University of Limerick
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Exploring the enablers, tensions, and sectoral responses to  embedding core values within publicly managed schools in  Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-26, 10:57 authored by Orla Mc CormackOrla Mc Cormack, Joanne O'FlahertyJoanne O'Flaherty, Seamus Conboy

The role of schools in developing values is internationally recognised, with many systems grappling to identify and embed values in  schools. Within an Irish context, the Education Act (1998) frames  values from the perspective of ‘characteristic spirit’, giving responsibility to boards of management to uphold the characteristic spirit  as established by the school’s patron. This was the first time this  concept applied to publicly managed schools. Recently, the largest  publicly managed sector, Education and Training Boards, has  grappled with the question of which values should underpin the  characteristic spirit of their schools. Following a national consultative process, the sector has identified values (excellence in education, care, equality, community, respect) and is now tasked with  embedding these within its schools. The change literature high-lights the complexity of this task. Following a review of the corpus  of relevant research, this paper explores the enablers that support  publicly managed schools to embed the core values in schools, as  well as potential tensions that need to be considered to support  enactment. The paper provides a critique of the sectoral response  to these enablers and tensions. This paper contributes to international debates on values in education by considering these enablers  and tensions to support change. 



Journal of Beliefs & Values


Taylor & Francis Group

Sustainable development goals

  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

Department or School

  • School of Education

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