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Concern - CEIST new principal

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 8 Parent12345


    Hi all, I'm a parent of a student in a wonderful modern progressive school in the West. The school has just advertised for a new Principal.

    The school is under the trusteeship of CEIST. I work in a different area of education and I have some experience of CEIST. They're seen as an increasingly conservative and fundamentalist group who are leaning toward the David Quinn school of thought. Their bottom line has been the maintenance of religion in schools in the past few years. Education, children etc are very much secondary priorities.

    As I've mentioned this school and the current principal are wonderfully progressive on issues such as LGBTQ, different faiths, etc. There is no overbearing religious theme and all students generally feel comfortable there.

    However reading the job description for the role new Principal, the first 2 pages contain some very surprising criteria. They mention criteria such as "the new Principal will have to be able to lead all meetings and assemblies in prayer" and "maintain role of Catholic church in an increasingly diverse society"
    That's not the role of the Principal! There is lots more in there too that leaves no doubt that CEIST are seizing this opportunity to install a deeply religious figure as the principal of this school.

    I'm not the only one concerned, other parents and teachers are concerned that this is an attempt to claw back control and turn this school into a religion 1st, education 2nd establishment. We're also worried that there are some great candidates who will miss this opportunity as they don't meet the strict criteria.

    This may seem as an over reaction but it's all there in the document and I and others are genuinely worried for the future of my son's school. If you really want to see what school I'm talking about, it's not hard to find it with the details I've mentioned above.


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Comments



  • Depends what the ethos of the school is. They may be looking for someone who will uphold and promote it




  • Saint_Mel wrote: »
    Depends what the ethos of the school is. They may be looking for someone who will uphold and promote it
    And rightly so.




  • I guess that's their right and some would see a strictly Catholic school as a good thing.

    It's a shame though as if they get a candidate that matches the criteria they're seeking, they will be a deeply religious person intolerant of any deviations from the CEIST philosophy. I and others won't wish to continue sending our kids there.

    in my role I had to attend a CEIST conference some years back and the guy railed against the ETB sector, how secular and unreligious they were and how the only right education is one where God is no1. I was appalled at how dogmatic and intolerant they were. My colleagues were too.

    This is one of the lines from the Principal advertisement:
    "• Demonstrates a resolve that is tempered with moderation, flexibility and compassion
    around the issues and conflicts that our Catholic faith can experience in an increasingly
    diverse and secular society."

    What does that have to do with the role of a principal? What is wrong with a diverse society? It just sounds like they want to install someone who is primarily concerned with faith and Catholicism and not so much education.




  • That doesn’t sound like they consider a diverse society to be a bad thing. It just sounds like they want someone who will not be swayed by people telling them they should water down the school’s ethos and again, rightly so.
    I don’t teach in a Catholic school but I do teach in a school with a particular ethos which has been watered down, and I can see the damage that watering down has done, not only to the school’s ethos but to the school as a whole. If the school’s ethos is seen as being unimportant, why would the school’s rule book or the school’s attitude to learning be seen any differently? If a school has a particular ethos, that ethos should be defended by the principal at very least and really, by all of the staff. Otherwise, change the school’s ethos.




  • RealJohn wrote: »
    That doesn’t sound like they consider a diverse society to be a bad thing. It just sounds like they want someone who will not be swayed by people telling them they should water down the school’s ethos and again, rightly so.
    I don’t teach in a Catholic school but I do teach in a school with a particular ethos which has been watered down, and I can see the damage that watering down has done, not only to the school’s ethos but to the school as a whole. If the school’s ethos is seen as being unimportant, why would the school’s rule book or the school’s attitude to learning be seen any differently? If a school has a particular ethos, that ethos should be defended by the principal at very least and really, by all of the staff. Otherwise, change the school’s ethos.

    I understand what you're saying and this school's ethos is very inclusive but very general and not too different to any other school's ethos. However my fear is that this advertisement will preclude some very good candidates from applying and restrict it to those who meet the strict religious criteria. I can think of one very good candidate who people would love to see running a school who would likely be precluded because of their sexual orientation and the fact that they're not deeply religious. The advertisement specifics that they must be able to lead all assemblies in prayer.

    Again, I don't think it's right that they're not looking for the best person to lead a school in terms of teaching and learning but rather their commitment to promoting Catholicism and faith in the school. They won't be paying their salary, they contribute a small amount to the school's running costs and yet they get to install a principal to suit their very conservative and religious ideals. Its not right


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  • I am slightly struggling here to understamd something - the school has a particular ethos (not necessarily overly religious), yet is somehow under the patronage of CEIST (Who I know nothing about) and your child is in the school and you would prefer the Ceist/religious aspect not to be so strong - I don't really get this.How is it under Ceist if it doesn't fall in with their values, or is this patronage a recent thing, and why is your child there if you are not happy with the potential religious aspect,which would possibly come with the Ceist patronage at some point?
    Genuine questions, I am a bit confused as to how this situation occurred.




  • I can think of one very good candidate who people would love to see running a school who would likely be precluded because of their sexual orientation and the fact that they're not deeply religious. The advertisement specifics that they must be able to lead all assemblies in prayer.
    A person doesn’t have to be religious to lead a prayer, nor do they have to be extremely religious to ensure the school adheres to its ethos. They just have to put their personal feelings aside, and act professionally, which is something they need to be able to do anyway.
    And I don’t think I need to tell you that a person’s sexuality orientation cannot be grounds for disqualifying anyone from a job in this country. As long as they’re not going around flaunting it, I don’t see why it would be anyone’s business.




  • I dont get why some parents are so bothered about schools run with a Catholic Ethos. My children attend a Catholic primary school. Religion is not forced or rammed into kids. What is thought to kids is how to be a good person and good values to live your life by ( which is the basis really of every religion ). Kids can opt out of receiving the sacraments of communion or confirmation if they wish - its not compulsary.

    I intend to send my daughters to a convent secondary school where I also attended - again despite being a convent school religion is and was not forced upon any child.

    Parent 12345 I expect the new principle will run the school with the same values as the old principle. If they say a prayer at the start of assemblies no big deal IMO.




  • shesty wrote: »
    I am slightly struggling here to understamd something - the school has a particular ethos (not necessarily overly religious), yet is somehow under the patronage of CEIST (Who I know nothing about) and your child is in the school and you would prefer the Ceist/religious aspect not to be so strong - I don't really get this.How is it under Ceist if it doesn't fall in with their values, or is this patronage a recent thing, and why is your child there if you are not happy with the potential religious aspect,which would possibly come with the Ceist patronage at some point?
    Genuine questions, I am a bit confused as to how this situation occurred.

    My child is there as it's the only school in the area.
    The ethos is very general and not a problem. The school has been under the trusteeship of CEIST for a long time but they have never really sought to implement any strict faith based ideologies. There are no prayers at assemblies and there is very good inclusiveness. The current principal doesn't concern themselves with promoting the Catholic church.

    The concern is that the advertisement for a new principal seems to be very narrow in it's criteria and places huge emphasis that it be a person of faith who will defend the church in today's diverse society. It specifies that they must be able to lead the school in prayer and must have evidence of developing their faith.

    It'll just preclude a lot of people from the position and my fear is we'll end up with someone who is more concerned with religion than education. I also don't understand how CEIST get to appoint the principal, they are very clear that faith is their no1 priority, not education.






  • . I also don't understand how CEIST get to appoint the principal, they are very clear that faith is their no1 priority, not education.
    Surely if CEIST is the patron, of course they get to appoint the principal??????


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  • Surely if CEIST is the patron, of course they get to appoint the principal??????

    I'd rather the board of management or representives from the Dept of Ed, anyone else really get to appoint. For the few thousand euro they give to school every year, they shouldn't get to make such an important appointment.

    Having been to one of their conferences and from what I know about them, they have one agenda and one only: to promote the Catholic faith. Education is a very distant second.
    We'll be getting the person they deem the most adept at applying that agenda and not the best person to run a school.




  • I'd rather the board of management or representives from the Dept of Ed, anyone else really get to appoint. For the few thousand euro they give to school every year, they shouldn't get to make such an important appointment.

    Having been to one of their conferences and from what I know about them, they have one agenda and one only: to promote the Catholic faith. Education is a very distant second.
    We'll be getting the person they deem the most adept at applying that agenda and not the best person to run a school.

    I would think the board of management will have input in the appointment of the new principle. I would imagine Ceist are part of the interview panel alongside the board of management.




  • Having been to one of their conferences and from what I know about them, they have one agenda and one only: to promote the Catholic faith. Education is a very distant second.
    We'll be getting the person they deem the most adept at applying that agenda and not the best person to run a school.
    I find all of this hard to believe, to be honest. If nothing else, it’s not in their interests for education to be “a very distant second” in the running of their schools because if it was, they wouldn’t last as patrons. Even parents who want their kids in a school with a seriously Catholic ethos will start getting skittish if it starts looking like their kids won’t get the college course they want.
    CEIST might emphasise their Catholic ethos because it’s their selling point over the likes of Educate Together. It doesn’t mean that they don’t take education seriously. They might just feel that it goes without saying. You said yourself that they’ve been patrons for a while already and the school is doing fine.

    Let them do their job, and if your fears turn out to be correct, feel free to raise hell, but don’t do it based on your interpretation of their ad when the evidence is that that’s not how things actually operate.




  • I will say I left a school and a permanent job when they were very thin on the ground because I was told by numerous staff, including the deputy, that if the BOM or principal found out that I was in a same sex relationship it would be difficult for me and I'd definitely never be promoted. I was lucky to be in an urban area and had a lot of options but it's not the same for everyone. There was a recent survey where 80% of primary teachers aren't out. I'd imagine the number is much lower in secondary but still gives food for thought.

    The other side of course is that the patron may insist on those two pages being included and it may not be really focused on in the interview.




  • Most public sector job descriptions are standard - agreed with all the stakeholders, unions, etc. It is likely that every Ceist Principal in the country has the same job description.




  • I understand what you're saying and this school's ethos is very inclusive but very general and not too different to any other school's ethos. However my fear is that this advertisement will preclude some very good candidates from applying and restrict it to those who meet the strict religious criteria. I can think of one very good candidate who people would love to see running a school who would likely be precluded because of their sexual orientation and the fact that they're not deeply religious. The advertisement specifics that they must be able to lead all assemblies in prayer.

    Again, I don't think it's right that they're not looking for the best person to lead a school in terms of teaching and learning but rather their commitment to promoting Catholicism and faith in the school. They won't be paying their salary, they contribute a small amount to the school's running costs and yet they get to install a principal to suit their very conservative and religious ideals. Its not right


    The current principal ad is probably the same wording as the Ad for the previous principal.




  • I'd rather the board of management or representives from the Dept of Ed, anyone else really get to appoint..

    The department have nothing to with recruitment of teachers and I'd say they have no intention of ever getting involved with it.

    At primary level there is a 3 personal selection board for jobs. This is made up of the Principal, chairperson of the BOM, and an independent assessor appointed by the patron. In the case of an interview for principal, 2 assessors are on the board along with the chairperson so the patron have a huge say.




  • I will say I left a school and a permanent job when they were very thin on the ground because I was told by numerous staff, including the deputy, that if the BOM or principal found out that I was in a same sex relationship it would be difficult for me and I'd definitely never be promoted. I was lucky to be in an urban area and had a lot of options but it's not the same for everyone. There was a recent survey where 80% of primary teachers aren't out. I'd imagine the number is much lower in secondary but still gives food for thought.

    The other side of course is that the patron may insist on those two pages being included and it may not be really focused on in the interview.

    It's not really something to "thank" and I am sure it does happen, but it is terrible to think that it would happen.I am sorry to hear that.




  • I'd rather the board of management or representives from the Dept of Ed, anyone else really get to appoint. For the few thousand euro they give to school every year, they shouldn't get to make such an important appointment.

    Having been to one of their conferences and from what I know about them, they have one agenda and one only: to promote the Catholic faith. Education is a very distant second.
    We'll be getting the person they deem the most adept at applying that agenda and not the best person to run a school.


    OP, that is a really big statement that you have repeated several times in this thread.
    As it stands, without any evidence, you are undermining and diminishing the role the school plays in education, especially the other teachers and their commitment to education.
    Therefore it cannot be left unchallenged.
    This is not China or Hong kong where the teachers are organs of the state or some religious cult.

    The attached spec lays out the rules of the role




  • I suspect they already are have the successor vetted and notified months or years in advance.
    I know some excellent teachers and potential leaders who will never have a shot at management because the don't have the halo.
    I remember one such teacher who was a born leader, did all the courses, organised initiatives to beat the band, like by parents, had connections etc. he couldn't figure out why he was never considered for AP1 , I know he went to CofI school so there was that. He left and got AP1 in new school in one year.
    Maybe coincidence but I know discrimination goes on based on gender or sexuality.
    Anyone remember studying the 'hidden ethos' in college.


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  • Treppen wrote: »
    I suspect they already are have the successor vetted and notified months or years in advance.
    I know some excellent teachers and potential leaders who will never have a shot at management because the don't have the halo.
    I remember one such teacher who was a born leader, did all the courses, organised initiatives to beat the band, like by parents, had connections etc. he couldn't figure out why he was never considered for AP1 , I know he went to CofI school so there was that. He left and got AP1 in new school in one year.
    Maybe coincidence but I know discrimination goes on based on gender or sexuality.
    Anyone remember studying the 'hidden ethos' in college.

    To be fair, from my own experience, it isn't hidden at all. I will say there are a lot of "catholic lite" schools where it certainly wouldn't be an issue and in the two I was in that it would have been early in my career I was well warned by senior members of staff. One I worked with really closely and had a brilliant relationship, for himself and the subject department it would have been of massive benefit to the school to keep me but he basically told me to leave if I had further ambition and if I stayed I would need to lie about my private life.

    Personally I think the effect this has on kids is very detrimental. They sometimes figure out, or know that you are in a same sex relationship, could be as simple as they see your in town. Actively hiding it makes it seem like it's something to be ashamed of, certainly of no help to kids struggling with it themselves or with less than supportive families. Pressure is certainly there in some schools to not talk about it.

    Again this is not every catholic school but its much more prevalent in this environment and at primary level. if you aren't in an urban area it can mean you have to suck it up. I'd be very interested in the specific patronage too, I've certainly found particular orders to be very varied in their approach. Girls schools have a lots of catholic groups involved of various flavors, I went to an all girls convent school myself and it was a fantastic and really inclusive environment. It's a part of CEIST now and knowing the current principal and deputy, it would still be a very inclusive environment. CEIST covers a lot, I wouldn't tar them all with the same brush.




  • CEIST are now heavily involved in the hiring of teachers in community schools which by their very nature and open and welcoming to all faiths and nine. While a schools may have a Christian ethos, I'm sure CEIST are very aware of the school make up and local communities. I would not be worried. What appears in the formal handbook is not how schools are run on a day to day basis.




  • OP, that is a really big statement that you have repeated several times in this thread.
    As it stands, without any evidence, you are undermining and diminishing the role the school plays in education, especially the other teachers and their commitment to education.
    Therefore it cannot be left unchallenged.
    This is not China or Hong kong where the teachers are organs of the state or some religious cult.

    The attached spec lays out the rules of the role
    Talking about pretty big statements...... Teachers are organs of the state in Hong Kong? What do you mean by that?




  • CEIST are now heavily involved in the hiring of teachers in community schools which by their very nature and open and welcoming to all faiths and nine. While a schools may have a Christian ethos, I'm sure CEIST are very aware of the school make up and local communities. I would not be worried. What appears in the formal handbook is not how schools are run on a day to day basis.

    It's fine to be all welcoming and open on the surface.
    Dig down deaper and you'll find very subtle forms of discrimination in some schools. The discrimination doesn't come from nowhere either.
    Example:
    One school I know had a student prefecture system, where any of the senior boys could apply and get positions of responsibility (open days, mentoring junior students etc.) This was 'altered' to become a more faith based approach... Lead students in prayer, go on faith based retreats, linking with adjacent primary for communions/confirmations etc.
    All well and good, protecting upholding the ethos and whatnot.
    Problem was it now excluded about 20% of student who were the aforementioned "all faiths and none".
    So either consciously or unconsciously places of prominence and opportunity were removed from a previously egalitarian system.

    But I suppose those students should just go elsewhere.




  • Treppen wrote: »
    It's fine to be all welcoming and open on the surface.
    Dig down deaper and you'll find very subtle forms of discrimination in some schools. The discrimination doesn't come from nowhere either.
    Example:
    One school I know had a student prefecture system, where any of the senior boys could apply and get positions of responsibility (open days, mentoring junior students etc.) This was 'altered' to become a more faith based approach... Lead students in prayer, go on faith based retreats, linking with adjacent primary for communions/confirmations etc.
    All well and good, protecting upholding the ethos and whatnot.
    Problem was it now excluded about 20% of student who were the aforementioned "all faiths and none".
    So either consciously or unconsciously places of prominence and opportunity were removed from a previously egalitarian system.

    But I suppose those students should just go elsewhere.

    That's not down to CEIST though. That's bad management. Also I'm surprised that got past the BOM with staff and parent representation. CEIST was primarily added to try and create more balance into hiring practices and reduce the power of Principals in hiring their mates. I believe in some schools now the Principal can act as note taker or minutes, but not ask questions.




  • You don’t have to be religious to participate in religious activities.




  • My understanding was CEIST was set up to centralize issues to do with assets and pensions along with keeping the Catholic ethos in schools that no longer have religious order members in the school.




  • My understanding was CEIST was set up to centralize issues to do with assets and pensions along with keeping the Catholic ethos in schools that no longer have religious order members in the school.

    Could depend on the type of school? Community, Community College, secondary, vocational, ETB, etc




  • CEIST is specifically catholic ethos. Originally the big girls school religious orders I think. Very different from a community school or etb governance wise and ethos wise. Without religious personal on the ground it was a way of maintaining ideological control over the schools.


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  • But they are definitely involved on the interview panels for community schools. No idea about ETB.


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