In February 2014 under the DEIS Scheme, St. Brendan’s College was granted a full-time HSCL Coordinator, Mrs. Michelle Carolan.
The underlying policy of the scheme is one that seeks to promote partnership between parents and teachers. The purpose of this partnership is to enhance pupil’s learning opportunities and to promote their retention in the educational system. In addition, the HSCL Scheme places great emphasis on collaboration with the local community. The Local Committee of the HSCL Scheme is central to this process of involvement. Both parents and pupils are represented at Local Committee meetings together with representatives from the various agencies in Erris.
The five goals of the H.S.C.L. Scheme focus on:
Supporting marginalised pupils
Promoting co-operation between home, school and community
Retaining young people in the education system
Disseminating best practice.
Home Visitation is at the heart of the HSCL Scheme’s focus on partnership. It promotes co-operation between the school and the home. It affirms the parents’ role as the primary educators. In reaching out to families the HSCL coordinator represents the human face of the school and embodies a real expression of interest in the lives of the children entrusted to St. Brendan’s College.
The role of the Coordinator is:
Provide support and reassurance
Break down negative attitudes and fears
Encourage active parenting
Help parents to develop their own skills and potential through involvement in school-related activities.
As part of HSCL, there is a Parents Room in the school which provides an easy, warm and welcoming forum for parents in realising their role as the primary educators of their children. Tea and Coffee making facilities are available. The parents meet the HSCL coordinator and other members of the school community, who provide a valuable source of friendship, support, encouragement, and reassurance. The HSCL Coordinator links with the Year Heads in the school regarding the welfare of students and also with the Rural Coordinators from the feeder schools in the area regarding incoming students.
The Parents Room is also available to students who may wish to discuss struggles or challenges they may be experiencing in a confidential setting.
A Care Team is also in place in the school which meets on a weekly basis. Its role is to support students who have needs which may be educational, emotional, psychological, medical or developmental in character. The idea of a team approach within the school is intended to bring all the available resources of the school together to address, in a strategic and co-ordinated manner, the complex needs of students. Interventions can also involve agencies and support personnel from outside.
We at St. Brendan’s College strive to make our school a welcoming and safe place for both students and parents.