Killavullen NS
Educating in a joyful, positive and secure setting

The Department of Education is repsonsible for education and training with a mission to facilitate individuals through learning, to achieve their full potential and contribute to Ireland’s social, cultural and economic development. Below are brief summaries of the statutory bodies relevant to the primary sector.

Primary Education Sector

The primary education sector includes state-funded primary schools, special schools and private primary schools. The state-funded schools include religious schools, non-denominational schools, multi-denominational schools and Gaelscoileanna (Irish-medium schools). For historical reasons, most primary schools are state-aided parish schools, although this pattern is changing. The state pays the bulk of the building and running costs of state-funded primary schools, but a local contribution is made towards their running costs. Teachers’ salaries are paid by the Department of Education and Skills, and the schools are inspected by the Department’s Inspectorate.

Although children are not obliged to attend school until the age of six, almost all children begin school in the September following their fourth birthday. Nearly 40% of four-year-olds and almost all five-year-olds are enrolled in infant classes in primary schools (sometimes called national schools). Primary education consists of an eight year cycle: junior infants, senior infants, and first to sixth classes. Pupils normally transfer to post-primary education at the age of twelve.

The general aims of primary education are:

  • To enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his or her potential as a unique individual
  • To enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society
  • To prepare the child for a continuum of learning.

The primary curriculum aims to provide a broad learning experience and encourages a rich variety of approaches to teaching and learning that cater for the different needs of individual children. The primary curriculum is under review at present, with a new Primary Langauge Curriculum already being implemented in schools. The existing primary curriculum, launched in 1999, was the first complete revision of the curriculum since 1971 and was designed to nurture the child in all dimensions of his or her life—spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional, imaginative, aesthetic, social and physical.

The curriculum is divided into the following key areas:

  • Language – Irish and English
  • Mathematics
  • Social, Environment and Scientific Education
  • Arts Education, including Visual Arts, Music and Drama
  • Physical Education
  • Social, Personal and Health Education.

For more information on the Department of Education, visit their website here: www.education.ie

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) was set up to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities with particular emphasis on children. The Council was first established as an independent statutory body by order of the Minister for Education and Science in December 2003.

Originally the service was delivered through the national network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) who interacted with parents and schools and liaised with the HSE in providing resources to support children with special educational needs. In 2017

National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)

NEPS psychologists work with both primary and post-primary schools and are concerned with learning, behaviour, social and emotional development. Each psychologist is assigned to a group of schools.

NEPS psychologists specialise in working with the school community. They work in partnership with teachers, parents and children in identifying educational needs. They offer a range of services aimed at meeting these needs, for example, supporting individual students (through consultation and assessment), special projects and research.

In common with many other psychological services and best international practice, the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) has adopted a consultative model of service.  The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring.

Psychologists use a problem solving and solution focused consultative approach to maximise positive outcomes for these pupils.  NEPS encourages schools to use a continuum based assessment and intervention process whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention for pupils with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process.  Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school’s best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention.

To find out more about NEPS, click here.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is a statutory body of the Department of Education and Skills. While the NCCA is not responsible for implementing curriculum change, it supports educational change in early childhood settings and in schools by developing a range of support materials such as examples of practice, online toolkits and planning resources, and by working with those introducing new developments to practitioners and teachers.

Primary Curriculum

The primary curriculum aims to provide a broad learning experience and encourages a rich variety of approaches to teaching and learning that cater for the different needs of individual children. The primary curriculum is under review at present, with a new Primary Langauge Curriculum already being implemented in schools. The existing primary curriculum, launched in 1999, was the first complete revision of the curriculum since 1971 and was designed to nurture the child in all dimensions of his or her life—spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional, imaginative, aesthetic, social and physical.

The curriculum is divided into the following key areas:

  • Language – Irish and English
  • Mathematics
  • Social, Environment and Scientific Education
  • Arts Education, including Visual Arts, Music and Drama
  • Physical Education
  • Social, Personal and Health Education.

The Council

The twenty-five members of the Council are appointed by the Minster for a three-year term. The members represent the partners in education, industry and trade union interests, parents’ organisations and other educational interests. The Council also includes one nominee each of the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. The Minister for Education and Skills appoints the Chairperson.

The NCCA advises the Minister for Education and Skills on:

  1. curriculum and assessment for early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools.
  2. assessment procedures used in schools and examinations on subjects which are part of the curriculum.

This advice is developed through Research, Deliberation, Consultation and Networks.

Research Deliberations Consultations Networks

PDST Technology in Education (formerly NCTE) promotes and supports the integration of ICT in teaching and learning in first and second level schools. It is part of the national support service, the Professional Development Service for Teachers, which operates under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills. The functions of the PDST Technology in Education were previously the responsibility of the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE). The NCTE was integrated into the PDST in June 2012. The PDST is managed by the Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC).

From 2015-2020, schools received a grant (approx. €5,000 for us) from the Department each year to embed digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment. You can read more about our Digital Learning Strategy and how we spent the money over in ‘Our Digital World’ page. The current Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 expires at the end of this school year and the development of a new strategy is now underway.

 

The main functions of PDST Technology in Education fall into two categories:

  1. Providing a range of ICT-related support services to schools.
  2. Policy development, strategic and administrative functions.

ICT support services to schools

  • Providing relevant and up to date ICT advice and support to schools on a range of appropriate and suitable technologies
  • Coordinating the Schools Broadband Programme for all primary and post-primary schools, and managing the Broadband Service Desk as a single point of contact for schools to support the delivery of online content and learning resources
  • Designing and delivering a comprehensive national programme of continuing professional development for teachers to assist them in integrating ICT into learning and teaching
  • Supporting and promoting the use, application and development of digital content which is relevant to the Irish curriculum
    • through the on-going development of Scoilnet as a portal site, which provides access to thousands of teacher reviewed resources relevant to the Irish curriculum.
    • through the evaluation and development of digital materials and resources (including software) and
    • project partnerships
  • Developing internet safety programmes, subject modules and advising on the development and use of, Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) in schools
  • Supporting and facilitating leadership in schools as it relates to e-Learning planning
  • Supporting the innovative use and integration of ICT in schools through pilot projects
  • Providing a general ICT advice service to schools via the phone, email and website.

Policy development, strategic and administrative functions

  • Providing advice to & developing policy proposals for the Department of Education and Skills (DES) on issues related to the development & use of ICT in the Irish education system
  • Providing support to the Minister as regards strategic issues relating to ICT and education
  • Providing information and advice to other educational agencies on ICT in education
  • Encouraging the integration of ICT in education across other organisations, agencies, and in industry
  • Promoting curriculum innovations to enhance learning through the use of ICTs in the classroom.
  • Undertaking research on the best uses of ICT in education and on the status of ICT in education on a national level
  • Maintaining Irish involvement in EU and international projects related to ICT and education
  • Participating in and contributing to the work of a wide range of working groups and committees at national and international levels
  • Managing the funding for the administration of the schools ICT support service

National Education Welfare Board

Who is responsible for a child’s attendance at school?

The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB), established under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, is charged with ensuring that each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education. The Act provides a comprehensive framework promoting regular school attendance and tackling the problems of absenteeism and early school leaving.

Don’t Let Your Child Miss Out booklet

Who is responsible for NEWB?

While responsibility for the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) has transferred to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the two Departments are working together to ensure that the services in the NEWB, including the School Completion Programme, Home School Community Liaison and the Education Welfare Service have a renewed focus to more effectively target and support all children at risk.

The functions of the former National Educational Welfare Board, and the services previously provided by the NEWB, are now part of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), which was established by law on 1 January 2014. Tusla’s new website is www.tusla.ie.

In Killavullen NS, we record all attendance on our Aladdin database. If a child misses 20 days or more, we are obliged to inform TUSLA. We inform parents at 10 days and 15 days absent. For more info, check out our Attendance Policy.