There had been changes in curriculum, in the number of students and organisational structure of the Holy Faith Secondary school of Clontarf since its inception in 1890. From 1920s to 1930s the school began providing more formal type of education including Irish, French, Science, Art and Geography as teaching subjects. From 1970s the school had involved in providing sporting activities such as athletics, badminton, hockey, comogie, Gaelic football; and Drama [1, 2].
The introduction of free education for all Irish citizens during the 1960s was the biggest turning point in the history of the Irish education. As the result of this crucial policy change the number of girls coming to the school increased. Particularly, the number of girls seating the leaving certificate exam had significantly increased as the result. However, The most important step forward in the growth of girls’ secondary education was the introduction of the Intermediate Education Act in 1878 which provided an opportunity to girls to study academic courses and to take the same state examination as boys. This act was the result of compromise measures between the church and state and provided an opportunity for girls to prove their equal intelectual ability.
The growing demand for post primary education has been accelerated by the introduction in 1967 of free education and transport for post primary pupils. The number of pupils in post- primary schools increased from about 149,000 in 1966 to 184, 500 in 1968.
Up until1960s about 100 students started school in the first year, and only about 15 of them completed secondary school. Currently nearly 98 to 99% of the girls complete education in the school, while about 1 to 2% of them may change school with a total of almost 100% completion of students who started their first year in the school. After 1960s the class room size was increased to about 40 to 50, while it was only about 20 to 25 during the early times [1, 2].
Figure 1. Number of pupil enrolled in Holy Faith secondary school in the years between 1962/63 and 2013/2014 .
The introduction of free education by the state also led to significant increase in the number of teachers recruited in the school during 1970s. There was over 50 % increase in the number of teachers in 5 years .
The number of teachers in secondary and vocational schools has been increasing by about 400 per year. The increase in 1968/69 is about 800.
The introduction of the board of management in 1985 by the ex principal of the school, Dr. Una Collins was the biggest change in school organizational structure. The board of management consisted of 8 member: 2 teacher elects, 2 parent elects, 4 appointed by trustees. The principal of the school is the secretary of the board of management [1, 2]. The school was proactive, and looked ahead for the need to make changes in school organizational structure based on the underlining socio-cultural changes of the school community. Hence, the school became the first Holy Faith School to have a board of management of 8 members. This was followed by the introduction of first lay principal in 1987 due to the decline in the number of religious vocations [1, 2]. As the result, Bertha Mccullagh became the first lay principal of the school. The introduction of lay principal also led to the increase in the number of lay teachers working in the school .
According to the statistics provided by the department of education in December 1965,the number of lay women teachers in 11 Holy Faith secondary schools paid by the department as full-time teachers was 51 constituting 47.2 % of the total number of teachers . It has been indicated that in addition to curriculum and facilities corresponding with higher fees, lay teacher employment expanded in catholic secondary schools which cater to upper socio-economic class .
The other significant change resulted in the school system was the introduction of the 1998 Education Act. As the result of this act the role of church, parents, and students in the school was changed. The department of education funded the school while the trustees owned the school land and building. The fact that funding is obtained from the department of education the role of trustees is significantly minimised. However, the Congregation still owns the school land and building, and therefore four members of the board of managementof the school are appointed by trustees and managed to sustain the core ethos of catholic principles in the school management . The Education Act of 1998 sets out the functions and responsibilities of all key partners in the schooling system. It seeks the establishment of Boards of Management for all schools; requires schools to engage in the preparation of school plans and promotion of parent associations. Accountability procedures are laid down and attention is paid to the rights of parents and pupils in the act. The Act sets out statutory provision for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and roles of regional Education Centres .
- Interview with the principal of Holy faith secondary school Clontarf, Deirdre Gogarty on2nd of October 2015 at Holy faith secondary school Clontarf.
- Interview with the member of Holy Haith sister Eunan Gallegher on 6th of October 2015 at Holy faith secondary school Clontarf.
- Deirdre Raftery , Judith Harford & Susan M. Parkes (2010) Mapping the terrain of female education in Ireland, 1830–1910, Gender and Education, 22:5, 565-578, DOI: 10.1080/09540250903446895
- Hyland Aine & Milne Kenneth, Irish educational document volume II, Dublin: Church of Ireland College of Education, 1992, p.42-43
- http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/Data-on-Individual-Schools/, Retrieved on 3rd of October 2015.
- Duffy S Patrick, The Lay Teacher, Dublin: cJFallon Limited, 1967, p. 63
- Ibid, p.70-71
- https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/A-Brief-Description-of-the-Irish-Education-System.pdf, Retrieved on 9th of October 2015.