VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
Tulip1
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Tulip1 » Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:53 pm

where did you find that about Laois? like to know who is in it in Leitrim
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
Feardorcha
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Feardorcha » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:18 pm

The Irish Vocational Education Association is the co-ordinating body for the VECs. Go to www.ivea.ie click VEC Listings and click Leitrim.
Good hunting.
Tulip1
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Tulip1 » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:49 pm

thanks
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
lostexpectation
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by lostexpectation » Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:30 pm

Feardorcha wrote:The VEC's seem to be controlled by the local authorities. A typical VEC board has 16 to 20 members half of whom are nominated by the county council, town council or corporation.
Here's a typical example (I trawled through about 10 and they are all very similar).
Laois has 17 members on the VEC board made up of: 8 county councillors; 2 parents; 2 teachers; 2 church representatives; 2 community representatives and 1 other.
How and when the parents get elected and how often, I don't know - yet.
when i've looked i've often found a lot of unused filled places, anyway does that make up seem like your ideal community involvement in education? 8 county councillors? how many different boards do these people need to be on?

i understood to be set up way back when as the local 'tech' school, for 'vocations',ie for the local poor and stupid kids to eventually become plumbers or carpenters, becuase thats all they can do, while the smart and rich kids destined to be lawyers and accountants went to orders schools, where they spotted by a priest for extra tuition and buggered :) but obviously things have moved on, but the schools are still the third choice or the choice for the poor.
Last edited by lostexpectation on Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
test
Marks
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Marks » Mon Sep 07, 2009 3:54 pm

To understand how the VEC sector is run it is possible to get a handbood from the IVEA. It is called "Vocational Education Committees and Boards of Management of Schools and Community Colleges". There are different types of VEC schools which come under the VEC Act 1930 as amended. There is no reference to religion in this Act. You will note in this handbook that religious worship and instruction is mentioned. It states:- "arrangement in this regard shall be in accordance with Circular Letter 73/74 or as so amended". Circular Letter 73/74 was issued by the Dept of Education in 1974. This Circular letter says that religous instruction must be taught in accordance with the religion of the child and those wishing to opt out can do so with a letter to the principal.
VEC Community Schools have a certain history. They are a shared patronage between the Catholic Church and the VEC. They are classed as multi-denominational but operate a religious ethos.
There are two types of Community Colleges. Both types come under the full patronage of the VEC.
1) Designated Community Colleges come under the Model Agreement between the VEC and mostly the Catholic Church. In Dublin it is between Co. Dublin VEC and the Archdiocese of Dublin. These schools are classed as non-denominational, notwithstanding this fact they operate a religious ethos.
2) Non designated Community Colleges are not supposed to operate a religious ethos.

The fact of the matter is that in this country a religous ethos does not imply that prejudice is suffered. We are therefore left with the situation that it is impossible to get a secular education even in multi-denominational or non-denominational state schools. The right to opt out is protected by law however this right is not protected without discrimination. Any school therefore can have a policy where your child sits in the class while religious instruction takes place, sits in a corridor or stand outside the school. Obviously parents do not take up the option to opt out because of the effect it will have on their child. The right to opt out has been completely undermined as parents cannot secure the right without discrimination. It is also impossible to opt out of a religious ethos.

In 2008 the UN recognised that a religious ethos is discrimination, breaches the right to freedom of conscience, the rights of the child and equality before the law.
They were referring to denominational schools when they said this. What they do not realise yet is that in this country it is impossible to get a secular education even in non-denominational state schools.
Feardorcha
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Feardorcha » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:00 pm

Very much obliged Marks, and welcome to the forum. I hope you will be contributing more on the subject, for, as you can see, I am thrashing about in ignorance.
My VEC is exactly as you have described. We have had to submit the opt-out letter and my daughter is obliged to sit in the room during the class. This has worked out okay so far as she can do her homework and her presence is a constant reminder to the rest of the class and the teacher that there is another view - something that is very threatening to the religous mind.
I will save your post in my growing file from which I hope to propose an AI policy on education.
Marks
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Marks » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:48 pm

Unfortunately sitting in the back of the religious instruction class does not secure you the right and duty to provide, for the religious and moral, and social education of your child (Article 42.1. Irish Constitution) - this Article includes the right not to hold any religion. Nothwithstanding the fact that I had opted my children out of this class they were still forced into religious ceremony. It was a constant battle for me to secure my Constitution right under Article 42.1. They are passively receiving religious instruction.
The reason for this is that the state provide no non discrimination exemptions guaranteed by law. Under the Education Act it is the responsibility of the Principal and the Board of Management to accommodate minority religions or the non religious. As a religious integrated curriculum (ethos) is not prejudicial to our rights the school do not have to provide non discriminatory exemptions. So when the class goes to the oratory my child must go with them. Sitting in the oratory with the rest of the class is according to our laws opting out and securing our Constitution rights under Article 42.1.

Of course in order to understand what is happening on the ground we must measure it against something. That something is international Human Rights Law. What protection does the UN or Council of Europe expect the state to provide to parents who opt out of religious instruction. At this stage it is quite obvious that the UN do not accept that the Irish State are protecting the right to a secular education.
Feardorcha
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Feardorcha » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:52 pm

That's an interesting route to explore - the UN and the Council of Europe. If we could find chapter and verse, there might be grounds for a complaint. I know that waiting for other parents - even the ones who claim to respect our rights - to support us is a waste of time. Things will only change when that change is forced upon this state.
In Primary School, from my personal experience, there is a constant traipsing up and down to the church and my kids go into another class. I presume I will have this battle shortly with the VEC.
Feardorcha
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Feardorcha » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:32 pm

The Humanist Association of Ireland website, under 'Submissions' has a very comprehensive statement on Education, VECs etc - well worth a read.
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Re: VECs want greater admin role in state schools

Post by Gadfly » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:44 pm

Feardorcha , I felt compelled to join up in order to comment on your plight with the VEC.

My own daughter pulled out of religion class while she was attending national school. She is now in her LC year and during the 2 hours of religion she can leave the class and get extra help with subjects she's struggling with. As mentioned before, your kids are being 'passively indoctrinated' by being simply in the religion class. I would insist that the school accommodate your children in their right not to listen in these particular classes.

I wish you well.

I'll post a bit about myself shortly.

Gadfly. :)
"I do not believe in any religion. I will have nothing to do with immortality. We are miserable enough in this life without speculating upon another." Lord Byron.
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