Some 55 principals and deputy principals from primary and secondary schools all over South Tipperary came together at an Information and Consultation Session on Wednesday, January 16, in Clonmel Park Hotel under the auspices of South Tipperary Children’s Services Committee.
The principals were there to identify the main issues for children and young people that presented in the school setting, and to bring these to the attention of the Children’s Services Committee. It was also an opportunity to learn about the role of the Children’s Services Committee and to hear about and to meet with the agencies providing support services to children, young people and their families.
Representatives from the HSE Social Work service; Health Promotion; National Education Psychology Service; National Education Welfare Board; Barnardos; and National Council for Special Education also attended. Information on services from HSE Substance Misuse, School Completion and Home School Community Liaison was also available.
South Tipperary Children’s Services Committee has been set up under the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to promote improved inter-agency planning and cooperation at local level to ensure better outcomes for children. Composed of representation from all service sectors with a remit for children and young people and from the community and voluntary sectors, the committee has been putting together a profile of the needs and priority issues for children and young people in the county. It is currently drawing up a Work Plan of inter-agency actions to be implemented over the next three years.
The Information and Consultation Session identified a number of main issues which face children and young people in South Tipperary. These included peer pressure and bullying; parenting deficits and instability in the home; the adverse impact of social media; Mental Health and Self-Esteem issues; economic insecurity in the current economic climate; and lack of access to support services. A number of recommendations to address the issues were also made. The need to find ways to successfully engage with parents to help and support them in the care of their families was highlighted. It was also recommended that children and young people could be helped with developing their resilience and with learning the life skills to negotiate the challenges that they face. Awareness around social media and guidelines for parents; increased networking between schools and support services; and availability of guidance and counselling support were also mentioned.