History of Compass
In the early 1980s Gemma Hussey, the then Minister for Education created the National Parents Council (Post Primary). The purpose of this council was to be a conduit between parents and the Department of Education and Science. There were several constituent bodies, representing all the types of schools in the Secondary Level. The schools, which had been founded by Protestant Boards of Governors (although now inter-denominational), were in the body known as N.P.S.S.P.A.-National Protestant Secondary Parents Association. In 1999 this name was changed to Compass – Co-operation of Minority Religions and Protestant Parents Associations (post primary).
Ms Hussey’s plan was that all Second level schools would have a Parent/Teacher Association or a Parent Association. One or Two parents from the association in each school would represent their constituent body, and if voted onto the committee of that body report back to the parents in all their schools. Compass Committee is the conduit for Compass schools to the National Parents Council (post primary) and thence to the Department of Education and Science.
In the 1980s N.P.S.S.P.A. met once a term. Although the D.E.S. involved parents with many discussion papers then, the recognition of parents as the Primary educators has become stronger, and now in the 2000s the Compass committee needs to meet more often, usually every month. 4 Compass committee members are on the Board of the National Parents Council and they are often required to represent the parents on other committees i.e. the N.C.C.A. (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment), N.E.P.S. (the National Educational Psychological Service )H.E.A. (Higher Education Authority ) to name a few. We are asked to represent parents at meetings with the J.M.B.(Joint Managerial Body ),I.S.A. (Irish Head Teachers Association ),The Child Welfare Association, The Child Health Development Association, again to name a few.
In the Twenty First Century Compass is very strong in its role of representing the parents of our schools, through the N.P.C.p.p. to the D.E.S. The role of the parent as the prime partner in Education is now recognised without question.