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Welcome to Compass Parents

The National Association of Compass is a Constituent body of the National Parents Council (Post Primary) representing all parents who choose to educate their children in schools or colleges which promote a Protestant or a minority ethos.

There are 27 such affiliated schools in the Republic of Ireland. Most schools have elected parent representatives on their Boards of Management.

Compass Parents

If you have any questions or would like any further information about COMPASS, then please feel free to contact 

Compass Parents Committee

President               Patrick Empey (Kilkenny College)   

Deputy President  Paul Rolston  (Kings Hospital school)

Hon.Sec.                Julie Carr (Dundalk GS)

Hon. Treasurer      Nigel Bannister (Wilson's Hospital School)   

P.R.O.                     Shane Bennett  (Dundalk GS)

Mary Lillis (Wilson's Hospital School)  

Geraldine Neill (St Patricks School)

Nita Misra (Wesley College)

Claire Cox (Dundalk GS)  

 Alan Mulligan ()

History of Compass

In the early 1980s Gemma Hussey, the then Minister for Education created the National Parents Council (Post Primary). The purpose of this council was to be a conduit between parents and the Department of Education and Science. There were several constituent bodies, representing all the types of schools in the Secondary Level. The schools, which had been founded by Protestant Boards of Governors (although now inter-denominational), were in the body known as N.P.S.S.P.A.-National Protestant Secondary Parents Association. In 1999 this name was changed to Compass – Co-operation of Minority Religions and Protestant Parents Associations (post primary).

Ms Hussey’s plan was that all Second level schools would have a Parent/Teacher Association or a Parent Association. One or Two parents from the association in each school would represent their constituent body, and if voted onto the committee of that body report back to the parents in all their schools. Compass Committee is the conduit for Compass schools to the National Parents Council (post primary) and thence to the Department of Education and Science.

In the 1980s N.P.S.S.P.A. met once a term. Although the D.E.S. involved parents with many discussion papers then, the recognition of parents as the Primary educators has become stronger, and now in the 2000s the Compass committee needs to meet more often, usually every month. 4 Compass committee members are on the Board of the National Parents Council and they are often required to represent the parents on other committees i.e. the N.C.C.A. (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment), N.E.P.S. (the National Educational Psychological Service )H.E.A. (Higher Education Authority ) to name a few. We are asked to represent parents at meetings with the J.M.B.(Joint Managerial Body ),I.S.A. (Irish Head Teachers Association ),The Child Welfare Association, The Child Health Development Association, again to name a few.

In the Twenty First Century Compass is very strong in its role of representing the parents of our schools, through the N.P.C.p.p. to the D.E.S. The role of the parent as the prime partner in Education is now recognised without question.

 Compass Parents' Constitution

1. Name:

The name of the Association shall be the National Association of Compass - Co-operation of Minority Religion and Protestant Parent Associations (Post Primary).

2. Objectives:

The objectives of the Association shall be: -

2.1 To provide a national forum for all Parents/Guardians, Parents Associations and Parent members of Parent/Teacher Associations in Protestant or Minority Religion Secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland.

2.2 To elect Protestant and Minority Religion delegates onto the National Parents Council post primary Ltd (NPCpp).

2.3 To represent the parents and guardians of children attending Protestant and Minority Religion post primary schools on any National Parents Organisations concerned with education.

2.4 To consult with the Protestant churches involved in Education, with the Jewish Community Leaders, and other Minority Religious Group Leaders who make themselves known.

2.5 To elect delegates to represent Compass in discussions or negotiations with any other National bodies.

  1. 3.              Membership:

3.1          All parents/guardians, past and present, of students attending Compass schools shall be members of the Association.

3.2         Each school shall have a minimum of one, or a maximum of two Compass Liaison Members.

3.3         Their Parents Association/Parent Teacher Association shall elect these Liaison Members in the first term of each school year, and their names notified to the Hon. Secretary by the 15th December each year.

4. General Meeting:

The Parents/Guardians from each school shall be invited to attend all interactive meetings, in addition to the Annual General Meeting.

5. Annual General Meeting:

The A.G.M. of the Association shall be held before the 31st of May each year, 14 days written notice of the meeting shall be given to all member schools.

6. Extraordinary General Meeting:

An E.G.M. may be called by the Executive Committee, or by 6 fully paid up schools, by giving 14 days written notice to all member schools. 

7. Election of National Executive Committee:

7.1          The A.G.M. will elect an Executive Committee each year.

7.2          The Officers and members of the Compass Executive Committee shall be:

(i)    President                    (the President will chair all meetings of the Executive).

(ii)   Deputy President        (The outgoing President to be ratified at the AGM).

(iii)  Vice President            (The President elect).

(iv)  Hon Secretary

(v)   Hon Treasurer

(vi)  Public Relations Officer

7.3          In addition five ordinary members shall be elected, at least one of whom but preferably two or more will be parents/guardians of boarder pupils, and at least one but preferably two or more will be parents/guardians of day pupils.

7.4          The President shall serve for a maximum of 3 consecutive years.

7.5           The Vice-President will be elected from the Executive Committee at a meeting following the A.G.M.

7.6          At least three members of the Executive must represent a school located outside the greater Dublin area, and at least three members represent a school located inside the greater Dublin area.

7.7          An Assistant Secretary and an Assistant Treasurer may be elected from the ordinary members of the Executive.

7.8          As our role is that of representing members of the Protestant tradition and members of Minority Religions, the President and the Honorary Secretary and at least 4 other parents on the National Executive, must be members of a Protestant denomination or Minority religion.

7.9          Should two or more persons be proposed for an officer position, or more than 5 Ordinary members be proposed, then election shall be by ballot.

7.10        The members of the Executive Committee may offer themselves for re-election each year and shall not hold office for more than 6 consecutive years, in the event that we do not have eleven members going forward for election to the Executive at the AGM, members may serve a further year.

7.11        The Executive will have the power to invite persons with expertise in relevant areas to serve on the Executive as

ex-oficio in an advisory, non-voting capacity

8. Subscriptions:

8.1          A subscription will be payable by all Parents Associations or Parent/Teacher Association represented by Compass. Where schools are jointly represented by Compass and the Parents Association of Comprehensive Colleges (PACCs) they may affiliate to both Associations.

8.2 The amount of the subscription for each calendar year will be set at the A.G.M. for the following year, and will be payable before the end of February each year.

9. Motions for the Annual General Meeting:

9.1      The Agenda for the A.G.M. will be issued with the Notice of the Meeting.

9.2      Notice of a motion for discussion at the A.G.M. should be submitted to the Honorary Secretary no less than 21 days prior to the date of the A.G.M.

9.3      A 2/3rd majority will be required for any motion to be carried.

10. Annual report

The President and the Hon Secretary will report to the A.G.M.

11. Accounts/Auditor:

11.1      The Hon Treasurer will present a certified copy of the annual accounts at the AGM.

11.2      A qualified Accountant must have audited the Accounts presented at the A.G.M.

12. Executive Committee Meetings:

The Executive Committee of the Association shall meet at least once in a school term. Further meetings of the Executive Committee may be held as the Executive Committee deems necessary, or at the request of any 3 members of the Executive Committee. Seven clear days notice shall be given to each member of the Executive Committee.

13. Quorum for Executive Committee Meetings:

The quorum shall be 5 for a meeting of the Executive Committee. Resolutions shall be approved by a simple majority and, in the event of a tie; the President shall have a casting vote.

14. Quorum for Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings:

There must be a minimum of 9 members representing a minimum of 6 Compass schools present.

16. Delegates to the National Parents Council post primary:

16.1 The delegates to the National Parents Council (NPCpp) shall be elected each year at the A.G.M. from the members of the Association and co-opted delegates, and must be members of a Protestant or Minority Religion.

16.2 The delegates elected at the A.G.M. to the National Parents Council (NPCpp) shall be ex-officio members of the Executive Committee.

16.3 Proxies to NPC(pp) may be other than Protestant or minority religions if required, but must be members of the Executive.

17. Account:

17.1 A Bank Account shall be kept in the name of Compass under the supervision of the Honorary Treasurer.

17.2 Cheques drawn on this account will require the signature of any two of the Officers of Compass.

18. Amendment to the Constitution:

18.1     Amendments to this Constitution may only be made by way of a motion carried by majority vote at an AGM or EGM.

18.2     The Executive Committee shall review the Constitution of Compass every five years.


Compass Parents Management of Schools 

Compass Parents Management of Schools

 Compass Parents 2018 AGM Minutes



National Association of COMPASS

Co-operation of Minority Religions & Protestant

Parent Associations (Post Primary)


PRESIDENT: Mob:  087 2621588

Paul Rolston, Riverstown House, Carbury, Co. Kildare.


HON. SECRETARY: Tel:  041 9822007 Mob:  087 9901981

Julie Carr, 4 Woodbrook, Sandpit, Termonfeckin, Co Louth. 


HON. TREASURER: Mob: 086 6468583

Johnny Honner, Long Acre, Killough Upr., Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow.


Minutes of 2018 Compass A.G.M. held Wilson’s Hospital School on 26th May, 2018


Present: Executive Committee Members – Paul Rolston (President), Richard Brickenden ( Deputy President), Julie Carr (Secretary), Shane Bennett (P.R.O.), Alan Mulligan,  Patrick Empey, Freda Yague and Mary Lillis.


Parent Representatives from: Wesley College, The King’s Hospital, Wilson’s Hospital School,  Villiers School,  East Glendalough School, Kilkenny College, Dundalk Grammar School, St Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School and Drogheda Grammar School


Apologies: Johnny Honner, Nora Irwin, Pat O’Malley, Eleanor Petrie, Geraldine Neill, Paul Beddy – President of CSPA


The Principal/Warden of Wilson’s Hospital , Ms Niamh McShane, was introduced by the President and thanked most sincerely for hosting our AGM. Ms McShane welcomed those in attendance and said it was nice to re-engage with friends from the past.  Wilson’s Hospital is a school that caters for students from a wide area.  She thanked the PTA in the school for organising the meeting and for all their support to the school in general as she said it ‘takes a village to raise a child’.  


President’s address: He welcomed the President of Npcpp – Mr Geoff Browne, President of PACCS - Rebecca Hemeryck and Secretary of  PACCS - Connie Carolan.  He explained the link with PACCS in that those of our schools which are Community Schools also come under their umbrella. He mentioned that a lot of work is being done in Npcpp in the area of Corporate Governance and it was great to have Senan Turnbull to talk to the meeting on this.  All the Constituent Bodies within Npcpp are committed to making the organisation bigger and better and support parents as is its’ aim. Directors have been involved in a lot or areas within education and have also represented parents at the Oireachtas.  Geoff Browne was asked by the President to say a few words and he mentioned how Npcpp represents all parents of all schools.  He expressed hope for the future of the Organisation.  Geoff also mentioned about the representation of Npcpp on various NCCA groups and the Teaching Council and said there is obviously a huge amount of interaction with the Department. 


Senan Turnbull’s Presentation ‘National Parents Council Post Primary & Compass – Representing Parents in the future’:  He started by mentioning the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the Npcpp as an organisation saving it was founded in 1986 and comprises of the four constituent bodies – FEDS, PACCS, ETB and Compass.  The DES headed by Gemma Hussey set up the organisation He reiterated that each section needs to be represented properly.  There needs to be more on-line activity and engagement with parents.  The organisation can be a bit dysfunctional at times which can happen with volunteer organisation.  Npcpp is parents route for representation nationally.  He stated that he has been involved this year to identify where Npcpp needs to go. He has therefore looked at effective governance  by

  • Looking at the whole area of Npcpp – SWOT
  • Producing a report
  • Implementing the report 

The Department has recognised the need for a CEO and research and administration staff.  This will help with its professionalism.  The Role of Directors needs to be reviewed – more people do not make better decisions.  Need the right skill base therefore need to co-opt external directors.  Boards should look at bigger picture i.e demands and challenges and look at value for parents.  There is a need for more sub-committees reporting to the Main Board.  At present there are also people representing Npcpp who are not Directors and this needs to be reviewed.  It is hoped that the Report with his findings will be signed off during the Summer and this may have a knock on effect for each constituent body.  Obviously it is all about best practice for the organisation.  Compass is one voice representing 400/500 parents nationally.  There has been a huge amount of work done to date in trying to move both organisations forward.  Advice need to be given by professional people in the know.  Following the presentation the following questions/points were made:

  • The term of office as per the Charities Regulator was mentioned and this is a three year term but Directors can do two terms.  It is a bit of ‘chicken and eggs’ scenario but best practice needs to done.  The term needs to be indicated in new legislation.
  • In relation to employed staff it is hoped to have one year contracts subject to funding.  It was asked if someone would be interested in such a short term contract but Senan felt it wouldn’t be an issue as things are changing in employment. Permanency often happens by default.
  • With regards to researchers – proactive research needs to be done that PTAs can feed into
  • A communications officer is needed but this can initially be outsourced.  Priority is getting a CEO in place.
  • There is also Service Level Agreements for funds received from the Department and their demands will increase.  
  • It will empower parents when Ncppp is a professional organisation
  • Obviously Blogs, twitter etc are important to make parents feel part of the organisation.  Seminars and webinars are also important
  • Npcpp have been missing in action at a national level to date and it needs to be more meaningful 
  • Recent communication has been distributed to Schools in relation GDPR – schools should be encouraged to fill this out.  Parents Associations also need to look at their own Constitutions in this regard
  • There also needs to be an explanation of Executive Roles
  • As volunteers we must still do things professionally.
  • Compass has been viewed as an important player within Npcpp.



Arthur Godsil’s Presenation ‘Strengths based Education – movtivating your son or daughter for learning success’:

As previously been a Headmaster of a school that went from strength to strength Arthur had huge engagement with Parents and students.  He was also very active on the Schools Heads Association and served on many education groups.  He now runs Godsil Education with his daughter.  He had concerns about the current Leaving Certificate as it is not working for the majority of students.  Students strengths rather than weaknesses need to be looked at as we are inclined to try and improve weaknesses rather than onus in on strengths.  When this was done with some of his students they found they were successful in an environment where they hadn’t been before.  There is so much information ‘out there’ but yet ‘old style’ is still taught. 67% of students get less than 400 points in the Leaving Certificate.  If you keep telling a student they are a’D’ student they will believe it.  The journey will take us there even if we go a different route. He believes about Assessmnet of Learning vs Assessment for Learing.  Creativity is as important as literacy.  We need to provide an environment to let our children grow.  We also don’t praise them enough.  If we focus on their strengths other things fall into place.  We should also value risk taking and individuality.    The three elements of Strength based Education

  • |Identification of students strengths
  • Purposeful creation of environment
  • Publication of students strengths

Assesment is a journey not an endpoint.  We should focus praise on effort not outcome.




A.G.M. Business:  The President thanked the Executive Committee and  in particular to Mary Lillis and Freda Yague who contacted our Schools and parents to assemble a list of contacts.  Thanks too to the Treasurer and Secretary and also to Shane Bennett and Patrick Empey for all their work in relation to the Npcpp Governance Report.  Our new website is now up and running and it is hoped to develop the social media side of it. Chatter Creators will manage the site as trying to do it on a voluntary basis before didn’t work before.  If any PTAS have information they would like to put up on the site please contact us.  The list of contacts drawn up by Freda and Mary will help develop the regional structure mentioned at last AGM.  We also hope to put a face to face structure in place by holding meetings in the South, West and East.  He is excited by the progress that has been made and the thoughts of where we are going.


The minutes of the 2017 A.G.M. had been circulated prior to the meeting and are also available on the new website.  The Secretary’s report was distributed to the meeting.  They were proposed by: Richard Brickenden and Seconded by: Shane Bennett.  


In the absence of the Treasurer the Accounts were presented by the President.  The only point of note was that the funding of €3,500 received from Npcpp was received after the year end.  Subject to accounts being audited they were proposed by: Richard Brickenden and Seconded by:  Alan Mulligan.  Dundalk Grammar School mentioned they have requested an invoice for Affiliation Fees several times but still have not received same.  The whole area of Affiliation Fees has been an area of much discussion within the Executive and now that Npcpp are becoming a more professional organisation it is time to look at the whole area and whether payment is made directly to them.


As Paul Rolston would like to concentrate on his role as Director of Npcpp so that value for Compass is also guaranteed with will not be going forward as President for the coming year.


Election of Officers:


President – Patrick Empey  Proposed by: Paul Rolston and Seconded by: Shane Bennett

Deputy President – Paul Rolston

Vice President – is the President elect and will be discussed by Executive.

Secretary – Julie Carr Proposed by: Richard Brickenden and Seconded by: Paul Rolston

Voted unanimously by the meeting

Treasurer – Johnny Honner Proposed by Paul Rolston and Seconded by: Freda Yague

Voted unanimously by the meeting

PRO – Shane Bennett Proposed by: Richard Brickenden and Seconded by: Mary Lillis

Voted by consensus of the meeting


With agreement of the meeting the following are prepared to continue on the Executive Geraldine Neill, Mary Lillis and Alan Mulligan.  As there was no objection from the meeting they were duly elected.



There were two vacancies on the Exeuctive the and  following were proposed and seconded


Nita Misra Proposed by Shane Bennett and Seconded by Patrick Empey


Nigel Bannister Proposed by Mary Lillis and Seconded by Des


If any vacancy arises during the year for whatever reason Claire Cox would be willing to take up the place.  This was proposed by Shane Bennet and Seconded by Julie Carr.


The President then closed the meeting and thanked everyone for attending.








Accounts, as presented, subsequently signed off by Auditor.



Compass Parents 2018 AGM Accounts