Danu is the most ancient of the Celtic gods. She was referred to as the mother of the Irish gods, which indicates that she was a mother goddess. Rivers are associated with her, and represent the fertility and abundance in the land. There is a suggestion that Danu might have had dual characteristics, one being the beneficent, nurturing mother goddess, and another being the strong, malevolent side of the warrior goddess. The root “dan” in ancient Irish means art, skill, poetry, knowledge, and wisdom. She is seen as being a nurturing goddess, the teacher imparting wisdom, as well as the warrior goddess who does not give up.
Our Patron is Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board. (DDLETB). In its Statement of Strategy, 2017 – 2021. “Learn Achieve Succeed” the Board outlines five core values underpinning its statement:
The report further sets high level objectives under four strategic goals:
- High quality and training programmes
- High quality experience for learners
- Organisational and staff development
- Effective communication and collaboration
These values and goals will guide DCSS in its remit to provide real, realistic and relevant educational programmes to meet the needs of its pupils.
DCSS is a community based special school that provides an appropriate education for students aged between four to eighteen year old with a wide range of disabilities and complex needs in the Dublin 15 area. In their remit, DDLETB, and its management and staff put the learner at the heart of everything they do. They will continuously strive to ensure that their work will be characterised by the operational values of equality, collaboration, professionalism and integrity.
Forging meaningful relationships with the pupils, their parents and all involved in their care and education is essential to ensure high quality education and experience for our learners. Effective communication, meaningful collaboration, openness and transparency are critical in this regard.
Our school is a community school, a comfort zone, where everyone feels a sense of belonging, shares meaningfully, participates actively and is accepted for what he/she is. That sense of community is continually fostered by generating warm welcome, communal celebration and personal freedom, ever mindful of the dignity and respect accorded to our common humanity, and giving choice and space to its learners in an inclusive, safe, learning environment.
In our school we want everybody – learners, carers, parents and teachers – to gain in confidence and self-esteem, through helping each other to reach their full potential, enjoying each other’s successes, and allowing all to express themselves and feel heard. Students that are happy and content, supported by staff, and safe in the familiarity of their environs will blossom to reach their full potential and function in the community.
Their parents are central to all that we do. They are our students’ first educators and so must be involved in all major decisions pertaining to their care and education. From the very initial meeting it is our objective to build a relationship of trust with parents, by listening and respecting their views, eliciting their necessary support in implementing our teaching programmes, and gaining their assistance in our task to educate their children. Our school is a support system for our parents, and we will be active listeners, acknowledging concerns and worries, welcoming suggestions, developing a team approach and working together. We endeavour to work closely with parents and make them always feel at ease.
DCSS is fortunate, mainly through its parents and stakeholders, to have in a very short space of time forged excellent relationships with the Patron, Management, Staff, Professional and Supportive Organisations, Clinical and Supportive Staff, and Government Agencies and Departments. This is an enormous tribute to the small but energetic group of stakeholders who have resolutely pursued in a sustained and unified way their dream for a much needed special school for Dublin 15. It is essential that this group remain together not only to guide the beginnings of this exciting endeavour, but also to influence its direction and operations. DCSS values the importance of the connections made by this grouping and now more than ever wants its help in ensuring that together we move forward together with a common purpose rooted in what is only best – not second best – for our pupils. DCSS will continue to build on the relationships that the stakeholders have formed. DCSS will continue to be dependent on this grouping and the different agencies they represent. In thanking you, DCSS requests that you continue to assist us and give us your much appreciated direction as we head into the future.
Let us as we move forward together promise to do our best, always striving to be professional, keeping the children at the centre of all we plan and do. Let us acknowledge that we all have much to learn and that we will help each other in our individual and collective journeys as we move forward to a promising future. This is the beginning of a unique journey. Let us hold hands and move forward urgently and yet gently, being professional and also compassionate, sensitive and kind at all times. Let us mind each other as we work as a part of a team, fortunate in the leadership that the Patron, Management and Principal provide, and help them by ensuring that our dealings with them will be open, trusting, caring and honest at all times. We need as we move forward to look out for each other, be understanding, non-judgemental and have the ability to say “I am sorry” when, inevitably we will at times make some mistakes.
Most important of all, let us pledge to give each other hope as we embrace the challenges in the realisation that we now are no longer on our own.