“Early in our Ireland journey, we connected with Paul Crone, Director of NAPD who supports the professional needs of second-level school leaders in Ireland. Paul invited us to attend their annual NAPD Conference.
The experience really was a highlight for the foundation and a great precursor to our launch later in October as we celebrated the funding of our first placement of a dedicated Wellbeing Lead at Mount St Michael Claremorris, our first in Ireland.
It was incredibly valuable to hear directly from the Principals and Deputy Principals across Ireland and more importantly to have those vital discussions with education partners in Ireland.
During the conference, we had many positive and useful discussions, with a lot of leaders discussing the challenges around wellbeing within the Irish education sector. Many were incredibly passionate about the wellbeing of their senior cycle students but also identified a gap within their current wellbeing provision, particularly post-COVID. They described many of the external agencies they rely on to be at capacity, with huge waiting lists, so believed the placement of a Wellbeing Lead to be an invaluable resource for delivering a significant positive impact on their students.
Many leaders identified that as a school, they play a significant role in nurturing the wellbeing of their students, and share our vision that wellbeing is essential for creating a positive learning environment for personal and academic growth. When students feel heard and supported, they are more likely to achieve their full potential and improve their chances in life. They also highlighted the importance of early intervention and guidance to support the wellbeing of young people before their situation worsens.
The event gave us a platform to talk face-to-face with school leaders and gain a real understanding of the challenges faced within the Irish education sector.
It was also a wonderful opportunity for us to share our plans on how our wellbeing support can really help their senior cycle students. It was refreshing to hear so many leaders agree that young people deserve every opportunity to achieve their dreams – beyond school, that vital, dedicated wellbeing support could often be the difference between success and failure for some.”
As the Director of NAPD, Paul Crone highlights the importance of student wellbeing when it comes to the future success of young people – in their personal lives and also academically. He emphasises that schools and all other educational establishments truly want to support their students to thrive, but there is currently a lack of funding – which is where mdeducational foundation’s practical initiative becomes crucial:
“Students that are happy and content in school perform better. Schools endeavour to support all of their students in an academic and holistic manner. All students need a welcoming environment, some require support in a more focused way, and others need more intensive support. mdeducational foundation’s initiative delivers specific resources that help schools support students with additional support. After piloting their initiative in the UK, they’ve just launched in their first school in Ireland, and I’m excited for them to roll this out to other schools across the country.”