PRESENT – Claire Cox, Jonathan Graham (Headmaster), Rory McKeague (Deputy Principal), Cynthia Iso Idemudia, Ciara Liffey, Philip Keegan, Irene Goodwin, Fiona Smith, Maria Macklin, Shane Bennet, Aoife Lynch, Miriam MacQuillan, Rosemary Matthews, Paula Clarke, Michelle Cunningham, Lorna Kane, Liz O’Reilly, Julie Carr, Trish McKeague, Karen Campbell, Catherine McGinley, Philomena Gilmore, Kate Murphy, Anne Logue, Michelle McMahon
APOLOGIES – Martin Betz, Pamela Kpaduwa, Tristan Swan
The meeting was opened with a welcome address from the chairperson, Claire Cox. She introduced Mr Paul Rolston, Director of National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCPP) who gave a very informative address in relation to the changes in the National Parents Council. He explained how the four parents groups, which included our group COMPASS will now feed into the centralized NPCPP and how they in turn will then liaise with Government Departments etc. The administration of the NPCPP has also been professionalised with two full time secretaries who have greatly improved the day to day management of the organisation. In order to cover the costs, it has been decided to change the affiliation fee to 1 euro per student. Mr Rolston also took questions from the floor which everyone found most informative.
PREVIOUS MINUTES – The minutes from last year were handed to all in attendance. They were proposed as being accurate by Claire Cox and seconded by Shane Bennett.
CORRESPONDENCE – There were letters in relation to the following: –
HEADMASTER’S REPORT – Mr Graham spoke of the achievements of the students last year and in particular the excellent results in the state examinations. He mentioned how successful last year’s prize day had been with Prof O’Shea giving an excellent speech. During the year there were a number of events in particular a Remembrance Service for Lt Emerson who is one of the past pupils awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War. Some new clubs have been established in particular Mandarin and Coding Clubs. The well-being week was very successful during which the PTA also held a very enjoyable Health and Well-being evening event. A student assembly has also been formed with monthly meetings. Culture Day in the school was a huge success and it is hoped to open it to the parents this year. He also mentioned the outstanding achievements in sport in particular girl’s hockey and the rugby teams. Mr Graham pointed out the importance of the PTA in the running of the school with input in relation to boarding policy, attendance strategy, acceptable use policy, behavior policy, data protection policy and in the New Year School Improvement Plan. Two inspections were held during the year. One in French and a WSE follow through which were both successful. He also mentioned that three years ago 7 members of staff undertook and have now completed a Master’s in Education through Maynooth. They are now in a position to pass on their information to the other members of staff. The catering company in the school will be going cashless. There will be a card for each pupil that can be topped up in advance.
CHAIRPERSON – Claire Cox began her address by thanking everyone for coming. She pointed out the activities the PTA are involved in and reiterated what the Headmaster had said about the importance of the PTA at not only providing prizes and events but also advising on school policies. She also noted the successful Well-being event that the PTA held which was organised by Philomena Gilmore and also the adoption of the acceptable use policy which banned mobile phones during the school day which has received no complaints and has improved the quality of school life. She also stated that she herself, Shane, Caroline and Orla would be leaving the PTA.
SECRETARY’S REPORT – Lorna Kane began by stating that there had been a total of seven meetings held last year including the AGM. Events included an enjoyable Health and Well-being evening which received a very positive response from all involved. So much so that it is hoped to build on it for this year. A photographic competition was held entitled “Reflections of School” with Ken Finnegan, photographer judging. It is hoped to have the winning entries framed and exhibited. As a result Ken also ran a photographic workshop and hopes to run one again as the response from the students was positive. The annual PTA Quiz was a great success and enjoyed by all. The PTA also contributed prizes to the Student Council Talent Show. Our COMPASS representative, Shane ran a TY Geoscience week in Dublin in January and took three Dundalk Grammar students with him. Lorna also mentioned the school uniform sale at the end of the year which has some great bargains. Some parents asked if it would be possible to organize this in the evening as they could not attend during the day and it was proposed that this year it may be held a few days before the end of term in the evening. Lorna also acknowledged the PTA members who are leaving this year and in particular Claire and Shane who have worked on the committee tirelessly for many years and thanked them for all they have done.
TREASURER’S REPORT – Rosemary Matthews guided us through the financial status of the committee detailing both the income and expenditure of the past year. The account stands at 8,299 in credit down from 8,845 at the beginning of the year. However as all monies spent were for the benefit of the students all agreed it was well spent.
COMPASS REPORT – Our COMPASS representative, Shane Bennett gave us a detailed account of its activities over the past year. As he is stepping down this year, Shane was looking for a volunteer to take his place. He stated that the role of COMPASS representative is to inform PTAs on education matters and COMPASS events. They are also a channel of complaints to COMPASS on issues such as heavy schoolbags etc. It is therefore a very important role in the PTA. COMPASS events this year included a spring interactive with Dr Minton speaking on cyberbullying. At the AGM Senan Turnball spoke on how COMPASS represents parents and Arthur Godsil spoke on Strengths based Education. Patrick Empy is the new president. The TY weekend did not go ahead last year due to a lack of funding but it’s hoped it will go ahead in Glencree this year. Shane also told us of the Geoscience week he organized which culminated in the Young Scientist Exhibition. He is hoping to organize this event again in January. He also pointed out the changes to affiliation fee for schools with our own fee going from 200 up to 570 as it is now a cost of 1 euro per student. However it may be possible to negotiate this fee for any PTAs who are finding it difficult to raise the extra funds.
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS – There were four vacancies on the PTA this year. Claire thanked the outgoing members.
Catherine McGinley was nominated by Claire Cox and seconded by Rosemary Matthews.
Ciara Liffey was nominated by Lorna Kane and seconded by Rosemary Matthews.
Karen Coleman was nominated by Cynthia Iso-Idemudia and seconded by Lorna Kane
Martin Betz was nominated by Claire Cox and seconded by Shane Bennett
FUNDRAISING – It is hoped that the Health and Well-being event of last year can be developed for this year.
AOB – A parent brought up the issue of the uniform and the general presentation of the students. Mr Graham assured her that both he and Mr McKeague make every effort each day to ensure that pupils are presentable for classes. However it is very difficult to police outside of the school. This is an ongoing matter.
A Boarding parent requested that the boarding students be allowed to wear their hoodies in the evenings as it is a very long day in shirt and tie. Mr Graham said that this is the current policy and he had no problem with that.
A query was raised in relation to the policy in respect of non-attendance. Mr Graham said that the school phones home in this situation.
The meeting was then closed by Claire at 9.15 pm with thanks to all who attended.
DGS PTA Committee members 2018 – 2019
Philip Keegan, Philomena Gilmore, Des Halpenny,, Cynthia Iso Idemuda, Pamela Kpaduwa, Lorna Kane, Liz O’Reilly, Rosemary Matthews, Catherine McGinley, Ciara Liffey, Karen Campbell, Martin Betz