‘Shock, confusion’ at classroom reshuffles

by Rebecca Ryan

Students and parents at a Goatstown school are said to be “shocked” and “confused” over the decision to reshuffle the student’s classes in the middle of the year.

A student from Jesus and Mary College Our Lady’s Grove in Goatstown, who did not wish to be named, believes the change would have a “hugely detrimental effect” on the students’ learning and upcoming exams.

“Myself and my classmates have been notified via letter that, due to uneven numbers, faculty have decided that we are to be completely re-sorted.

“As it stands, our class is divided into two groups, 2A and 2B, with 2A having 27 students and 2B having a population of 22 students.

“As you can imagine, this shuffle of classes has caused quite a stir within both class groups, for what we, the students and a variety of angered parents, believe that it is unnecessary for such a small difference.

“It would be in the students’ best interests to stay as they are until the proprietary switch that comes with Transition Year,” said the student.

She highlighted that some students have volunteered to switch classes to even out the numbers, but she said the principal has “denied this request, without any explanation”.

Her mother, who also wishes to remain anonymous, told Dublin Gazette the proposed change is a “huge stress” for her daughter and suspects the school has ulterior motives for the reshuffle.

“I don’t understand why they have to be so ridiculous and why they are not giving the children any rights in this.

“I think they should be more honest, they’re meant to be a catholic school. If the reasons for this move were just about the numbers, they would allow the four children who said they’d move to move.

“The school seem intent on doing a bigger sort. They’re doing house exams in February and they’re using the results of those [to move the children].

“It seems like the school is disavowing this elitism when at the same time to make efforts to even it out.

“A lot of pupils have told me they have concerns that the school is doing the most to increase its grades, and of course everybody wants that, but it’s about being honest about that.

“The girls feel they shouldn’t be interrupted in the middle because it means changing teachers for them in some subjects. Children are under enough pressure, schools should not be adding to it.”

Her father also said that he feels it is “inappropriate” to make “such a drastic change” without consulting the parents.

He added: “I believe it will negatively affect my daughter and her classmates, both socially and academically.

“We are worried about her being separated from [her] friends, moving classes and having new teachers in the middle of the year. We hope the school will reconsider this decision.”

In response to the concerns, Principal and Secretary Board of Management Colm Dooley told Dublin Gazette:

“The Board of Management makes decisions in relation to the operation of the school in accordance with the Statutory Rules and Regulations of the Department of Education and as set down in the Articles of Management for Catholic Secondary Schools.

“The Education Act 1998 sets out the requirements for the Board of Management to be accountable for the efficient use of resources provided by the Department of Education.

“The Board of Management through its internal decision making and policies is satisfied that it has met the above requirements and will not be making a public commentary on a matter which is internal to the school community.”

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