Post-Primary R.E. Teachers’/Chaplains’ In-service

Many thanks to all the Post-Primary teachers and chaplains who attended the first R.E. in-service for this academic year.  There was sixteen secondary schools from throughout the diocese represented on the day.   A very special thank-you to all the speakers who attended.

Dr Ailis Travers from St. Angela’s College Sligo was our first speaker.   Ailís is the Academic Director for School Placement in St Angela’s. Prior to this appointment, Ailís taught RE and History at Post-Primary level for nine years, spent four years as a catechetical writer with Veritas and four years working in Teacher CPD as a Team Leader for RE with Junior Cycle for Teachers. As well as supporting teachers in Ireland, Ailís has had the privilege of working with teachers and students in Honduras, India, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and the USA. She is co-author of the Junior Cycle RE textbook, Inspire: Wisdom for the World. Ailís covered material on CBAs 1 and 2 for Junior  Cycle examination RE.

Ailis was followed by Anna Myers.  Anna is an R.E. Teacher at the Presentation Secondary School, Milltown. She graduated from University
College Cork in 2017 with a Masters Degree in Music and Religious Education. Anna shared her experience of the Lighthouse Programme by Orla Walsh as she engaged with this initiative through her senior cycle
students and found it very helpful and innovative.  The Lighthouse Programme is a religious faith development programme undertaken voluntarily by transition or fifth year students – ‘Lighthouse Leaders’ and sixth class pupils who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Comprising a leadership training module and a peer ministry module, the programme invites the older students to become actively involved in leading catechetics for Confirmation. Following the Faith Friends programme as its inspiration, this programme comprises eight – ten sessions of Christian Leadership training for the Transition Year/Fifth Year students, followed by five peer ministry sessions with the sixth-class pupils of participating primary schools led by the newly trained Lighthouse leaders. In all, the programme takes a recommended fifteen school weeks.

Alan Hynes followed Anna and his focus was the new RSE programme for second level.  Alan is the CEO of the Catholic Education Partnership. He has a background in business and politics, served as Acting Director of St. Senan’s Education Office, following a five-year term as an Education
Executive/Advisor with the secretariat of CPSMA.  Hailing originally from Westmeath, he is now a long-term resident of Co. Galway. He is responsible for the overall operation of CEP and works in collaboration with other diocesan education offices across the State and with national bodies such as NAPPDA and the Irish Episcopal Conference. This new RSE document is for leaders and teachers in Post-Primary schools. Its focus is the area of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE). The guidance has been developed by the RSE Education Working Group which includes teachers and school Principals. The Group was well supported in its work by a number of organisations and experts in the area of RSE. Furthermore, the RSE Working Group consulted extensively with students, parents, principals, teachers and chairs of Boards of Management in primary and Post-Primary schools as part of the work of the Council for Education in RSE over the last number of years. The guidance document has received many endorsements from principals. The RSE guidance document seeks to provide
guidance in two ways. Firstly, it provides the rationale for RSE in a Catholic school. This includes important guiding principles underpinning a Catholic school’s RSE provision, important contextual background for RSE
in a Catholic school, and aims and objectives for RSE in a Catholic school. Secondly, it seeks to assist schools in the area of RSE by providing important information and practical guidance for the school’s work on the
development of the school’s own RSE policy.
The final presentation on the day was presented by Maura Hyland
Maura has worked with Veritas for many years in a variety of different roles, including that of Director.  During that time, she has been the author of a number of programmes, such as The Children of God Series
for Primary Schools and The New Christian Way Series for Secondary Schools. Currently she works in collaboration with the authors of the Religious Education programmes for the Republic of Ireland and
Northern Ireland, published by Veritas. The new senior cycle non-exam resource is titled New Horizons. It is a fully digital, interactive programme for Senior Cycle non-exam Religion. It will feature a number of different modules on a wide variety of subject areas. The first three modules are entitled; On Your Journey, Climate Justice, and Art and Religion
All of the modules are written from the perspective of the students’ own journey through life, with the intention of assisting them, through their exploration of individual topics, to discover their own best path(s) in life and
discover how they can respond to the Christian call to become their best selves. Teachers may pick and choose from the modules to construct their own course. Lots of video content is filmed by Veritas, to suit the
content in the programme. There are lots of opportunities for discussion, prayer and reflection through the resource and each module is designed to be taught over approximately 6-8 weeks.

Again, many thanks to all the facilitators and to Kingdom Catering for providing the delicious lunch on the day.