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CEIST Education Conference 2011 Review

The Sixth Annual CEIST Education Conference was held in the Sheraton Athlone Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath on Thursday, 29th September, 2011 & Friday, 30th September, 2011. The theme for the conference was “For Everything there is a Season” Ecclesiastes 3:13

The CEIST Education Office were greatly encouraged with the number of School Principals, Deputy Principals and Chairpersons of our Boards of Management who attended this year's conference, which proved to be our biggest attendance to date.

The atmosphere was fantastic at the conference and the Principals, Deputy Principals and Chairpersons availed of the opportunity to network and share ideas with each other. We received very positive feedback for all the workshops this year and indeed for our keynote speakers. CEIST would like to very much thank our keynote speakers and workshop presenters for their time and energy given to the conference.

We would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to the three excellent school choirs who particpated at the conference. The three schools were Meán Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál Choir, Roscommon, Ardscoil Mhuire Choir, Ballinasloe and Mercy Secondary School Choir, Ballymahon. The choirs really energised everybody at the conference and were a credit to the schools.

The keynote speeches and Workshop presentations has been added to the CEIST Members Area under News and Events Section.

CEIST Conference Programme 2011

Click here to download the brochure for the conference.

Workshop Presentations

1) “The Catholic School as it says on the tin - current challenges”. John O’Roarke, Principal, Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk.   

School self-evaluation… In the educational landscape, Catholic schools are open to many factors that could modify the agenda for the education we provide in our CEIST schools.

In this context, it is important that we are clear on what is distinctive about the Catholic education we offer. We are then in a position to ensure that we continue to do ‘what it says on the tin’.

This workshop explored a few of these factors, in particular WSE / MLL inspection, as a catalyst for school self-evaluation within the Catholic tradition

2) “Literacy & Numeracy Strategies”. Department of Education & Skills.

Following the directive from Minister Ruairi Quinn, many schools are challenged on the best way to implement improvements in literacy and numeracy. A task force within the Dept of Education would like to start a National Conversation on the most effective method with Principals, Deputies and Chairpersons.

This workshop discussed practical strategies, which will assist schools in their planning and implementation.

3) "Healthy Resilience - From me out". Paddy Hanna.

Building Resilience for Me and My School.

  • The training seeks to dispel some of the traditional myths about stress, and will focus on building resilience for Principals and their staff.
  • It will provide an introduction to the concepts of Well-Being, Personal Well-Being and Organisational Well-Being.
  • It will outline a model programme for creating healthier working environments in Schools.
  • It will demonstrate how Principals can develop a personal plan to create energy and restore balance in their lives. 

4) “Shared Distance Learning - subjects being taught via innovative technology / fizzbooks instead of schoolbooks”. John O’Donovan, Principal, St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Ballybunion & Richard Wang, IT Eireann, Tralee.

Speakers: John O’Donovan Principal, St. Joseph’s School, Ballybunion, and Richard Wang IT Eireann, Tralee.

St. Joseph’s Ballybunion teaches Agricultural Science to Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee, through video link.

Mercy Mounthawk teaches Chemistry to St. Joseph’s through video link. This shared learning is to facilitate minority subjects in schools to enhance subject choice and improve school teacher allocation. The Principal, teacher and IT advisor demonstrated and shared their experience of this technology.

The workshop covered the following themes:

  • Increasing awareness around the use of technology
  • Understanding the IT processes involved
  • Identifying the costs involved in sharing of subjects
  • The positive outcomes of shared learning.
  • Discussion on the use of Fizzbooks over schoolbooks. 

5) “Employment Legislation - Best practice in relation to schools”. Allianz plc. & Hugh Millar, Crowley Millar Solicitors.

This workshop focused on the current legislative issues in relation to the employment of staff in schools. Employment legislation is an area that has the potential to cause significant disruption to a school if not followed correctly.

The workshop was sponsored by Allianz and presented by Mr. Hugh Millar of Crowley Millar Solicitors who  provided an update on employment legislation and offered guidance on best practice in this area.

6) Impact of Inspections on Schools - WSE/MLL & Incidental Inspections. Department of Education & Skills.

This workshop shared the latest findings and objectives of the WSE/MLL inspection.

There is an element of concern about the impact of incidental inspections and the workshop will focus on the best preparation and inform on the objectives of the visit from the inspectorate.

7) Ensuring Integrity in Financial Management

This workshop discussed the financial challenges that may be encountered by Boards of Management, Principals and Deputy Principals as a result of poor financial management in schools. The latest “hot topics” in financial compliance was presented along with recommendations and suggestions as to how your school can address/manage these challenges e.g. PAYE/PRSI Compliance, School Enterprises, OLCS, Supervision and Substitution, Cash Handling, etc.

Feedback from the Conference

We are in the process of compiling a summary from evaluation sheets returned by attendees. Many thanks to all of you who completed as this feedback will be invaluable in planning future conference programmes.

If you would like to view Principals feedback from the conference please click here to request via email. We will also be posting a summary of evaluations received in the CEIST Members Area shortly.

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CEIST Awards to Retired Principals

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