Message from the Chair of the Board of Directors
As Chair, I am pleased to provide you with some background information about the governance and oversight of Castle Park school. The School was founded by its first headmaster, Mr Wilfred Parker Toone. He passed it onto his successor, Mr Donald Pringle and following the untimely death of Mr Pringle in 1962, the school passed to the ownership of a charitable company in 1963 governed by the board of directors.
Castle Park School DAC is a registered company, a not-for-profit organisation, which has charitable status. The School can have between three and ten directors. Each member serves a three-year term and may stand for re-election when that term expires. A majority of the current board are parents or former parents. There is no formal process for selection but when a vacancy arises, the Board will look for someone with particular skills (academia, business and finance, legal, construction, IT, marketing etc.) so that matters affecting the School are considered from a position of experience and expertise. Board members give a considerable amount of time and commitment to their role.
The purpose of the Board is to review policies, receive detailed reports from the headmaster and members of staff at every meeting, and consider plans for the development and continuous improvement of our educational provision. It is not the function of the Board to get involved in the day-to-day running of the School. This is handled by the management team led by the Headmaster. The Board’s role is to oversee the proper functioning of the School, especially from a financial and risk point of view, and to preserve the asset for future generations.
The Board also oversees the Swim Academy and Sports Centre, which not only makes good use of our facilities but is of great service to the local community, providing swimming lessons to over twelve-hundred children, as well as supporting local clubs who use our Astroturf and Olympic size sports hall.
The School is unusual, in that, as it does not receive government funding, it is not subject to the requirements of the Department of Education. However, Castle Park pupils do follow the Primary School Curriculum but we tailor it to suit the needs of our pupils. In many subject areas, we exceed its expectations and add significant content. Two examples of where we exceed it with our pupils would be our extensive social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) curriculum and the study of computer coding, including programming robots from age four. Castle Park places a strong emphasis on reading and monitors each pupils’ progress closely. Our standards are subject to external inspection by the child and family agency, TUSLA and by POBAL for ECCE scheme provision. All staff and Board members are Garda vetted.
The goal of providing a quality education for all pupils is a journey rather than a destination, so as we strive for ongoing improvement, our efforts are guided by a detailed School Improvement Plan (SIP). Once these three to five-year plans have been reviewed, evaluated and approved by the Board of Directors, the key objectives of each SIP are shared with staff, parents and pupils. In recent years, several important developments requiring substantial investment have been approved by the Board, including initiatives in literacy & numeracy, Forest School, robotics, SEAL including mindfulness, adventure playgrounds, role-play in early years teaching and learning digital technologies, and flexible space for collaborative learning activities. Each development was planned carefully and implemented in a phased and manageable way to enhance educational opportunities in a sustainable manner.
As a long-serving member of the Board, I can appreciate what is involved in fulfilling our responsibilities so I’d also like to say Thank You to my fellow Directors, past and present, for their support and hard work. They bring energy, expertise and wisdom to the demanding role and I am most grateful to them for volunteering.
Chair of the Board of Directors
Members of the Board
- Ms Philippa Cottle (Chair)
- Mr Christian Dijkstra
- Mr Vincent Finnegan
- Ms Jemma Houlihan
- Dr Thérèse McPhillips
- Ms Áine Ní Neachtaín
- Mr Kevin Nowlan
- Ms Catherine O’Connor
- Ms Josephine Reilly (Company Secretary)
- Ms Paula Roberts