos in relation to decision-making and consensus building
- Respect diversity of opinion, backgrounds and experience.
- Sharing of information and tasks to be carried out by the group ensuring inclusivity of all group members is maintained.
- Such practices should be based on the values of justice, equality and involve working with all interested parties both internally and externally in a consultative, collaborative and positive way.
Communication with Patron Body:
- The start up group needs to include the Regional Development Officer, representing the Patron, in the circulation of all meeting minutes. Further, the Regional Development Officer should be aware of all major decisions, communication and actions being taken by the start up group. For important events or meetings, the Regional Development Officer should be consulted before a date is arranged.
- The start-up group should be working in a structured manner. This would include the presence of a Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Pre-enrolment Officer, etc. Use of agendas, notice of meetings, minute keeping, accounts, correspondence etc. should all be in place and stored in a secure, ordered filing system.
- Clear guidelines should be established between the start up group and the Regional Development Officer around communication with external stakeholders e.g. Dept. of Education & Skills etc.
- An ability to seek advice from Educate Together, and to act on that advice, will be crucial to the building of good relations between the start-up group and the Patron.
- The group should have an understanding of the education system as it pertains to post-primary education.
- It is not possible for all members of the group to gain expertise in all areas (accounts, premises, etc.) It will therefore be necessary for one or two people to become knowledgeable in particular areas, and to structure a way in which this expertise can be shared with others. Everyone on the committee should aim to be replaceable.
- The pre-enrolment list/expression of interest list must be kept in accordance with Educate Together procedures, and comply with the Data Protection Act
Recommended Reading for all Start up groups:
Educate Together Charter
Educate Together Blueprint for a Second-Level School
What is an Educate Together National School?
Learn Together Curriculum
Educate Together March 2012
We as a start up group, commit to working according to Educate Together Charter, and uphold the ethos defined in the following terms:
MULTI-DENOMINATIONAL i.e. all learners having equal rights of access to the school and learners of all cultural and religious backgrounds being equally respected.
CO-EDUCATIONAL and committed to encouraging all learners to explore their full range of abilities and opportunities.
LEARNER-CENTRED in its approach to education
DEMOCRATICALLY RUN with active participation by parents in the daily life of the school, whilst positively affirming the professional role of the teachers
We commit to working with Educate Together as a Patron Body and Management Body in a positive, respectful and open manner.
We commit to working as a group in a transparent, participative and democratic manner, to ensure that the principles of respect and active participation are to the fore in all work carried out by the group.
Once the school has been recognised, and permission to appoint a Principal Teacher has been given by the Department of Education and Skills, all monies held by the start up group shall be transferred to the School bank account.
On the formal appointment of the Board of Management by the Patron, the Group will be dissolved.
Signed (Regional Development Officer):