Topic

education

778 petitions

Update posted 8 hours ago

Petition to Richard Bruton, Simon Harris, Katherine.zappone@oireachtas.ie , Finian Mc Grath

We DEMAND our 'Special Needs School' before its too late

My name is Hayden Gregory. I have Down Syndrome and Uncontrollable Epilepsy which means I have severe seizures every day of my life since I was a baby which have caused me to have significant developmental delay.  I attend St.Mary's Special School Drumcar,Co.Louth,Ireland. Several years ago I inspired my Mammy to try and change Special Education in Ireland. My Mammy also wants to see children and adults with disabilities treated with respect and for the discrimination to stop .You see my friends and I at St.Mary's are a MINORITY in this country and because of that  'The Government of Ireland' forgot about us. New schools with Special needs units were been built in every town throughout Ireland, but these units were not for children like us who fall into the low moderate and severe and profound range. To ensure I got the Education,Equality and Social Inclusion in my own town of Drogheda we started out on this long, long journey to hopefully reach a successful outcome. After years of fighting and the help of some wonderful people the funding was eventually granted in 2015 for a new school. However, 2019-2021 is so far away for my friends and I to wait at St.Mary's. Some of my friends have sadly passed on and some are in pallative care.  A little about our current school: The Built Enviroment -The school building itself is simply no longer fit for purpose, the classrooms were never designed for children in the low moderate to severe and profound range.  Not one class has the correct toilet facilities which are paramount for a great many of our pupils.  As the school has grown with the needs of our pupils we have had to convert our school canteen into a classroom, not only did we eat here but it was one of the few occasions where we could socialise in a safe manner. - As a school we have no room at all for storage of standers, hoists, wheelchairs etc they are simply out of necessity moved around the school and are certainly tripping hazards to say the least.  We do not have a sensory room even though this has been recommended by every therapist who comes in to the school, there is no room for further development, also, existing toilets are all physically too small for my friends in wheelchairs or hoists to avail of them.   -Every pupil in St Mary's requires some form of multi disciplinary support. Each therapist (when available)should have their own room. Many times a therapist has had to meet parents in their own car outside the school, clearly this is totally unacceptable.   -There are huge concerns that the nature of the school would be leading to behavioural issues for children with ASD.  We do not have a tranquil area or time out space  or a playground that my friends and I must have.  We are the most VULNERABLE CHILDREN in Ireland whom , The Government of Ireland have NEGLECTED for centuries as we had no voice at all up until recently, but things are about to change for us. Hayden's Vision for children and adults with disabilities: -To develop a 'Centre of Excellance' and not just a school.  -We NEED and DESERVE a greenfield site which is large enough to accomodate a school and education centre for when we turn 18 years old . Instead the alternative is been split up from our friends and everything/way of life as we know.  -A respite centre with a sensory garden and a playground for us to enjoy in school and with our families on our days off school. -Leisure facilities which could also be used by the community, swimming pool , therapy pool,PE hall etc. -Multidisciplinary rooms on site as children currently have to sit in a car for therapy ! -To be part of a community, close to civilisation. INCLUSION & INTEGRATION into society ( not in the middle of nowhere which is currently where we are). Close to the hospital in Drogheda and accessible to the motorway ie. close to junction 10. The above has NEVER been done in   IRELAND before ,THE IRISH GOVERNMENT have an 'OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE SOMETHING               EXTRAORDINARY' THEY OWE it to MY FRIENDS AND I MINISTER BRUTON step into my shoes for one day and live my life or that of my friends and you wont have to think twice about saying YES to this request. Our file sits in your department. My Mammy spoke with Brian O'Connell last month and still there is no decision on a site even though sites have been looked at with Louth County Council. There are very large sites that are suitable and are currently on the open market and included in our report. E.g. 1- 39 acres at Kilineer, Drogheda,Co.Louth E.g. 2- 48 acres Slane Rd,Drogheda,Co.Louth€950,000. This site is a fraction of the price the department of education paid for much smaller sites in recent years. It would be a real shame to miss out on a wonderful greenfield site all because of BUREAUCRATIC red tape Minister Bruton. Quite simply we have been ignored, this MUST stop.  My friends and I at St.Mary's Special School need a new building and much sooner than the allocated timeframe, we are now at a crisis point.   I ask you Richard Bruton to treat this as a matter of URGENCY for my friends and I. I ask you The Public to support my friends and I  by signing and sharing our petition.  Please Help my Dream come through Hayden Gregory xx      

Sabrina Kierans
1,634 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Dr Jeremy Smith

UWTSD Lampeter Campus : Don't let us become Guinea pigs once again

The University of Wales Trinity St David's Lampeter Campus wants to implement a new style of teaching on their students and lecturers, this style of teaching is known as block teaching and to but it politely is complete absurd. Block teaching has been described as modernising the style of teaching when in fact its penalising those who are unable to attend university without working a part time job and even more so the mass amount of students (like myself) who chose this campus and university in general for its small lectures and one to ones with lecturers. Not to mention a meeting was called this evening (October 10th) where students could voice their opinions, however  no one really knew about this so called meeting therefore only  4 students actually attended; one second year and 3 first years, of which Jeremy had managed to brainwash them into thinking this idea of block teaching was the best thing since sliced bread. In an email sent on to all students on Monday the 2nd of October 2017 included an letter which briefly explains what this new style of teaching would do to our courses and when it would put into place ( the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year ) The letter within the email states ' your programme, like all UG programmes on the Lampeter campus, will run in a series of blocks. These blocks are 5 weeks long with 4 weeks of teaching. Each module will meet four days per week for 3 hours per day (so normally 48 hours of contact per week ) to break this down the newly introduced blocking will be 3 to 4-hour lectures, 4 days a week (Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri) for 4 weeks and then 1 week to complete essays/assignments still amounting to the amount of words that would be spread across a semester, in one week this could start from as little 2000 words but on average will more than likely be at least 4000 words.It is also only one module per block, one solid lecture so there is no variety. These lectures would take place between 9:30-12:30/1:30 so afternoons would be ‘free’ to work in group projects. group projects are now a thing that you will have to do unless student services state otherwise, basically saying a big F-you to any students who attend this university who have social anxiety of which I can assure you there is plenty.Levels would be split into blocks, level 4 (first years) in block 1 and levels 5 and 6 in block two. Levels 5 and 6  will share the same lectures at the same time but will do different essay questions of different levels/strengths, which makes no sense how can there be different strength questions for the exact same module? when a fellow student questioned Jeremy Smith (Dean for the Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts) on how this new style of teaching would affect his staff  he replied with, “you seem to think lecturers are under a lot of stress” this really  shows how out of  touch Jeremy really is with his staff as he unable to see the rapid change that can happen to lecturers throughout the academic year. Jeremy Smith also stated  ‘many lecturers are okay with this change but some are still upset about but will soon change when the system comes in place’ which is like saying ah yes many of the people who put their heart and soul into educating the future of our society and who spend hours each week with their students are convinced this is a bad idea thus being openly against these changes implies that this ' innovative and modern' change is not a bright idea.Not only are many lecturers against this change many of the student services workers are too and if student services who work in a university campus where around  40% of the students have learning difficulties say its bad it’s obviously not a good idea.  When the second year who attended the previously stated meeting  tried to explain to Jeremy Smith that many people much like myself will find that learning only one lecture for 4 weeks to be too difficult and in the end would really mess with our heads, he replied with ‘I think it will be better and there is evidence that it works’ Lampeter is not like other university’s we do not work the same way, we are small, many of us have learning difficulties and mental health issues this will negatively affect us greatly! Which again to proves how out of touch he is with his students and their needs! when the second year student questioned Jeremy Smith on whether this new teaching style was reduce the lecturers availability to discuss essays, dissertations and general course worries Dr Smith simply stated ‘the more and longer lectures have increased contact time ’ and while it sounds great in theory its a bit more than flawed as some students like myself feel uncomfortable discussing certain things in front of large classes (which will be even larger if this block teaching system comes into place) not to mention it will be overworking the lecturers more than they already are with the current system.  Dr Jeremy Smiths best and most relevant ‘evidence’ of a blocking system working is within Carmarthen campus where they use blocking system for the performing arts students, which has a completely different teaching style and is more of a physical aspect than what most courses at Lampeter do, making this argument practically irrelevant! The only time it could possibly work at Lampeter is Archaeology excavation module, that’s it. To back to my previous statement that this new blocking system would mess up those who can only afford university even in the small town of Lampeter by working Dr Jeremy Smith offered the ever so considerate reply of  'his focus is on the academic, not whether or not Tesco's can move hours for them' ( which is a horrible answer since the closest supermarkets to us is the Co-op and Salisbury's  to but it abruptly He simply didn’t want to listen to the students arguments and kept talking over them, which in all honestly is just disrespectful. not to mention that when they were talking to new possible students in the previous academic year, one of their highlighted points was that this university was small and allowed more freedom and fluidity when choosing courses and modules. They also stated that there would be smaller classes which equals more one on one time with students. They can't just go back on what they promised hundreds of possible students when trying to make this university appealing to them.  To sum up this argument, the students who finished College/Sixth form in 2017 were guinea pigs for the new A-Levels and that effect was seen throughout the grades, and I like many other first year students refuse to be another specimen for the educational system to test things on, as will the students who arrive next year and the people in the years ahead. I urge people to sign this petition as its unfair and cruel on not only the students but also the lectures. We're not paying £9,250 a year to become a play toy for the university.  I'd like to thank the second year student Jess for sharing her notes on the meeting as it seems no one else had any idea that this meeting was even taking place!

Hollie Mcdonald
651 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Jennifer Ryan, Katie Mills, enquiries@thecvhs.co.uk

Stop the sale of Colne Valley’s Peter Brook Centre (the Cottage) in North Wales

Decision makers at Colne Valley High School are attempting to sell the much loved Peter Brook Centre in North Wales, also known as the “school cottage.” The PBC is a Field Studies Centre in North Wales held in trust for the school and young people of the broader Colne Valley. Many of the current pupils and their parents are not even aware that Colne Valley High School has access to this valuable and unique resource due to shameful neglect over recent years. Friends of the PBC are strongly against this disgraceful action and are fighting for it to be reinstated to its original purpose. To sell this cottage is to directly and consciously deprive young people of the community of their heritage and wider educational experience. It will deprive pupils from lower income families of a valuable low cost recreational asset. Help us retain this legacy for current and future generations. *************** Use of the PBC by CVHS pupils declined from 2001; this coupled with neglect and failure by the Trustees to maintain the facility led to the Centre being closed in 2015 on Health & Safety grounds.  Nothing has been done by the Trust since the closure to address the Health & Safety issues and they have recently stated it is their intention to sell. This denies even the few local youth groups who were aware of this incredible asset the ability to use it. The Peter Brook Centre was purchased in 1974 through the fundraising efforts of pupils, staff and the people of the Colne Valley to commemorate a member of staff who was tragically killed in a climbing accident. It can accommodate 15 people and additional staff and is located close to Snowdonia National Park. It was extended and improved in 1983 by the addition of a classroom named after Ian Roberts, another member of staff who died climbing in the Dolomites. For a regular comprehensive school in the state sector to have such a facility is rare and something in which to take pride. For more than 30 years trips ran regularly allowing all pupils the opportunity to visit. There were subject-specific field trips and it was also used by Duke of Edinburgh award participants. The cooperation and goodwill of staff enabled thousands of Colne Valley pupils to experience a residential visit, and because the Centre is owned in Trust on behalf of the school and young people of the Colne Valley, costs are minimal allowing EVERYONE the opportunity to benefit, not just those from higher-income families. There are pockets of significant social deprivation in the Colne Valley area with some postcodes being amongst the 10% most deprived in the whole of England and Wales based on government data. People here have limited disposable income to pay for the kind of residential trip run by commercial providers that many schools use. Accommodation costs for a directly owned centre can be as low as £15 per learner per day making this a much more affordable option for many families. The PBC once provided the opportunity for affordable school trips – and could do so again. To sell this cottage is to directly and consciously deprive pupils from lower income families of a valuable part of their education. It further directly contradicts the spirit in which the PBC was founded. *************** Friends of the Peter Brook Centre is an organisation of enthusiastic volunteers with a range of skills, talents and experience who wish to assist CVHS in retaining, reinstating and maintaining this asset; bring the Centre back into full use; enhance and continue the facilities for the education and recreation of the people of the Colne Valley. For further information on the aims and activity of this group please see The Friends of the Peter Brook Centre on Facebook. Please help us ensure that future generations are not denied their legacy.  Please sign our petition and support our call for change: Stop the sale of Colne Valley’s Peter Brook Centre in North Wales Demand the current Trustees of the Peter Brook Centre engage in bringing the centre back into use Insist that additional Trustees be appointed to ensure a positive and sustainable future for the legacy they have been entrusted    

Friends of the Peter Brook Centre
1,523 supporters