St. Declan’s School was founded in 1958 by the Irish Jesuits for children who, for personal or emotional reasons, achieve below their potential in their local schools. We strive to create a supportive environment for the boys and girls in our care.
The visionary aims of the original mission statement of the St. Declan’s Association, constituted in 1959, are still relevant today. These aims included:
- helping children overcome their particular difficulties as quickly as possible so as to enable a speedy return to mainstream schools
- teaching children at various levels within the same classroom, according to their individual abilities and needs
- providing children with additional individual help where necessary
In St. Declan’s a common spirit lies behind teaching and learning in the life of the school. This common spirit or ‘ethos’ described here is for the whole school community – the board of management, the teachers, the secretary, the children and their parents.
Three qualities of this common spirit to which the St. Declan’s community aspires are:
~ Head Developing competence in communication and social skills, learning to deal with situations in a calm and respectful manner. We learn to use our head and think of better ways to deal with others.
~ Heart A formed conscience that knows what is good and true and moves us to act in accordance to the rights of others. We work with the children to become large-hearted, being able to forgive and let things go; to try and be whole-hearted, doing our best with the talents we have and to speak from the heart avoiding be ruled by passion or anger
~ Hand Generous hands that put our talents and gifts at the service of others. Compassionate hands that tend to those who, in their need, have the greatest claim on us.
Children and teachers are regularly involved in projects that express this characteristic spirit
The characteristic spirit through which we try to relate has 5 key principles which is called the St. Declan’s Code. These are:
Being Respectful: using nice manners, being kind and caring, working quietly, using appropriate language, following teachers directions, being helpful, listening, waiting your turn to speak…
Being Responsible: taking care of property, doing homework, arriving on time, having the things you need, following class and school rules, making appropriate judgements about what should be at school, eating a healthy and nutritious lunch, putting litter in the bin…
Being Safe: acting in a considerate, safe manner, playing safely, being careful not to be rough or harm others in any way….
Being Honest: telling the truth even when it’s tough, ‘owning up’ when you’re in the wrong. Telling when you see someone being hurt deliberately..
Being the Best you can be: Having a positive attitude, always trying to do your best – even when it’s not your favourite thing to do.
Each class learns about the St. Declan’s Code and creates their own age-appropriate Classroom Charter which helps the children take ownership of the code. More recently (2014) a student council has been set up with the support of Special Needs Assistants which gives the children more responsibility in the life of the school.