Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin has acknowledged the holistic value of Catholic schools in Ireland, and their vital support role during the Covid-19 pandemic. He made these comments in an address to the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association, a recognised school management association that represents all the boards of management of the over 2,800 Catholic primary schools in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the CPSMA provides support and advice to primary school principals and chairpersons of boards of management.
During his address, Archbishop Farrell drew attention to the use of online learning during the pandemic. He said, “I congratulate you on how you have embraced technology to ensure continued interaction and teaching … in what for them was a very abnormal educational landscape. The children’s wellbeing, and indeed their mental health, has been a key priority for you and your staff. In this way you have given a very strong witness to the nature of Catholic education.”
In relation to the opening of Autism Spectrum Disorder units, Archbishop Farrell said, “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) units and Special Schools provide a most vital service … I would appeal to Boards of Management to be welcoming of a request from the National Council for Special Education and the Department of Education and Skills to open an ASD unit in their school so that children can be educated locally with their family and friends.”
Welcoming the new Flourish resource, Archbishop Farrell said, “I welcome Flourish – which is a resource and not a programme – for Relationships and Sexuality Education for Catholic Primary schools, available now on the CPSMA website. Flourish celebrates life and love and is a series of resources designed to assist teachers in following the NCCA Curriculum while being respectful of our Catholic ethos. They were designed to fill a need which became apparent after wide consultation with parents, teachers and school leaders in our sector.
“Flourish affirms the core of the Judeo-Christian tradition: every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and is loved by God as they are. The resource material clearly states that any young person grappling with questions around their own gender identity or sexual orientation is be treated with the utmost care and respect. Flourish addresses the issue of family type and acknowledges that love is at the heart of family life, no matter what type of family it is.”
To read the full address, click here.