ETSS Wicklow has been growing steadily for the past two years with school numbers about to move to 160 students approximately next year. The news that the Department of Education (DE) will renovate the former Abbey Community College and provide new temporary accommodation for the next two to three years has been welcomed by the Board of Management as an important landmark in the school’s development. Danny Haskins, Chairperson of the Board of Management and Educate Together Director, told the Wicklow People 'We would like to thank the DE and Kildare Wicklow ETB for supporting our move to the former Abbey Community College.'
A new school starts in temporary accommodation because it needs time to grow. While this happens, the DE starts working on acquiring a site and then planning and building the permanent school. For the past two years, ETSS Wicklow has been in a temporary site at Crinion Park designed to cater for the student cohorts for the first two years. Everyone at ETSS Wicklow found it a wonderful place for the school to begin its life and cannot speak highly enough about the location and the brilliant neighbours who supported them every step of the way. However, as ETSS Wicklow enters its third year, with numbers increasing, John Maddock, Acting Deputy Principal and Mathematics Advisor to the DE School Support Services, believes they have found the perfect location for the next stage of development in improving the service of the school while the DE continues working on delivering the permanent school building project: 'We're striving to provide a first-class curriculum here and be leaders in education. That's always a priority for an Educate Together school. As well as providing the main subjects you'd expect everywhere, we've added new opportunities. Teachers have been creating innovative courses for public speaking, linguistics and horticulture. Now we can broaden the curriculum even further to offer technology, woodwork and construction studies. The Student Council have been listening to student reactions on this news and we know these extra subjects will be really popular.'
The former Abbey Community College is a location steeped in the educational tradition of Wicklow Town. Parents and grandparents of many ETSS Wicklow students went to school in this building. Staff feel proud to have the opportunity to introduce the Educate Together educational model in this historical setting. ETSS Wicklow has a strong theory of learning which involves blending the best of traditional educational values with modern forward-thinking innovations. The school places importance not just on the content being covered, but also on the skills being learned. In this new location, with so many students and staff joining the project next year, the school will develop its work of celebrating diversity, encouraging everyone to be themselves, promoting student voice and embracing technology as part of preparing young people for the world they will inherit.
John Maddock explained: ‘We are really excited about the opportunities the move to the Abbey grounds gives us. ETSS Wicklow teachers pride themselves on being resourceful and now we’ll have the perfect setting for the next couple of years to continue reimagining our approach to education. As a maths teacher, I’ve already booked multiple whiteboards for the maths room – every wall will be the ‘front of the class’ where students can work together!'
It's not often we see a new movement of schools emerging in the Irish education system and it means the opportunity to be creative and innovative has never been better. We are taking this chance to be the best school we can be. We hope as you explore this website you will see our forward-thinking approach and find our way of looking at education refreshing.
This competition is a first of its kind in Ireland and it was created by our school - the idea is to connect Educate Together Secondary Schools through the great art of debating by using the expertise gained of online education during the school closures. We are delighted to have developed this high-tech online Ireland Debating Competition. Debaters worked through league stages and into knockout rounds and two teams remain in the competition ready to battle it out in the final - Galway ETSS won the final against Cork ETSS with the motion under discussion being 'Free Speech does more harm than good!' This competition also takes an innovative approach to developing student leadership by involving students not only as chairpersons and timekeepers, but also in the judging - students from Malahide Portmarnock ETSS and ETSS Wicklow will be among the judges in the final, along with teachers from both of those schools and representatives from Head Office.
Speaking about her remote learning experience, Ayah said, ‘I really enjoyed being at online school on Friday 23rd. I was able to learn a lot.’
Thanks to all staff members involved for embracing our livestreaming service for students cocooning/social isolating/experiencing difficulties in travel arrangements due to the Covid-19 pandemic .
We want to be leaders in technology and we're living up to our promise - yet another great example of the innovative spirit at our school!