TCS - the early years

TCS - the early years - Page 6

This first year was a mixture of excitement and frustration with buildings, which were well beyond their usefulness and a community, which was not fully convinced that the school would succeed. It was somewhat disconcerting to hear a pupil in second year say, “My mother says that this school will never last". It was a matter of urgency to “sell “the school to ensure its success. There were 3 main areas of concern to us
1. To attract the whole ability range of pupils
2. To achieve an even ratio of girls to boys
3. To persuade as many pupils as possible to stay on to Leaving Cert and to go on to further education

We also realised that there would be a significant number of pupils with a variety of learning problems, and these would need a special level of care and attention if they were to have any level of success in the future. As well as the day to day running of the school which was a matter for the whole staff I was expected to establish a good working relationship with the Department, to have regular contact with the local Primary schools, to liase with local community groups to explain the philosophy of the school, to answer their questions, and, if needed, to defend the school. This last part of my work with the local representatives was demanding, at times exciting even if some of the meetings were “lively " when many of the earlier controversies were raised.

Through the commitment of the two Religious Orders we had a full counselling service from the beginning, we appointed the first Year Head, and these structures would form the kernel of the pastoral care system of the school for the future. The school also had the services of a fulltime Chaplain which was provided by the Dominican Order. This Order had a long history of service to Tallaght, and their presence in the school was a great vote of confidence in us. I would like to record that, in my opinion, Tallaght owes a great debt of gratitude to the Dominicans who through their work in the parishes, and their success in bringing the community together harnessed the energies of this " Pilgrim People "and with the residents confounded the prophets of doom who said that Tallaght would be a disaster.