Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) has published its 2022 Annual Report, outlining the wide range of services and activities it delivered throughout the last year.
Despite the ongoing pandemic restrictions that continued into part of 2022, over 29,200 students availed of its post-primary, Further Education and Training (FET), outdoor education and training and music education courses.
Fifteen of the twenty-seven post-primary schools in Co Donegal are directly managed by Donegal ETB, which over 5,600 students attended in 2022.
Its extensive range of Further Education and Training (FET) courses supported almost 14,500 students across a wide range of full and part-time education and training options throughout the year, with over 7,800 also completing courses at its outdoor education and training centre at Gartan. Over 1,420 students attended music classes with its music service, the Donegal Music Education Partnership.
Its services were measured across three key priority areas, teaching, learning and assessment; a progressive, accountable organisation and working with partners, following its 2022-2026 Strategy Statement, which it also launched last year.
In terms of teaching, learning and assessment, Donegal ETB welcomed the addition of three more of their post-primary schools into the Delivering Equality in Our Schools (DEIS) programme in 2022 – Coláiste na Carraige, St Catherine’s Vocational School in Killybegs and Coláiste Pobail Cholmcille on Oileán Thoraí.
A new FET centre was opened on Letterkenny’s Port Road, while approval was granted for the provision of an additional electrical workshop in its Gaoth Dobhair Training Centre, which will allow for the provision of a second electrical apprenticeship course.
With the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in early 2022, Donegal ETB facilitated the Regional Education and Language Team (REALT) to successfully place Ukrainian students in primary and post-primary schools across the county and its islands. The REALT created a smooth and supportive transition for these students into the education system by working closely with schools, families, and the Ukrainian community to ensure that appropriate language support and cultural integration were provided.
In terms of progression and accountability, a new working group was formed in 2022 to begin scoping out the work required to meet public sector targets under the national Climate Action Plan which requires Donegal ETB to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 and increase the improvement in energy efficiency from the 33% target in 2020 to 50%, also by 2030.
In 2022 Donegal ETB carried out a large piece of work to meet its legal obligations under the European Union (Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications of Public Sector Bodies) Regulations 2020 which requires all public sector bodies to ensure their websites and mobile applications are accessible to everybody, including people with disabilities. This work saw the ETB’s website Accessibility Score increase from just over 9% in early 2022, to over 72% by November 2022.
This greatly increased score led the National Disability Authority, the National Monitoring Body for Ireland, submitting monitoring reports to the European Commission, to highlight that while several national websites significantly improved their score over the monitoring period, “Donegal Education and Training Board showed the strongest improvement.”
Donegal ETB’s Chairperson in 2022, Cllr Barry Sweeny, noted that 2022 would be remembered as a year of highs and lows and “A year when our school communities saw an emergence from COVID-19 restrictions, a restoration of confidence and a return to many normalities across Donegal.”
He highlighted how, “The tragic events that unfolded in Creeslough on 7 October 2022 brought a dark cloud upon the region and a profound effect, particularly on the ETB school community of Mulroy College, Milford with the loss of life of students and parents. The response by the College and the wider community was, and continues to be, something special.”
Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh highlighted how 2022 was also the first year of the ETB’s new Strategy Statement, which has ‘transforming learning – changing lives’ as its vision. She said, “This is a vision which serves to remind us why we do what we do for our communities and our county, and we are now delighted to have been given clearance by the Department of Education to publish our Annual Report for 2022 to highlight this.
“We value the opportunity to share the excellent work of Donegal ETB with our stakeholders and the communities of Co Donegal and beyond. We hope that you find the report to be interesting and informative and we look forward to continuing to work to provide the best possible education and training service to the people of the county.”
The Board of Donegal ETB is made up of twelve elected representatives, two staff, two parents, two local industry and three sectoral interest representatives.
The report is available on its website here.