Welcome to Compass Parents
The National Association of Compass is a Constituent body of the National Parents Council (Post Primary) representing all parents who choose to educate their children in schools or colleges which promote a Protestant or a minority ethos.
There are 27 such affiliated schools in the Republic of Ireland. Most schools have elected parent representatives on their Boards of Management.
- Compass Parents
If you have any questions or would like any further information about COMPASS, then please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Compass Parents Committee
President - Alyson Findlay - East Glendalough School
Secretary - Julie Carr - Ex Officio & Ex Dundalk G.S.
Treasurer - Nigel Bannister - Wilson's Hospital School
PRO - Paul Rolston - Ex King's Hospital
Clive Jones - Wesley College
Gail Beatty - St Andrew's College
Hilary Rabbette - St Andrew's College
Lorna Kane - Dundalk Grammar School
Marie Wilgaard Kelly - Kilkenny College
Mary Lillis - Wilson's Hospital
Susannah Love - The High School
Tara Murphy - Midleton College
Tracey Monson - Drogheda Grammar School
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.
COMPASS Parents' Constitution
The name of the Association shall be the National Association of Compass - Co-operation of Minority Religion and Protestant Parent Associations (Post Primary).
The objectives of the Association are:
2.1 To provide a national forum for all Parents/Guardians, Parents Associations and Parent members of Parent/Teacher Associations in Protestant or Minority Religion post primary schools in the Republic of Ireland.
2.2 To nominate representatives of COMPASS for appointment as Directors to the board of the National Parents Council post primary CLG (Company Limited by Guarantee - NPCpp).
2.3 To represent the parents and guardians of children attending Protestant and Minority Religion post primary schools on any National Parents Organizations in areas of unique concern.
2.4 To consult with the Protestant churches involved in Education, the Jewish Community Leaders, and other Minority Religious Group Leaders who might wish to join Compass.
2.5 To elect delegates to represent Compass in discussions or negotiations with any other National bodies.
3.1 All parents/guardians of students attending Compass schools shall be members of the Association.
3.2 Each school shall have a minimum of one, or a maximum of two Compass Liaison Members.
3.3 The Parents Association/Parent Teacher Association shall elect these Liaison Members in the first term of each school year, and their names notified to the Hon. Secretary of Compass by the 31st October each year.
4. General Meeting:
The Parents/Guardians from each school shall be invited to attend all interactive meetings, in addition to the Annual General Meeting.
5. Annual General Meeting:
The A.G.M. of the Association shall be held before the 30th April each year of which 14 days written notice of the meeting shall be given to all member schools.
6. Extraordinary General Meeting:
An E.G.M. may be called by the Executive Committee, or by 6 fully paid up schools, by giving 14 days written notice to all Parents Associations Parent Teachers Associations member schools.
7. Election of National Executive Committee:
7.1 The A.G.M. will elect an Executive Committee each year. A member elected to the Executive should have a child in the secondary education system and or have relevant experience of skills as may from time to time be required by the Executive.
7.2 The Officers and members of the Compass Executive Committee shall be:
(i) President (the President will chair all meetings of the Executive).
(ii) Deputy President (The outgoing President to be ratified at the A.G.M.).
(iii) Vice-President (The President elect).
(iv) Hon. Secretary
(v) Hon. Treasurer
(vi) Public Relations Officer
7.3 In addition five ordinary members shall be elected, at least one of whom but preferably two or more will be parents/guardians of boarder pupils, and at least one but preferably two or more will be parents/guardians of day pupils.
7.4 The President shall serve for a maximum of 3 consecutive years.
7.5 The Vice-President will be elected from the Executive Committee at a meeting following the A.G.M.
7.6 At least three members of the Executive must represent a school located outside the greater Dublin area, and at least three members represent a school located inside the greater Dublin area.
7.7 An Assistant Secretary and an Assistant Treasurer may be elected from the ordinary members of the Executive.
7.8 As our role is that of representing members of the Protestant tradition and members of Minority Religions, the President and the Honorary Secretary and at least 4 other parents on the National Executive, must be members of a Protestant denomination or Minority religion.
7.9 Should two or more persons be proposed for an officer position, or more than 5 Ordinary members be proposed, then election shall be by ballot.
7.10 The members of the Executive Committee may offer themselves for re-election each year and shall not hold office for more than 6 consecutive years, in the event that we do not have eleven members going forward for election to the Executive at the A.G.M., members may serve a further year.
7.11 The Executive will have the power to invite persons with expertise in relevant areas to serve on the Executive as ex-officio in an advisory, non-voting capacity.
8.1 An affiliation subscription will be payable by all Parents Associations or Parent/Teacher Associations represented by Compass to National Parents Council post primary CLG. Where schools are jointly represented by Compass and the Parents Association of Comprehensive Colleges (PACCs) they may affiliate to both Associations on payment of the affiliation subscription.
8.2 The amount of the subscription for each calendar year will be determined by National Parents Council post primary CLG and will be payable before the end of December of the academic year.
9. Motions for the Annual General Meeting:
9.1 The Agenda for the A.G.M. will be issued with the Notice of the Meeting.
9.2 Notice of any motion for discussion at the A.G.M. should be submitted to the Honorary Secretary no less than 21 days prior to the date of the A.G.M.
9.3 A 2/3rd majority will be required for any motion to be carried at any A.G.M. or E.G.M. other than a motion related to article 18.1.
10. Annual report:
The President and the Hon Secretary will report to the A.G.M.
11.1 The Hon Treasurer will present a certified copy of the annual accounts at the A.G.M.
11.2 A qualified Accountant must have audited the Accounts presented at the A.G.M.
12. Executive Committee Meetings:
The Executive Committee of the Association shall meet at least once in a school term. Further meetings of the Executive Committee may be held as the Executive Committee deems necessary, or at the request of any 3 members of the Executive Committee. Seven clear days’ notice shall be given to members of the Executive Committee.
13. Quorum for Executive Committee Meetings:
The quorum shall be 5 for a meeting of the Executive Committee. Resolutions shall be approved by a simple majority and, in the event of a tie; the President shall have a casting vote.
14. Quorum for Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings:
There must be a minimum of 9 members representing a minimum of 6 Compass schools present.
16. Directors to the National Parents Council post primary CLG:
16.1 The Directors to the National Parents Council post primary CLG shall be nominated each year at the A.G.M. from the members of the Association. Co-opted delegates, and must be members of a Protestant or Minority Religion.
16.2 The delegates elected at the A.G.M. to the National Parents Council CLG shall be ex-officio members of the Executive Committee.
16.3 In accordance with the Constitution of National Parents Council post primary CLG directors will hold the post for 3 years. Upon completion of the three-year term they may stand for re-election for a second and final three year term. If, during this second period the Director no longer has a child in the post primary system, s/he shall resign their post at the time the child leaves the system. An election will take place to replace that person to cover the period remaining of out-going director’s term.
17.1 A Bank Account shall be kept in the name of Compass under the supervision of the Honorary Treasurer.
17.2 Cheques drawn on this account will require the signature of any two of the Officers of Compass.
18. Amendment to the Constitution:
18.1 Amendments to this Constitution may only be made by way of a motion carried by a 75% majority vote at an AGM or EGM.
18.2 The Executive Committee shall review the Constitution of Compass at least every five years.
Compass Parents Management of Schools
Minutes of 2020 Zoom Compass A.G.M. - 21st November, 2020
Present: Executive Committee Members –Patrick Empey(President), Paul Rolston (Deputy-President), Julie Carr(Secretary), Nigel Bannister (Treasurer), Nita Mishra, Mary Lillis, Claire Cox, Alyson Findlay, Hilary Rabbette, Clive Jones and Eoin Murphy.
Parent Representatives from: Wesley College, Stratford College, King’s Hospital, Villiers School, Royal School Cavan, Dundalk G.S., Midleton College, Kilkenny College, The High School, Wilson’s Hospital, East Glendalough School, SandfordPark, Drogheda G.S., Templecarrrig, Rathdown and St Columba’s College
The President opened the meeting by welcoming attendeesespecially in strange times and said it was hard not meeting and greeting everyone. He specifically welcomed Mai Fanning President of Npcpp who was at the heart of all issues during the summer months and also Martina O’Shea President of PACCS. He continued to state that the Agenda for the meeting had been circulated prior to the meeting and we will first go through AGM Procedures. The second half of the meeting will include a presentation on Npcpp and what is happening and how it works which will be followed by an open Q&A Session.
A.G.M. Business: The minutes of the 2019 A.G.M. and Secretary’s Report had been circulated prior to the meeting.
Adoption of the minutes were proposed by: Alyson Findlay and Seconded by: Eoin Murphy
The Secretary then read through her Report for the year.
The President thanked the Secretary for her very comprehensiveReport and that he would only like to add a few points. He first wanted to recognise and acknowledge the work by all school staff from Boards of Management, Principals, Teachers, Administration, Catering Staff, Ground staff and Cleaners since Covid first emerged. From the adaption and adoption of new styles of teaching to coping with exams to re-starting in September, we as parents all had a debit of gratitude. He noted that this reminded us of the great dedication of many teachers. There was enormous effort to support each individual student. He also noted that the levels of responsibility and work load of Principals and Board of Managements’ was large enough without a pandemic and he could only imagine the days and weekends spent managing all this. . Finally he made mention particularlyof boarding schools and their enormous work to try and secure a safe environment for so many of our children. It helped them significantly to return to some kind of normality in what has been a difficult time for them.
To put it in context for new attendees at the AGM he explainedthat Npcpp Directors and Compass Executive Members were a voluntary group. Npcpp was established as a company limited by guarantee for governance reasons and has 12 directors made up of 3 Directors from the 4 Constituent Bodies. It is a conduit for parents to communicate with DES. Npcpp also works in the areas of providing training courses for P/TAs, Oirechtasrepresentation and lobbying and providing the Leaving Cert Helpline.
He then went on to say that Compass had planned for more physical engagement and communication with Parents but obviously that has been affected by the COVID virus restrictions. Unfortunately only one Interactive took place.
Most of Compass work was supporting Npcpp with their work with the DES. Our Directors took on various roles within the organisation. Position papers were produced by Nita Mishra with the support of Eoin Murphy at the last moment for Npcppmeetings with the DES. This puts huge demands on the time ofour Directors and the President expressed Compass genuine gratitude for their contribution.
Communication has been a challenge for us and remains a work in progress but the Outreach Group is still trying to endeavour to beat the obstacles. This group tried to respond to issues during the period of uncertainty.
The President finished by thanking Claire Cox, Nita Mishra and Eoin Murphy who were stepping down from the Executive, for their work and dedication to Compass. He also particularlythanked the Secretary, Julie Carr, for her hard work and she is also due to step down.
The Treasurer stated the accounts, that had been circulated prior to the AGM, had been audited by Mark Stokes. Our main source of income is from Npcpp which comes from DES funding and also Affiliations fees that schools now pay directly to Npcpp. As accounts were self explanatory and there were no questions on same they were proposed by Richard Heywood Jones and Seconded by Paul Rolston.
There were four places now available on the Executive and it had been requested that any nominees be forwarded to the Secretary by 6pm on the 21st November, 2020. The following three names have been received:
Susannah Love – High School – Proposed by Julie Carr and Seconded by Alyson Findlay
Jenny Cahill – Kilkenny College – Proposed by Patrick Empeyand Seconded by Nita Mishra
Richard Heywood Jones – Proposed by Paul Rolston and Seconded by Julie Carr
All the remaining Executive Members are available to remain on the Committee and with no objection from the meeting they were elected.
The President asked for anyone else who may be interested in joining the Committee to contact the Executive after the meeting. Subsequently both Tara Murphy and Tracey Monson offered their services and were elected,
With regard to the officer positions:-
Aylson Findlay was proposed as President by Julie Carr and Seconded by Nigel Bannister
Nigel Bannister was proposed as Treasurer by Eoin Murphy and Seconded by Nita Mishra
Julie Carr was proposed to continue in the role of Secretary in an interim and ex officio capacity by Patrick Empey and Seconded by Nigel Bannister
Update on Npcpp Involvement in Education: The President introduced Mai Fanning and acknowledged the huge effort and contribution she had made during these difficult times and all her achievements at the Advisory Group.
Ms Fanning replied by saying she was delighted to be invited to the AGM. She mentioned that our own President had covered a lot about representation at National level but never before has it been more important. The voice of parents and students is paramount to any decisions being made and is being received positively in the Advisory Group. The Group was initially initiated because of Leaving Certificate issues and then continued with the safe return to school but is still active. Indeed a new group is now working on contingency plans for the 2021 Leaving Certificate. She acknowledged that Parents and students are already concerned as to what may happen. The primary way of gaining an insight into concerns parents have is generally when they themselves contact Npcpp. Issues are arising in school particularly with continuous assessments. The Parent Student Charter was due to be at a more advanced stage but had been further delayed as more important issues have prevented it moving as fast as Npcpp would have liked. The Charter will bring an open line of communication and involvement so issues can be dealt with. There is a need to advocate for all students and bring forward what is best for parents at all times. Mental Health has become a paramount issue. A new survey is about to be launched to help Npcppascertain what are the back to school concerns so they can pitch these at an upcoming meeting. She thanked all Compass Directors for their support to Npcpp.
Following Ms Fanning’s update Paul Rolston, one of our NpcppDirectors, gave a short presentation. He mentioned that the Npcpp President and Martina O’Shea, Treasurer of Npcpp are critical to all Npcpp achieved and in moving the Organisation forward. Indeed he said Ms Fanning has gained full respect for her work. During the Advisory talks Npcpp worked closely with the Union of Students in Ireland, Npc Primary and Irish Secondary Schools Union.
In the presentation it was explained how Npcpp was set up and the partners they engage with. The Company was established under the Education Act. The organisation seeks to provide information, training, representation at Government level and support the work of the Constituent bodies. They have also been involved in Joint Oireachtas Committees on areas of education and reform. They are also represented on other bodies including NCCA and Teaching Council. The Leaving Cert Helpline that is run by Npcpp was never more important than this year. There are varioius areas that they provide training in including Antibullying inconjunction with DCU. It is funded by grants from the DES and affiliations received from schools. They are endeavouring to provide a professional secretariat to make it a professional body representing parents but have at time run into obstacles and detractors.
It was agreed a copy of the presentation would be emailed to all attendees after the meeting.
The presentation was followed by a Q and A session. The President noted that participants had been requested that any issues/questions be emailed if possible prior to the AGM. Some had been received in the areas of Compass representing minorities, funding, support for schools during and beyond Covid, inclusivity and how better communication/engagement can be achieved.
In responding to a number of the issues The Npcpp President noted
• Inclusion and diversity are both high on the Agenda of Npcppand a key point of any conversation they have.
• In response to concern that Compass schools had difficulty receiving grants for PPE since the majority of them are fee paying she noted that equity had been sought in all negotiations
• In these times mental health is a real concern and that it is at the forefront of all Npcpp discussions. The impact on mental health of any decisions made by the Advisory Group was something central to their awareness and thinking. It was however mentioned that the Advisory Group make proposals to the DES but the final decision is made by the DES.
• With regards to the administration of Npcpp itself it was noted that two staff members had decided to leave.
• In response to a question as to whether the wearing of facemasks in school was going to be necessary in the future Ms Fanning stated that it will continue to be monitoredalong with other health guidelines as the situation progresses. Npcpp has interactions with NEPS at the Advisory Group where their advices are taken into account on all decisions. There was some question as to their effectiveness if not worn properly. Eoin Murphy stated that there was an excellent video on the tcd.ie School of Education Section by Luke O’Neill on the topic and we would try and send this link to attendees.
Other issues raised included:
• Communication has always been an issue for not only Compass but the schools themselves. Previously the point of contact in the School had been with the Principal. However since we are a parent body we encouraged a Compass Rep email to be sent to us for correspondence.
• The setting up of a PTA email has been encouraged but we are still dependent on these being accessed and emails forwarded to the school community
• GDPR is also making it more difficult to reach parents. It was encouraged that anyone in attendance at the AGM spread the word of Compass and Npcpp among their PTAs.
• The introduction of Zoom to much of our lives has created an opportunity to involve more parents.
The President of Compass then closed the meeting and thanked everyone for joining.
Secretary’s Report for Academic Year 2020-2021
At the last AGM the following members resigned from the Committee – Claire Cox (Dundalk Grammar School), Nita Mishra (Wesley College) and Eoin Murphy (Midleton College). Many thanks to them all for the dedication and hard work. Nita and Eoin also did tremendous work on Npcpp which we greatly appreciate. The following kindly agreed to replace them – Susannah Love (The High School), Jenny Cahill (KilkennyCollege), Richard Heywood Jones (King’s Hospital) and Tara Murphy (Midleton College).
There were six Executive meetings held this year.
Again the effects of Covid lingered on in Education this year. However, there were lessons learnt in the Leaving Certificate of 2020 and these were implemented in 2021. Particularly with the option of Accredited Grades and changes to the format of the Exam Papers. The impact on students was none the less extremely difficult. On the positive side the way our students are educated has changed and hopefully for the better. There has always been concern assessing students on years of work in one exam. Hopefully going forward a new and more suitable format will be put in place.
Our AGM last year was dedicated to listening to the voice of Parents/Guardians. We were delighted to have Mai Fanning, NpcppPresident, on hand to discuss and update parents on many issues. We are grateful to her for giving up of her time which has been much in demand in recent months being the voice of Parents at various groups most notably the Advisory Group within the Department.
The Executive were extremely sad to learn of the sudden passing of one our previous Executive Members – Shane Bennet. His work and knowledge of education and other matters had been invaluable for Compass and NPCpp. Above all he was a true Gentleman. He was incredibly wise and balanced, an Educationalist with very clear and thoughtful views. Our sympathies to his family and particularly his children.
The President wrote to Parents/Guardians in March advising them in of recent challenges and uncertainty Compass had organized for Shelley Crawford to speak on the topic of Resilience. This meeting was also an opportunity for Parents/Guardians to express concerns they had in relation to their child’s education. She encouraged them to contact Compass or Npcpp on an on going basis. She also reiterated the work being done by our Directors on Npcpp and Npcpp themselves to ensure Parents’ voices were being heard.
The use of zoom for the Interactive Meeting ensured there was a great attendance to hear the excellent talk by Shelley.
National Parents Council Post Primary
Mary Lillis replaced Nita Mishra as a Director on Npcpp with Paul Rolston and Nigel Bannister continuing in the roles.
Npcpp have been working to set up a professional secretariat which is needed for a high profile organisation like Npcpp.
The involvement of the President in the Advisory Group is key to Parents/Guardians voice being heard.
They have been working hard to build and increase their database of parental contacts.
There have been discussions with Npc Primary about the formation of a single parent body but with different concerns and priorities this is on hold at present.
A New Constitution and Memo & Arts are in the process of being adopted.
There will be a new Committee formed known as the SEED Committee – Sector/Ethos/Equality/Diversity. It will comprise of 15 members. The nominations for this Committee will be broadened to other relevant organisations e.g. Barnardos/First Alliance. All and any sectors can put forward issues, ideas etc. into this Committee. They will ensure all areas and sectors are represented. In turn recommendation will be put to Board. Individuals will have to serve on this Committee for a year before they can be nominated to become Directors.
A professional company has been employed to look at the area of communication so that correct and factual information is available to parents.
They continue to issue surveys which parents are encouraged to partake in to raise awareness of issues.
Concerns about the teaching of the new English curriculum have been raised by Compass with Npcpp. It is imperative guidelines are issued.
Digital training is another issue being dealt with at Npcpp.
Recent Webinars organised by Npcpp have been a great success.
As we know this is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and does not include the everyday work of Npcpp. This includes information and support for Parents/Guardians, Training and representation on various bodies and of course the Leaving Cert Helpline.
We would like to sincerely thank our Directors on Npcpp for all they do for Compass at Npcpp. Not only are they Directors but they serve on Committees within and outside the organisation which include:-
• NPCPP Finance and Risk
• NPCPP Organisational Development
• NCCA – Junior Cycle
Don’t forget our website is www.compassparents.org and email address is email@example.com