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An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar visits Hansfield ETSS and Launches Mural



On Friday the 1st of February 2019, Hansfield ETSS had the pleasure of a visit from An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, where he attended a whole-school assembly and students shared their ideas, and examples of their poetry, art and music.

Nicholas Sweetman, Chairperson of the Board of Management, formally welcomed the Taoiseach and seized the opportunity to raise the important issue of pay parity for new teachers and urged him to improve funding for voluntary secondary schools and education in general. Student Council representative Pearl Umama-Agada, in a well scripted address to An Taoiseach and the whole-school assembly, highlighted the multi-cultural community of Hansfield ETSS and key local issues such as public transport routes and community sports facilities. In support of students who, despite challenging family circumstances attend school each day, Pearl emphasised the need for funding to enable the school better support some students. 

In his response, An Taoiseach thanked the school for the very warm welcome he received. He commended Pearl, the student representative, on her speech and acknowledged that she raised very valid points. He expressed pride in the fact that the first Educate Together Secondary School in Ireland had been established in the community in which he grew up, near to his childhood home in Roselawn – “it has been a huge achievement and is a really good model”.

An Taoiseach and the assembly were then treated to a recitation of a poem - ‘The Story of Every Emigrant’ - by transition year student Shurooq Azam which was a touching articulation of the experience and sentiment of a newcomer to a strange country.

Afterwards, An Taoiseach met some staff briefly before visiting An Cosán which hosts two ASD classes – Carrauntoohil and Slievenamon. Here, he officially launched a beautiful landscape mural which was the outcome of a collaborative art project between students with special needs and Transition Year students during which they co-designed and painted a colourful and energetic mural. Facilitated by Art Teacher Elaine Stephens, the initiative is a great example of reverse integration and its success lies in the fact that students made real connections while completing this work. 

As the Taoiseach toured the school, he met more staff and students and viewed some interesting student displays that represent work under the theme-based, integrated learning initiative, and the intercultural community at Hansfield ETSS.

To end the visit, An Taoiseach was treated to some music by talented students - Matthew Healy played an improvised jazz piece on guitar and Markuss Toms Rusmaniss on piano played Mozart’s ‘Turkish March’. An apt ending as Hansfield ETSS seeks to create a relaxed environment where students’ potential and creativity are nurtured and staff aspire to excellence in teaching and learning.

Refelcting on the day, Assistant Principal of Hansfield ETSS, Leanne Moore says "It was an honour and pleasure to host An Taoiseach and it was an excellent opportunity to showcase our diverse, inclusive and innovative school. The visit was a great success and we hope An Taoiseach will return to see us again as we create, evolve and achieve."





Address: Educate Together, Equity House, 16/17 Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin 7, Ireland - Charity Number: CHY 11816