History of ACCS

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2014 2:48:34 pm

Prior to the introduction of the so-called "Free Post-Primary Education Scheme" second level education was clearly divided into two sectors. The voluntary second level schools, most of them owned by religious orders, offered academic studies to students up to Leaving Certificate level, while Vocational/Technical Schools, as their name implied, offered courses which prepared students for the world of work.

During the course of the 1960's Irish Government policy was clearly directed towards the provision of a universal system of second level education available to all children. In 1963 Vocational Schools were permitted to extend from a two-year cycle, covering the Group Certificate, to a five-year cycle, covering both the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate courses.

A number of Comprehensive Schools were established in the mid 1960's to meet the needs of particular localities and circumstances. These new Comprehensive Schools combined the subjects and courses available in Secondary Schools with courses that had traditionally been taught in Vocational Schools.

The Community School system, as we know it to-day, was the result of an initiative by Mr. Pádraig Faulkner, T.D., Minister for Education in 1970. He proposed that Community Schools, which would be under the Joint Trusteeship of Catholic Religious Orders and local VEC's, be established with the help of funds from the World Bank.

The rationale behind the introduction of the Community and Comprehensive School system was:

  • To bring together in a single institution the academic style education of the traditional Secondary School and the practically orientated programme of the Vocational School
  • To bring second level education into the fast developing urban housing estates and to the remote rural areas where previously it was unavailable
  • To amalgamate existing small Secondary and Vocational schools so as to ensure equality of educational opportunities for both boys and girls regardless of background or social status
  • To be leaders in the area of curriculum development and change
  • To make provision for Adult and Community education facilities in their areas

In 1982 an inaugural General Meeting was held in Milltown Park, Dublin which established a new Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACS) under an interim constitution. Rev. Fr. John Hughes was elected as the first President of ACS for the year 1982/83. The first Annual ACS Convention in Athlone, Co. Westmeath on the 22nd and 23rd April 1983, firmly established the Association's Constitution.

In 2003 ACS became a registered Company limited by Guarantee which offered greater legal protection to its Executive Committee and membership. With incorporation, ACS became now known as ACCS and it also secured Charity Status from the Irish Revenue Commissioners (CHY 8692)

The Association was established to:

  • Facilitate and assist Member Boards in the execution of their responsibilities
  • Act as a representative and negotiating body on behalf of all member Boards or, on request, on behalf of an individual member Board
  • Co-operate with, or enter into agreement with any other bodies having similar objectives on a general basis or in relation to particular issues
  • Apply the funds of the Association in carrying out these functions and in defraying the expenses of management and administration.