IUSA WEEK: May 20 – 24
SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL TRANSITIONS
Identifying Risk and Protective Factors and Practical Solutions
There was an excited buzz of conversation among the delegates and speakers at the reception that followed another engaging event in the IUSA Education Series at St Patricks College. The President of St Patricks College Daire Keogh welcomed the delegates to the august surroundings of Belvedere House. Our keynote speaker Dr Brenna Bry of Rutgers University described her work and approach to supporting children making the transition from primary to secondary school. The Principal of St Ronan’s National School in Clondalkin, Ainnle O’Neill, spoke passionately about the sometimes overwhelming and frightening experience for those children whose background and personality did not equip them with the skills to comfortably make the transition.
In response our panel and other contributors including Dr Maeve O’Brien and Dr Fionnuala Waldron Dean of Education of St Patricks College, and Majella O’Shea Director of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment led us on to consider the historic systemic discontinuities between primary and secondary and excellent work underway to address this, the importance of care and caring conversations between teachers and children, and what can by some children be seen as arbitrary and inconsistent rules.
Other significant contributions came from Dr Emer Smith, Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dr Ann Higgins from Mary Immaculate College, and Nuala Doherty Chair of the National Educational Welfare Board and Director of the Centre for Effective Services who effectively drew together the threads of a number of conversations by acknowledging that we need to focus both on system change and the importance of equipping children with the skills manage themselves and their feeling at these major transitions points in their lives. Declan Dunne Education Officer of the IUSA thanked the speakers and all those who contributed who are too many to mention. He thanked the President of St Patricks College for hosting the event and Angie Smith Deputy Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Katie Keogh of the US Embassy for their continuing support for the IUSA.