Meitheal System: Helping the transition from Primary to Secondary School
Coláiste an Átha, Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford believes that students should receive high levels of support from teachers and parents at all stages of the transition from primary to secondary. The school also believes that students already in the school are well-positioned to assist their new colleagues in 1st year and, to this end, are highly supportive of the Meitheal system. The Meitheal system is a training programme for students at senior level in secondary schools. The students are trained to become mentors for incoming students at junior level. It is a programme based on pro-respect between students and enables students to take responsibility for the happiness of others and for the safety and well being of all who share a school environment.
The Co-ordinator of this system is Mr Kevin Ryan whose role is to oversee the following:
To publicise the Meitheal programme in April each year to those students who are eligible to act as Meitheal leaders in the following school year.
To arrange a visit in April from the regional co-ordinator of the Co. Wexford Meitheal Alliance to address 5th year students.
In April/May, to arrange an application and interview leading to the selection of leaders prior to the end of May each year.
To inform the Meitheal leaders initially about their training. Training is provided in consultation with the Co. Wexford Meitheal Alliance and takes place during the summer holidays.
To meet with incoming 1st year students during school visitation and introduce them informally to the Meitheal system
To organise the Meitheal leaders to meet with all incoming 1st years in late August in school to familiarise themselves with the school building
To allocate Meitheal leaders to groups of 1st year students at the annual Introduction Session for 1st year students and to provide 1st year students with an understanding of how the programme works at that time
To ensure that the Meitheal leaders are available to help the 1st year students in every way possible from the end of August to the end of March each year, in particular during the first term of the school year in finding their way around the school, in basic organisational matters and in listening to any difficulties that they might be experiencing.
To ensure that meetings between the Meitheal leaders and their 1st year groups take place in an orderly manner, with the prior knowledge of the teaching staff and at times causing minimal disruption to the school timetable,
To liaise with the teaching staff in relation to any relevant matters that might be brought to light by the Meitheal leaders
To make all arrangements for a Graduation Ceremony for outgoing Meitheal leaders at the end of March each year
To liaise with other schools with regard to the implementation of the Meitheal programme so as to share experience and best practice.
To record minutes of all meetings
To oversee the budget for Meitheal
To provide support to all the Meitheal leaders in their responsible role in the school
To organise two trips during the school year. The first normally takes place before Christmas and the second after Easter.
To organise collages/ PowerPoint presentations on an ongoing basis to promote the work and activities of the Meitheal leaders and their work with the 1st years.
To create and distribute a brochure to Parents on Open Night creating awareness about Meitheal.
To meet once a week with the Meitheal leaders to discuss any issues/ concerns that may arise.
Meitheal leaders wear an official badge of office, are formally recognised at an annual Awards Ceremony and are deemed to have a significant leadership role in the school.
The Meitheal Leaders for 2016 2017 are Kyle Nobbs, Ben Bunyan, Lucy Belotti, Emma Justice, Rebecca O’Leary, Megan Cahill and Megan O’Brien.