The maths department welcomed back Eoin MacCuirc from the Central Statistics Office in Cork on Monday 17th. Eoin spoke with all senior students through the course of 3 seminars. The main focus was Making Sense of Numbers where Eoin encouraged students to make numbers personal, for example, it would take approximately 10 days to count to 1 million and 32 years to count to 1 billion at a unit per second. He outlined the roll of the central statistics office and fed back relevant statistics on Carlow. Students were encouraged to always question the validity of a statistic and where it came from. Eoin is also a director of the Simon Community and of the Food bank. He created awareness around food waste and death from hungar and told students about the Food Cloud. The Food Cloud is an app that allows businesses around the country move food, that would otherwise be wasted, to local charities. On Sunday 16th, the food cloud moved 1 tonne of food in Ireland. He encouraged students to participate in the John Hooper Statistics Competition and met with students who entered last year. It was a most enjoyable seminar and we thank Eoin for taking the time to visit us.
A table quiz was held for first years as part of Science week. The quiz was great fun with a wide range of questions and the result was very close in the end.
The Chemistry club run by the energetic Emma Townsend, 3rd year, under the supervision of the science teachers will continues at lunchtimes for all interested students.
Junior Cert student Bronagh Walsh competed in the Leinster Schools' Combined Events in Athlone I.T in October. First up were the hurdles, Bronagh's favourite event. She didn't disappoint,blowing the opposition away in a time of 9.32. She followed this up with a good throw in the shot and strong jumps in the long jump and the high jump. The 800m event was the final event of the day and Bronagh gritted it out to claim a fine sliver medal for St.Leo's College,smashing the 3000 points mark in the process. She will now go on to represent the school and Leinster in the All-Ireland Schools' Combined Events on the 15th of November. Best of luck Bronagh!
Business is brisk at St. Leo’s College Credit Union as students continue to avail of this financial service. Students booked on forthcoming trips to Paris, Italy and Barcelona in particular are delighted to be able to save and with Christmas just weeks away no doubt others will be joining the queue for this wonderful in-house facility. Many thanks to Marian and her team for the Trojan work they do each week.
It is the ultimate Christmas story – Demonstration of genuine, caring within our school community when members of the Cairdeas team organised gift boxes for children in Africa. Many thanks to the students of 2nd Year and LC3 for their generosity.
Well done to Mr Ian Curran and the Chamber Choir who recently took part in the All-Island Choir competition. Their entry was broadcast on RTE1 television on Sunday evening, 9th November where they performed superbly.
A Parent/Teacher meeting for 5th Year students will take place on Wednesday 19th November from 4.15pm – 6.45pm. Students are asked to accompany their parents/guardians to this meeting.
The St. Leo’s College Parents ‘Association are finalising arrangements for the Leo’s Got Talent show. This event takes place on Wednesday 3rd December and promises to be a great night. Tickets will be on sale over the coming weeks and your support would be greatly appreciated.
The following is an interesting article published in the Irish Times Thursday 30th October from Gerry Bennett, CEO, Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST).
Opinion: Only voluntary schools have to pay for insurance, lighting, security and secretarial services.
‘The funding for voluntary secondary schools needs to change to make it equal to the existing funding for vocational or community /comprehensive schools.’
There is an extraordinary inequity in the funding of second-level education. Some 52 per cent of second-level schools in Ireland are voluntary, which means they are privately owned and managed. They are generally under the trusteeship of religious communities, boards of governors, individuals or trust bodies.
If you are a parent in such a school, you are being short-changed. Although the vast majority of these schools are technically non fee-paying, you are very likely to find yourself paying a voluntary contribution or having to fundraise to help your child’s school make ends meet.
By contrast, if you had a child in a vocational school or a community/comprehensive school, you would have a much lighter burden (although they also sometimes find themselves having to fundraise and make voluntary contributions albeit to a lesser extent).
Why is this? The State may argue that every school – be it voluntary, vocational or community/comprehensive – receives roughly the same grant per child. This disguises the reality. Out of this capitation grant, voluntary schools have to pay a range of costs, the effect of which is to reduce that grant by about a third.
The vocational and community/comprehensive schools do not pay these charges out of their capitation grant but have them paid centrally by the State. Only voluntary schools have to pay for insurance, lighting, security and secretarial services, among other costs. The vocational and community/comprehensive schools have these costs paid for them.
The inequity we are speaking about here is that voluntary State-funded secondary schools have a third of their pupil capitation grant side-tracked to essential services, whereas other State-funded schools – the vocational schools and community/comprehensive – do not.
Those managing secondary schools have long known that something was not right here. The issue was highlighted a year ago when the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published a report on the governance and funding of second-level schools.
Its findings “indicate a disparity in the funds available to, and the costs to be covered by, voluntary secondary, vocational and community/ comprehensive schools ... As a result, voluntary secondary schools are more reliant on other sources of income, including fees, fundraising, renting out premises and income from the Trust or other patron body”.
The ESRI report showed that an average of 12 per cent of all income in voluntary secondary schools comes from parental contributions, compared to just 5 per cent in community/comprehensive schools.
A further disparity of expenditure for voluntary schools is the cost of funding the trustee function – a function whose duties and responsibilities are set out by the Education Act, 1998. This essential element at the heart of any school is also – as regards State funding – treated differently between the types of schools. The ESRI notes vocational schools “combine management and trusteeship functions and, as such, receive State funding which is delivered by block grant”.
Voluntary schools do not benefit in this way. If “the trustee” of your school is the State, the taxpayer funds this function. If you have some other trustee – be it non-denominational, multidenominational or religious ethosbased – the State does not fund these core services. Again, the State short-changes the pupils in voluntary schools.
No student should suffer because of inequalities in how schools are funded. The funding for voluntary secondary schools needs to change to make it equal to the existing funding for vocational or community/comprehensive schools.
We have a system of funding schools which is riddled with anomalies, a confusion inherited from an age long gone. Where we now have unfairness and obscurity, the children and parents of a modern Ireland deserve equity and transparency.
The Edmund Rice Schools Trust, which is trustee to 94 schools, has discussed this matter directly with the trustees of other schools. None of us has received an adequate account from the State as to how the present system has been allowed to muddle on.
We have also written to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection and we hope that further discussions with the committee will make use of the groundwork carried out already by the ESRI.
The signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic promised to “cherish all the children of the nation equally”.
We should be doing that now and we should honour this pledge before we see Budget 2016.
Kieran Comerford and Anna Byrne from Carlow Enterprise Office visited with the Transition Years students to assist them with queries about Mini Company ideas, the Student Enterprise Programme and Female Entrepreneurship Network.
On Friday 17th October speaker Maura Lennon visited to speak about her work with GOAL. Maura recalled her extensive travels to locations around the developing world and informed the audience about the current Ebola outbreak, the largest in history and the first in West Africa, affecting countries including Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Gavin Harte visited the school with an Energy Roadshow, kindly funded by Carlow County Council. This presentation which was of particular interest to Green Schools committee members and Physics students was well attended throughout the day and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
As part of EU Code week which ran from 11th – 17th October, Philip Burke, MSc. Lecturer in Computer Games at IT Carlow visited and gave a whistle stop presentation on an “Introduction to Programming: The science behind computer games”. This presentation explored some basic algorithms used in computer games that can be applied in many ways, solving both simple to complex problems. Students who had an interest to learn about developing Apps into the future packed the assembly hall to listen to how to get involved in the future and gave the thumbs up to this entertaining lecture.
We are currently developing an APP for St. Leo’s College. This exciting initiative will allow dissemination of information to targeted audiences with greater ease. The APP is undergoing testing and will be ready to launch in the coming weeks.
Maths week runs from 11th – 19th October 2014 with lots of events to promote0, awareness, appreciation and understanding of maths. Everyone is invited to get involved and enjoy the fun!
· Puzzle A Day will be read out at assembly and posted around the school. An entry box for students will be outside the staffroom.
· The Estimation Table will be outside the staffroom every day where students can win a prize for giving the closest estimate to various problems.
· First Year Scavenger Hunt will take place at lunchtime on Wednesday.
· PRISM Competition will take place in room 226 on Thursday 1pm - 2pm.
· Third Year Mind Map Competition - Third year students are encouraged to enter a mind map on Geometry.
Junior Hockey got off to a great start last week with lots of interest from our 1st Year group. Hockey is played at lunch time one day per week and new players are always welcome to come and try out this new sport.
A Parent/Teacher meeting for 6th Year students will take place on Thursday evening next, 16th October from 4.15pm- 6.45pm. Students are welcome to accompany parents/guardians to this meeting.
The entire 3rd Year group visited the Ferrycarrig Heritage Park, Wexford last week as part of their history studies. The group enjoyed a guided tour during which they had the opportunity to explore reconstructed historical sites depicting life in Ancient Ireland including crannogs, ringforts and a Fulacht Fiadh demonstration.
Mental Health Week was a fantastic success due in no part to the meticulous organisation of the team of Transition Years who took ownership of this important topic. A range of events was organised for every day and included, “Drop Everything and Walk”, Coffee Morning for 6th Years and a “Pay It Forward” the gestures which gave joy to both the giver and the recipient.
Great fun was had by all at the 1st Year Sleepover on Friday 10th October. Organised by Meitheal leaders this annual event included a mini disco, a talent competition, a visit from Dave’s Jungle of a tarantula, snakes, iguanas and a crocodile and movie time with the showing of Frozen. The students had a lovely evening together and enjoyed breakfast and a morning run before departing on Saturday morning.