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Concern - CEIST new principal

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  • Which community schools? I know the odd aberation with patronage but I can't see what they'd be doing in community colleges in Ireland, they are direct funded but I could be wrong, I'd have limited experience with schools of that type.

    Definitely no with ETB, even just due to the fact HR lies with head office. Technically the principals are actually centre managers.




  • 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.


    Daughters of Charity, Presentation Sisters, Sisters of the Christian Retreat, Sisters of Mercy, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart




  • 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.

    Apologies if it appeared I was undermining the role the school staff play in education, not my intention and they do a very good job with education being their priority at all times.

    My point was rather that the organization appointing the principal make it clear that their overriding priority is promotion of Catholicism, not education. A cursory glance over their website will reveal that. There's little mention of broad issues in education such as SEN, LGBTQ, etc. just a lot about God. It stands to reason that one would be a little worried that they get to make an appointment to lead a public school.




  • 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.

    I think you’re overreacting. You won’t be in tne meetings so what odds if they say a prayer at the start. If you’re not happy with the Catholic Ethos then would you consider sending you’re children to a local ETB school?




  • 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.


    I find this post very odd and OTT. I have taught in Ceist schools and they are not much different to non- Ceist schools. Yes, they uphold the catholic ethos but you knew that when you enrolled your child in the school.

    We have a parent who moans to the school every time a prayer is said in our school - for a family member RIP etc. Why did they send their child to the school. - they had plenty of choice. Maybe move your own child to the local ET school if you have an issue.


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  • snor wrote: »
    I find this post very odd and OTT. I have taught in Ceist schools and they are not much different to non- Ceist schools. Yes, they uphold the catholic ethos but you knew that when you enrolled your child in the school.

    We have a parent who moans to the school every time a prayer is said in our school - for a family member RIP etc. Why did they send their child to the school. - they had plenty of choice. Maybe move your own child to the local ET school if you have an issue.

    Hi, as I've mentioned before the school is great and extremely inclusive and there's absolutely no problem with the small amount of religion as it's not pushed on the students and the current Principal and staff are very progressive. The ethos of the school is very welcoming and inclusive.
    There's no Educate Together in this county and the nearest school is 40 minutes away, it's really our only choice.
    My only concern was that an organisation such as CEIST whose sole aim is to promote Catholicism, get to appoint the new Principal, and include a lot of criteria in their advertisement that precludes candidates that aren't from a strong faith-based background.

    Perhaps things will continue great and they'll abandon that part of the criteria when it comes to actually selecting the new Principal, but I and others do feel that some great candidates will not apply as they're not from string Catholic backgrounds.

    Imagine if a religious organization with purely religious objectives got to appoint the new chief medical officer of a hospital, paid by the taxpayer? People would rightly be questioning what business they have in medicine and
    I and others feel the same way about Education.




  • Hi, as I've mentioned before the school is great and extremely inclusive and there's absolutely no problem with the small amount of religion as it's not pushed on the students and the current Principal and staff are very progressive. The ethos of the school is very welcoming and inclusive.
    There's no Educate Together in this county and the nearest school is 40 minutes away, it's really our only choice.
    My only concern was that an organisation such as CEIST whose sole aim is to promote Catholicism, get to appoint the new Principal, and include a lot of criteria in their advertisement that precludes candidates that aren't from a strong faith-based background.

    Perhaps things will continue great and they'll abandon that part of the criteria when it comes to actually selecting the new Principal, but I and others do feel that some great candidates will not apply as they're not from string Catholic backgrounds.

    Imagine if a religious organization with purely religious objectives got to appoint the new chief medical officer of a hospital, paid by the taxpayer? People would rightly be questioning what business they have in medicine and
    I and others feel the same way about Education.

    They are advertising for a principal, so people interested in the job will be educated and educators. Their main objective will be to perform their role of ensuring the students are Holistically educated to the best of the school’s ability.




  • snor wrote: »
    They are advertising for a principal, so people interested in the job will be educated and educators. Their main objective will be to perform their role of ensuring the students are Holistically educated to the best of the school’s ability.

    The first 2 pages of the criteria outline how the person should be from a strong faith background! That's a lot of educators excluded.

    The people interviewing them are not educators or have little professional educational qualifications, that's the whole point of my original post.... an organization whose sole purpose is promoting catholicism get to control this state-funded position.

    Should we allow the church appoint the head of the local hospital because they used to own it 100 years ago? Should we only appoint people who can demonstrate a strong Catholic background? No? So why is it ok in the local school?




  • Hi, as I've mentioned before the school is great and extremely inclusive and there's absolutely no problem with the small amount of religion as it's not pushed on the students and the current Principal and staff are very progressive. The ethos of the school is very welcoming and inclusive.
    There's no Educate Together in this county and the nearest school is 40 minutes away, it's really our only choice.
    My only concern was that an organisation such as CEIST whose sole aim is to promote Catholicism, get to appoint the new Principal, and include a lot of criteria in their advertisement that precludes candidates that aren't from a strong faith-based background.

    Perhaps things will continue great and they'll abandon that part of the criteria when it comes to actually selecting the new Principal, but I and others do feel that some great candidates will not apply as they're not from string Catholic backgrounds.

    Imagine if a religious organization with purely religious objectives got to appoint the new chief medical officer of a hospital, paid by the taxpayer? People would rightly be questioning what business they have in medicine and
    I and others feel the same way about Education.

    No doubt you'll be told by the previous posters that if you don't like the ethos of that hospital you have a "choice" , and go away somewhere else.





  • The people interviewing them are not educators or have little professional educational qualifications

    That's not true. All the assessors at primary level anyway are either currently principals or retired principals.


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  • starlady1 wrote: »
    That's not true. All the assessors at primary level anyway are either currently principals or retired principals.

    I've been interviewed by nuns/priests who've never taught on interview panels. I actually think it'd be 50/50, half the time its all educators, half the time there was a member of the religious order who wasn't on teaching staff present. I was asked about catechism, or how I would bring the bible into the classroom (I teach STEM subjects)! Bizarre stuff given it was the early 2010s.

    I assume the makeup of the panel is somewhere in the circulars, I don't know for definite with CEIST interviewing principals but the only CEIST school I interviewed had a nun on the panel and I was asked religious questions. The makeup for principals panels probably has a patron place on the panel but I stand open to correction. They are very long circulars to check




  • Hi, as I've mentioned before the school is great and extremely inclusive and there's absolutely no problem with the small amount of religion as it's not pushed on the students and the current Principal and staff are very progressive. The ethos of the school is very welcoming and inclusive.
    There's no Educate Together in this county and the nearest school is 40 minutes away, it's really our only choice.
    My only concern was that an organisation such as CEIST whose sole aim is to promote Catholicism, get to appoint the new Principal, and include a lot of criteria in their advertisement that precludes candidates that aren't from a strong faith-based background.

    Perhaps things will continue great and they'll abandon that part of the criteria when it comes to actually selecting the new Principal, but I and others do feel that some great candidates will not apply as they're not from string Catholic backgrounds.

    Imagine if a religious organization with purely religious objectives got to appoint the new chief medical officer of a hospital, paid by the taxpayer? People would rightly be questioning what business they have in medicine and
    I and others feel the same way about Education.

    Two things.

    1. It was a CEIST school when you sent your children there so what odds is it now?

    2. Nearest school is 40 mins away? Really? I live and teach in one of the most remote areas in tne country. You must be very remote.

    Why don’t you volunteer for the Parents Association or the BOM so that you can have your concerns heard? I think you are overreacting. It will most likely be an internal appointment and you’ll be set at ease fairly quickly.




  • I'm not the OP but I'd like to address those points with my own view..
    doc_17 wrote: »
    Two things.

    1. It was a CEIST school when you sent your children there so what odds is it now?

    I suppose there is a fear there that there could be a move to a more extreme profession of the ethos, to the point of excluding students.
    From my own experiences, the 80's and 90's were pretty lax when it came to promoting religion in schools (if we leave aside the hiring of teachers issue). Lately with the polarisation of debate, sides are being chosen and you are either one of us or one of them. In many schools you wouldn't have a chance of promotion AP1 or Ap1 unless you profess the faith, but that's par for the course (choose another school you may say).
    It's when it trickles down to demotion of students based on their own religion/or none is what is worrying.
    doc_17 wrote: »
    2. Nearest school is 40 mins away? Really? I live and teach in one of the most remote areas in the country. You must be very remote.

    Why don’t you volunteer for the Parents Association or the BOM so that you can have your concerns heard? I think you are overreacting. It will most likely be an internal appointment and you’ll be set at ease fairly quickly.

    It's a fair point to get involved etc. but the old "go away to another school" answer shouldn't really be entertained anymore.

    It might be an over-reaction if it all turns out ok, but it shouldn't negate a person's right to air concerns.




  • Yeah I agree with some of what you say there. But many people, teachers and parents, throughout the country prefer to work in voluntary sector amd send their children to voluntary sector rather than the local “tec”. That has consequences. I know a the Principal and 2 DPs in a CEIST school in my own county and they had to prepare interview qs about developing the faith and promoting it etc. But they are level headed people and faith is only one part of that school.

    But anyway, can’t all students opt out of religion anyway these days??




  • doc_17 wrote: »
    But anyway, can’t all students opt out of religion anyway these days??
    That's the theory.

    The practice can be different, with important milestones in the school calendar marked by 'Is there anything to be said for another Mass'. The Xmas concert is still the nativity play, despite large numbers of atheists, Muslims and other religions in the student body. The 'opt out' means you sit at the back and shut up, and still join in with the hymns and prayers out of habit.




  • That's the theory.

    The practice can be different, with important milestones in the school calendar marked by 'Is there anything to be said for another Mass'. The Xmas concert is still the nativity play, despite large numbers of atheists, Muslims and other religions in the student body. The 'opt out' means you sit at the back and shut up, and still join in with the hymns and prayers out of habit.

    Wow. You have something against Xmas concert? That's just absolutely ridiculous. Nothing wrong with a bit of Christmas cheer in the school in December




  • Wow,….. advert looks similar to this one, maybe it’s a template for all CEIST schools?!


    https://www.presbandon.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CEIST-Princ-Role-Profile.pdf




  • sandyxxx wrote: »
    Wow,….. advert looks similar to this one, maybe it’s a template for all CEIST schools?!


    https://www.presbandon.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CEIST-Princ-Role-Profile.pdf

    That wouldn't be unusual though to have a template within the same trustee umbrella group.




  • Im going into my third year teaching in a CEIST school, and love the school and its ethos, and the religous services we have a few times a year as well as prayer each morning. I would have no hesitation sending my children to the school, very good academic record too, which a lot of CEIST schools have so they must be doing something right all these years.





  • You're right, there's nothing wrong with an Xmas concert and Christmas cheer.


    The problem is when the content of that concert is aimed at a subset of the students and their parents, and by definition, excludes a significant bunch of other students and their parents.



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  • You do know what Xmas / Christmas is about, right?

    Why not ask them to do a Ramadan concert, and a Beltane one too.





  • Yes, I know well what Christmas is about - time off work with family, loads of food, bit of drink, presents, watching old movies, eating a small child's weight of chocolate - that's what Christmas is about for me and the vast majority of school going families.

    If you want to take it back to historical roots, then by all means, include the pagan Solstice festival in the proceedings if you must.

    Is it too much to think that a school might build events around a principle of inclusion of all the student body, instead of building events designed to exclude?





  • "Events designed to exclude"

    I'm sorry but that's absolute nonsense.

    The terms mountain and molehill come to mind.





  • Thanks for demonstrating beautifully why opting out of religion doesn't work.





  • This is what I have the issue with people not wanting religion but want the celebrations all the same - Christmas is a religious festival - like it or not.

    It seems like you like to pick and choose which parts of christmas you like. Most people enjoy the christmas nativity play, carols etc. Most people are happy for their kids to do these and explain to them what christmas is all about and to take them to mass on christmas morning. True athiests shouldnt have any christmas celebrations including the presents, decorations, parties etc.





  • You seem to have missed the key point that Christmas was a pagan solstice festival to mark the turning of the year, which was appropriated by Christians. Christians don't have a monopoly on solstice celebrations.

    Why do Christians expect to be able to pick and choose the bits of paganinity that they observe. I don't know any Muslims, or Sikhs or athiests who enjoy the nativity play and take their kids to mass on Xmas morning. I do know many Christians who wouldn't be seen dead in the church all year round who magically appear on Christmas morning through.





  • The majority enjoy a catholics schools christmas events and dont want that to change. Athiests, Muslims and Sikhs etc have other options ( ie educate together ) if the Christmas nativity offends them so much. I dont see why the system which suits the majority should be changed to suit a minority.

    Also Andrew - Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus.





  • The history of Christmas is here...

    https://www.history.com/.amp/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas

    Even if you ignore the history of it. The majority of Christmas traditions that people follow today have nothing to with religion.





  • Sorry for the multiple quotes. It's this dysmal mess that is Boards now.

    People go out of their way to get into specific schools for a variety of reasons. To pick a school because it's not a faith school is as valid as all the other reasons.

    I'm against all this fanatical RC patronage we are seeing. But I'm baffled how people with such strong aversion to religion put themselves into a position where a school with a strong faith ethos is their only choice.

    If the mountain won't move to you. You have to move to the mountain. I know it's not simple or easy. But few things worth doing are.



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  • Sounds like... "Go find your own school somewhere else".


    Reading back through your post (and posts like these) replace the word 'school' with 'hospital' and the absurdity of the situation is apparent.

    You send your kids to school primarily to be educated in the curriculum. Everything else is extra and yes nuanced, but that shouldn't get in the way of your child's right to an education.

    Would you be happy with a prayer service before undergoing surgery.

    Would you consider it normal for the receptionist at A&E to ask for your baptismal certificate before allocating your admission ticket.

    .

    .

    .


    People go out of their way to get into specific HOSPITALS for a variety of reasons. To pick a HOSPITAL because it's not a faith HOSPITAL is as valid as all the other reasons.

    I'm against all this fanatical RC patronage we are seeing. But I'm baffled how people with such strong aversion to religion put themselves into a position where a HOSPITAL with a strong faith ethos is their only choice.

    If the mountain won't move to you. You have to move to the mountain. I know it's not simple or easy. But few things worth doing are.



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