Posted May 16th, 2013
Yellow flag awarded to school in recognition of intercultural work and respect for diversity. 3 Wicklow schools now involved in Yellow Flag programme
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris has today (Wednesday) congratulated Arklow Community College at the ceremony in the school to raise their Yellow Flag.
The Yellow Flag is an awarded for schools who undertake significant work to promote intercultural development and support and respect diversity in their school community.
Speaking about this achievement for Arklow Community College, Deputy Harris said, “I was delighted to be in Arklow Community College today as the school was awarded the Yellow Flag. This flag will now fly outside the school as a reminder of the great work that goes on in the school community to promote tolerance and respect diversity.”
“There are now 3 schools in County Wicklow actively involved in the Yellow School project- Arklow Community College, Colaiste Cill Mhantain, Wicklow Town and Newtownmountkennedy National School and I am sure more will follow,” stated Deputy Harris.
“I would like to sincerely congratulate all in Arklow Community College – the students, the teachers, the Principal and the wider community for their great work and effort in arriving at this point,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted May 2nd, 2013
Wicklow TD meets with students from Norway, Spain & Greece that are linked into a two year Comenius project with Loreto Secondary School, Bray
Deputy Simon Harris, Fine Gael TD for Wicklow this week met with secondary school students from Norway, Spain and Greece that are visiting Bray as part of their Comenius project with Loreto Bray.
Deputy Harris hosted a visit to Leinster House for these students so they could see first-hand our national parliament in action.
Speaking to the students, Deputy Harris said, “It is great to see a Bray school engaging in such an exciting project which brings students from Bray together with a number of students from other countries to share experiences, cultures and work together on a project. Such ventures have huge benefit for all involved.”
“I was delighted to be able to spend some time this week with the students involved in this project and to meet with them in Bray and then to host a visit for them in Leinster House. As we all become more interdependent at a European and global level, it is essential that young people are provided with opportunities to meet with their peers for other countries and develop links,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Please see attached photo of Deputy Simon Harris at Leinster House with students from Norway, Greece and Spain who are involved in a Comenius project with Loreto Bray
Posted April 26th, 2013
Wicklow TD and Convenor of the Dáil Cross Party Group on Mental Health, Simon Harris, launches Loreto Bray students’ guide to promoting positive mental health.
Deputy Simon Harris visited Loreto Secondary School, Bray yesterday (Thursday) for the launch of an exciting new initiative on promoting positive mental health amongst students in the school. Students in Loreto Bray produced and launched a booklet entitled “Building Resilience” outlining tips and ideas on how students should nurture and protect their mental health.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch Deputy Harris commended the students for their dedication and focus.
‘Positive mental health is something I am championing in the Dáil and I am delighted to see the students in Loreto Bray taking such a proactive approach to addressing mental health concerns. We all have a mental health to look after, just like our physical health.
‘Changing perceptions on mental health need to start in school so that people can be given the tools to look after themselves and the pressures that will come throughout life. It is so great to see Loreto Bray come together and work on promoting positive mental health. Such was the dedication of students and teachers in the school that they came into the school over their summer holidays last year to work on this project. This week we have seen the benefits of all their hard work and effort.
‘I plan to speak to Minister for Mental Health to see how other schools can follow the example of Loreto Bray in getting a head start on promoting positive mental health. I would like to congratulate the students and teachers for their hard work and wish them well with the guide. I would also like to thank them for their warm welcome to their school. I am proud to represent them in the Dáil as they lead the way with this great initiative and I truly hope other schools throughout the country follow their lead.
Posted March 7th, 2013
I have been a long-time admirer and supporter of the work of St. Catherine’s in Wicklow. It has provided a life line to so many families with children with special needs. I have visited the services on a number of occasions over the last few years and have seen first hand the brilliant work being done.
In the last few weeks, issues have come to the fore regarding serious problems with both corporate governance and financial management within the organisation. It is important to stress that everything by the organisation was done in the interests of children. However, lack of adequate governance structures and financial controls have now resulted in a very serious situation arising which was threatening the very continuance of St. Catherine’s.
I am aware that a new Board of Directors has been working day and night to try and rectify these problems and to put the organisation on a stable financial footing. I want to commend all those involved in that work.
The HSE are currently working with this new Board of Directors to put in place an effective “rescue plan” for the services.
Today, Department of Education officials will meet with management of St. Catherine’s and I think this is a very important step.
On Monday evening, a meeting will be held for parents of children in St. Catherine’s to meet with the Board and to receive an update on the situation.
I want to assure the people of Wicklow and most particularly parents of children in St. Catherine’s that I will be working tirelessly on this issue alongside the other 4 Wicklow TDs and all stakeholders to protect the services – residential, respite and educational.
Yesterday in the Dáil, I along with colleagues raised the importance of St. Catherine’s and the 5 Wicklow TDs also plan to meet with the Minister for Disability Services next week.
This is not about a “government cut” or the HSE trying to shut services. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. It has been repeatedly stated by Government and by the HSE that services must and will continue and that is the absolute priority of all those involved in working on this issue.
To the 58 people who lost their jobs, no words of mine will in any way numb that pain. All I will say is that I am so sorry that this has happened and that I have heard countless accounts of your commitment, superb work and dedication.
There are many outstanding questions for which there are as yet no definitive answers. The message I want parents to have though is that if we all work together on this we can, in the first instance, stabilise the organisation and ensure the secure retention of all St. Catherine’s service and then look at rebuilding where necessary important supports that are needed for these children.
The care and education provided by St. Catherine’s is something that is treasured by families in Wicklow and beyond and I will work to secure these provisions.
Harris secures Dail update from Education Minister on primary school places for Greystones, Delgany and Kilcoole residents
Posted January 29th, 2013
Local Fine Gael TD informed of plans for school extensions & significantly more additional classrooms in local schools
TD also calls for Department to look at need for primary school in Charlesland and working with patron bodies to revise catchment areas for local primary schools
Greystones resident and Government TD, Deputy Simon Harris secured a special debate in the Dáil this evening (Tuesday) on the need to increase the number of primary school places in Greystones, Delgany and Kilcoole.
Deputy Harris had been pursuing this issue with a number of local parents of children of school going age in the community.
Speaking about news given to him by the Minister for Education during his special debate on local school places in Greystones and the environs, Deputy Harris said, “Greystones, Kilcoole and Delgany have significant population increases in recent years. I presented this information to the Minister for Education arising from the latest Census. It is absolutely essential that as a result of the ‘bulge’ in population of children of school-going age that the Department takes action to make sure there are adequate school places and school accommodation locally.”
“This evening, the Minister has informed me of the following:
· A new 16 classroom school is being provided for Greystones Educate Together N.S and this is currently at tender/planning permission stage. Subject to statutory approval, the indicative date for delivery of these classrooms is this September.
· Gaelscoil Na Clocha Liatha is currently an 8 classroom school and it will take over the 8 classroom building currently being occupied by Greystones Educate Together.
· This will see an additional 15 classrooms provided on this education campus between these two schools.
· Kilcoole Primary School is currently a 16 classroom facility. Extending this school by an additional 8 classrooms has been announced by the Government in the School Building Programme list. The process to appoint a design team for this project has commenced and it is expected to be delivered in the 2015/2016 building programme.
· The Department is currently working with management of Kilcoole Primary School to provide additional temporary accommodation in the interim.
· The other schools in the Greystones area have been approved funding for an additional 4 classrooms to be provided in the town to meet accommodation needs for September 2013,” stated Deputy Harris.
“Officials in the Department of Education are continuing to liaise with patron bodies to ensure increased provision of places as the need arises,” continued Deputy Harris.
“In my debate today in the Dáil today, I have asked the Minister to also undertake the following:
· Examine if it is possible to bring forward the date for the extension to Kilcoole National School.
· Ask his officials to work with patron bodies to revise and update the catchment areas of local schools to recognise the growth in the boundaries of Greystones and Delgany and the need for children living in these areas to be within the catchment area of local schools.
· Work with schools which have the space to consider land acquisition for future extensions.
· Continue to pursue the possibility of school in Charlesland (a school which in my view should have been delivered as a condition of planning permission for the Charlesland area),” said Deputy Harris.
“I am pleased with the progress being made in this area and the news that yet more school places are coming on stream in our community. I know this will be a help to many families in the locality. I will continue to work to ensure the ongoing betterment of education facilities in Greystones, Kilcoole and Delgany,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted December 14th, 2012
European Movement Ireland have launched a search for 25 young communicators to report on Ireland’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU from January to June 2013. Youth Media and the Irish Presidency (YMIP) is a new 32-county initiative open to 18-25 year olds with a passion for communicating and an interest in Ireland’s Presidency and its importance for Ireland’s citizens.
YMIP will encourage a young, fresh perspective on Ireland’s Presidency, European affairs and Ireland’s relationship with the EU. The Programme also aims to encourage youth engagement at local and regional levels with Europe. Importantly, no prior journalism experience is necessary to participate in YMIP. EM Ireland are looking instead for interested and enthusiastic communicators, be they writers, photographers, bloggers, filmmakers or podcasters.
YMIP participants will be given access to official Presidency events and tasked with reporting on these. Submissions will then be published on the EM Ireland website, with the opportunity of also appearing on SpunOut, and will be actively promoted by the EM Ireland Communications teams via social media and to our extensive regional and national media contacts. Training and mentoring will also be provided to participants by European Movement Ireland over the course of the six months.
Further information can be found and application forms downloaded from the YMIP webpage. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 19 December 2012. http://www.europeanmovement.ie/ymip/
Posted December 10th, 2012
Harris Welcomes Ministers Commitment to Major Wicklow School Building Projects
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has welcomed the announcement of new school building projects across County Wicklow.
‘The new projects being developed in County Wicklow are recognition of the growth of the county and the need for provision of schools in areas where there is significant increase in demand for school places.
‘I have been highlighting the need for new school buildings across County Wicklow and I am delighted with today’s announcement.
‘There are other areas and school building projects not included that I will be continuing to highlight with the Minister. The Minister has made it clear that as 2013 progresses, projects scheduled to begin building in 2014/15 will be assessed to see if they are ready to go to construction earlier than planned, and if there is financial scope to do so.
‘The new projects in Arklow and Greystones are both very worthy and much needed. The projects will be a significant benefit to the local communities and areas.
‘I look forward to the commencement of these projects and the new opportunities these new facilities will bring to young Wicklow people.’
The schools included in the 2013 construction programme are the following.
· Gaelscoil an tInbhir Mhóir, Fernbank Park, Cemetary Rd, An tInbhear Mhóir, Co. Chill Mhantain.
· Greystones ETNS, Blacklion, Greystones.
· Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath, Blacklion, Greystones.
· Temple Carrig Secondary School, Greystones.
· Arklow Community College, Coolgreaney Rd, Arklow.
Posted August 23rd, 2012
Fine Gael Wicklow TD Simon Harris today welcomed the provision of four new special needs classes for county Wicklow and the continued focus on special needs by the Government.
Deputy Harris said ‘The announcement by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) of these additional resources reflects progress in providing much needed resources for those with special needs.’
‘The classes in Wicklow are of significant value to Wicklow families and will help young Wicklow people in gaining the education that they are entitled to. I am pleased that these resources have been allocated to East Glendalough Wicklow Town, CBS Arklow, Scoil Nioclais Naofa NS Dunlavin and Holy Rosary Wicklow Town. During my time in Dáil Éireann, I have spoken with many parents who are struggling to get appropriate educational supports for their children. Today’s announcement is good news but I will be continuing to engage with the NCSE to increase the supports available to students across county Wicklow.’
These classes are scheduled to be available this coming September and are part of a broader roll-out of supports for special needs learning that will see the provision of 500 places across the country.
Deputy Harris concluded ‘the additional supports are welcome progress in providing the necessary resources for those with special needs and reflects the continuing focus of the government on the support for those with special needs.’
Posted August 7th, 2012
New Secondary School for Greystones – Keeping up to date with developments
I would like to offer the following advice/information on to parents:
• As the community knows at this stage, in the last few weeks the Minister for Education announced that the Church of Ireland will be the patron body for this school.
• The Department of Education will now set about working with this patron body to advance this school project.
• Construction of the new school is likely to commence in 2013.
• The school will open its doors in for the school year commencing in September 2014.
• You can keep up to date with the latest news on the new secondary school project on the website – http://www.greystonessecondaryschool.com/
• On this website you can join the Mailing List for the new school and this will ensure that you hear all the latest news as the project advances.
• Equally, you can find out more information on the new school, ask questions, seek information, etc on their Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/GreystonesSecondarySchool
Specifically in relation to enrolment process, enrolment policy and the constitution of the new Board of Management for the school:
•The new Board of Management – as the patron body, it is the responsibility of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin, the Rev. Michael Jackson to appoint the Board of Management. It will be this Board of Management that must then set about putting in place an enrolment policy and for generally driving the school development forward. I will keep you informed when this Board is appointed and, again, would advise you to keep an eye on the school website and Facebook for information on this.
• An enrolment process cannot be put in place until a Board of Management is established so it is not expected that application forms, etc will be available before September.
• Whilst the enrolment policy is the responsibility of the new Board of Management, throughout the patronage process, the new school patron made very clear that this school will give priority admissions to the primary school students from the seven primary schools in the Greystones/Delgany area (these schools are: St Patrick’s, St Kevin’s, St Brigid’s, St Laurence’s, Gaelscoil na Clocha Liatha, Greystones Educate Together, Delgany N.S). This is very much in line with the criteria and expectation of the Department of Education and Skills.
• If the school has capacity available (which I imagine it will) after meeting the needs of students from these seven primary schools, it can then enrol students from other schools. Determining how to do this, the criteria, etc will be contained within the new enrolment policy.
I will keep in touch with the community as this exciting new secondary school project advances.
Posted July 25th, 2012
Church of Ireland awarded patronage of new secondary school for Greystones
Wicklow Fine Gael TD and Greystones resident Simon Harris has announced that the patron for the new second level school in Greystones will be the Church of Ireland. The decision was made by the Minister for Education and Skills and approve by the Cabinet at the Government’s weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday, and unveiled at a press conference announcing 14 new school patronages this morning. An extensive patronage application process had been undertaken which invited all patron bodies to make a submission outlining their interest and also invited parents in the community to express a preference.
Speaking about the announcement today, Deputy Harris said, “I want to congratulate the Church of Ireland on their successful patronage bid for the new second level school in Greystones. I look forward to working with them to deliver this new school for our community. The awarding of patronage today allows this project to progress to the construction phase and is an important step forward in delivering this significant investment in education in our town.”
“Today, no doubt, other patron bodies will be disappointed and that disappointment is understandable. But at the end of the day there could be only one patron. On a macro level though, today is a good day for all patron bodies – be they Educate Together, the Catholic Church, the VEC or the Church of Ireland – because each patron body has received patronage for a number of new schools across the country in the list published by the Minister today. This is an important development in ensuring educational diversity in our country,” stated Deputy Harris.
“I am sure the whole town will agree that today is a great day for education in Greystones as we progress our plans to provide an additional second level school in Greystones. I am quite sure that this new school will join with St David’s Secondary School in continuing its long tradition of providing excellent education in our town. St David’s and the new second level school will complement each other and will ensure that our community can meet the demand for second level places in Greystones into the future,” continued Deputy Harris.
“As a TD in the town I will continue my work to ensure that our existing schools are supported and that our new second level school is ready to open its doors and serve our town as quickly as possible,” concluded Deputy Harris.
The other patronage announcments made this morning were:
Blanchardstown West, Dublin 15 Educate Together
Drogheda, Co. Louth Joint patronage of County Louth VEC and Educate Together
Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 Le Chéile Schools Trust (Catholic ethos)
Greystones, Co. Wicklow Church of Ireland
Lusk, Co. Dublin County Dublin VEC
Claregalway, Co. Galway County Galway VEC
Naas, Co. Kildare County Kildare VEC
Navan, Co. Meath County Meath VEC
Cork City – South Suburbs/ Carrigaline County Cork VEC
Maynooth, Co. Kildare County Kildare VEC
Dundalk, Co. Louth County Louth VEC
Ashbourne, Co. Meath County Meath VEC
Balbriggan, Co. Dublin An Foras Pátrúnachta (Gaelcholaiste)
Dundrum, Co. Dublin An Foras Pátrúnachta (Gaelcholaiste)