The following websites and list of organisations have been compiled to help parents and teachers. You may find them particularly helpful if your child is starting post-primary education in Ireland for the first time. You may also find these resources useful if you will be moving to Ireland soon and are looking for information on the post-primary or second-level education system here.
The official education portal provided by the Department of Education and Skills is called Scoilnet. It aims to support Ireland’s education community by providing information and advice to students, teachers and parents. Scoilnet offers resources on a wide range of subjects that have been evaluated by subject matter experts to make sure they are relevant to the curricula. These are resources such as lesson plans, interactive and printable worksheets, notes and multimedia content. Teachers and parents can also get information on current news and events relating to education and parenting. Scoilnet has a 'Schools Online' section, which is devoted to profiling schools and teachers. It also includes information on building school websites. Scoilnet provides a searchable database of primary and post-primary schools, many of which have established their own web pages on this site.
Skoool.ie is an online educational resource for secondary students. The site provides online, interactive, multimedia lessons, study notes for a wide range of subjects on the Junior and Leaving Certificate curricula, study and revision tips and advice for students and teachers. Skoool.ie also gives guidance about transition year projects and preparing for the job market.
Gaelscoileanna is the main co-ordinating body for Irish-speaking schools, both primary and post-primary. It aims to advance the use of Irish as the language of instruction in schools around the country. Support is provided to parents who want their children educated through Irish, and to local committees who want to establish all-Irish schools in their own locality.
The National Parents Council - Post Primary (NPCpp) is a nationwide organisation that represents the interests of parents with children in second-level education. It tries to actively involve parents in all aspects of their children’s education, to provide a voice for parents in the development of parent groups and to monitor educational development and educational opportunities.
The Irish Second-Level Students Union (ISSU) is the national umbrella body for school student councils. It aims to represent and connect second-level students throughout Ireland, to ensure that the voice of the Irish second-level student is heard and to strive for innovation and democracy within the education system. ISSU aims to provide training, guidance and advice to empower students and equip them to become actively involved in the decision-making processes in their own school communities. It also aims to work in partnership with other organisations to bring the views of second-level school students in relation to educational issues to the attention of policy-makers and the media.
If you choose to educate your child at home, the Home Education Network may be a good source of information for you. It is a support and lobby group for home educators in Ireland. It aims to help parents use the available resources to develop educational techniques suitable for each child’s needs. It also provides a means for the exchange of ideas and experience among home educators through regular meetings and newsletters. Its website contains links to research and online information about home education and it also operates a library service of books on home education that is available to members.
The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) represents teachers and lecturers in vocational schools, community colleges, community and comprehensive schools, institutes of technology, further education and other specialist areas. The TUI has produced a number of policy documents on issues such as bullying and sexual harassment in schools. They also provide details of conditions of service and contracts for their members, including the full text of the conciliation and arbitration scheme for teachers.
The Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) is the main second-level teachers’ union in Ireland. ASTI members teach in voluntary secondary schools, community and comprehensive schools and colleges. ASTI is a source of information on pay and conditions for teachers and provides its members with a professional advocacy service. It also runs a professional development service for teachers. ASTI has produced a number of information leaflets for teachers covering issues such as discipline in schools, bullying and guidelines for professional behaviour.
The Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) (formerly called Irish Vocational Education Association) represents the interests of the 16 Education and Training Boards (formerly called Vocational Education Committees). It aims to promote and enhance the interests of vocational education and training. The ETBI offers training and continued professional development to its members, contributes to national policy discussion and has produced a number of booklets on issues such as managing allegations of child sexual abuse and policies on educational provision for asylum seekers and refugees.
The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) represents principals and deputy principals at post-primary level. The organisation has a network of nine regional branches and a range of sub-committees working on specific areas of education. It ensures that members are represented on all relevant national and international bodies and that principals and deputy principals are consulted on education policy initiatives that may affect their role. The NAPD also provides support and advice for principals and deputy principals through a secretariat.
The Teaching Council promotes and develops teaching as a profession at primary and post-primary levels. It provides a forum for presenting the views of the profession on all aspects of the teaching career from initial recruitment to in-career professional development. The Council maintains a register of all teachers who teach in recognised schools. As the regulatory body for teachers in Ireland, the Teaching Council produces a code of professional conduct for teachers, which covers standards of teaching, knowledge, skill and competence.
Foras na Gaeilge is the body responsible for promoting the Irish language. Its website covers a number of topics including the roots of the Irish language and some background on the Gaeltacht areas. The site has a comprehensive list of Irish courses available to both children and adults and covers how Irish is taught in schools. Foras na Gaeilge provides teaching resources to Irish teachers who want to update their skills and offers advise to parents who want to help improve their child’s Irish. The website gives details of social outlets where Irish is spoken and provides a list of Irish language organisations and groups.
A number of schools have been set up in Ireland to offer tuition in English as a second language.
The BBC Learning site has information for students at school, college and on adult education courses. It operates a number of online courses in areas such as science, languages and information technology and recommends external sites for particular areas of study.
The Learning Alive site is designed specially for students and their teachers. It has an interactive learning section devoted to secondary students and the staffroom area provides information and support for teachers and other education professionals.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.