Newsletter November 2017

We are delighted to be sharing with you the first digital version of the school newsletter. The news team, along with the help of Garry and Colin, have worked tirelessly to collate information and reports on the activities and achievements of the school body over the past month.


In this month’s newsletter:

  • P.B.L. Week, a report by Matthew Quinn
  •  2nd Year visit to Leinster House and the National Gallery, reports by Benat Potokci and Shane Downes
  • Photos from our Halloween Fancy Dress and details about the winner
  •  Over the Rainbow, an interview with Stepaside ETSS student Erwin Wright
  •  Gaelic Football Team Stand Tall, a report by Warren Chong
  •  Details on our Poetry Aloud Pioneers
  •  This Country Life, a report on the Second Year ecology trip, by Sarah Mulvey
  •  Information on Guidance
  • Photographs of our brilliant committee members
  • Information on our school Shoebox Appeal for Christmas


Just click on the following link for the full version:


Happy Half Term!

As the first term of the year has come to an end, the past month has been Spooktacular!! The last day of  term came to a tricky conclusion with everyone in SETSS taking part in a ‘fancy dress’ competition. The entrants entered into the spooky spirit with the most grotesque and grandiose gore fest ever seen in the shockingly spectre-filled suburb of Stepaside.

Everyone have a fangtastic  mid term and remember they”ll be watching yoooooooo and trying to catch you in our web of online homework assignments, remember to stay healthy over the mid term break and keep exorcising!

By Sarah Mulvey & Garry

Competition Winners

First Year Aiken

First Year Plunkett

2nd Years


Senior Technical officer in Department of Education building department visits Stepaside ETSS

Recently, Stepaside ETSS was visited by renowned architect, Bill Kavanagh, who presented a very informative talk about building schools. Bill is a Senior Technical Officer for the Department of Education. His job is to detail the shapes and builds for different schools nationwide and detail the designs for the builders.

Upon his arrival, he was greeted by student representatives, Luca and Shannon. Barbara, our school Principal, attended the meeting. She was accompanied by Technology teacher, Feargal, and the students of 2nd year Technology.   The 2nd year Technology class were very excited to meet Bill Kavanagh and participate in his presentation on building skills.

The students interaction began with Siddharth, who explained what we had done so far in our technology class.  We explained how many classrooms we estimated we will need in our 1000 student school. After considering this question closely the technology students showed a diagram of the Music Room, Swimming Pool, Science Room, Sports Hall, Home Economics Room, Science Room and many other rooms which we had designed.  We also showed a video that Kyle had built on Minecraft of the P.E. hall for our new school.

Luca then explained his Excel Sheet of the new school which detailed the rooms which we require such as Administrators offices, General Classrooms, the need for windows in the middle of the school, lockers, toilets, the common area, a utility room, a maintenance room, a garden and, to help make our school wheelchair accessible, a lift.

Bill Kavanagh then explained how he decides where to positions the classrooms depending where the sun rises and always tries to maximise natural light and minimise electricity costs.

The students then asked Bill if he was only involved in construction in Dublin. He told us that he was involved in constructions in many different counties such as Donegal, Leitrim, Galway, Limerick, Cork and Wexford.

Bill told us how there has been an increase in building contracts recently. He told us that there are currently 3,900 national schools and the rest are primary schools. He told us that every year his Department has a budget of €650 million.

According to Mr. Kavanagh our school, which holds 1000 students, would need only 2 floors and an estimated 27 general classrooms. Stepaside Educate Together National School, the school beside us which is currently being built will cost in the region of €10 million.

Typically, Bill is given school plans anywhere from 18 months to 2 years in advance of building.

The students then asked Bill what was the biggest school that he has planned. He told us one of the biggest schools that he has planned was built in Gorey and accommodates over 1000 students.  It takes about 2 years to start and finish building a school and they have to pay a premium to make sure schools are built quickly.  A school that is being built outside this schedule, without paying the premium, takes up to 5 years to complete.

I was most interested to discover that the Stepaside Educate Together National School is one Ireland’s rapid builds.

I was even more fascinated when Bill told us how they once found guns and swords on a site. He added that these weapons may have been used for serious reasons in the 17th century!

In urban sites they are able to take x-rays of the grounds to determine whether there is anything of interest buried. These archaeological surveys can take up to four months to complete and are evidence of the importance placed upon preserving our unique cultural heritage.

Always interested in the practical details, the students asked him how much a school that had 1000 students would cost to complete. He said a 1000 student school can cost anywhere from €10milion up to €22milion.


By Benat


National Tree Day

For our first house project of the year, we celebrated National Tree Day on October 5th by creating our own house trees with the hand prints of each of the house members.  Here’s Seiceamar’s efforts.

SETSS Culture Afternoon

On Friday 22nd September, in celebration of the national ‘Culture Night’ event, we held our very own Culture Afternoon. The students took part in a series of cultural experiences, from musical performances, Spanish cinema, historical re-enactments, dance to poetry. Everyone also all had the opportunity to visit the SETSS Art Gallery, where both staff and student work was displayed for all to admire.

Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador Award

Poppy meets Kayleigh Cullinan at the School Ambassador Awards Ceremony

On Tuesday last, September 12th, the now annual Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador School Awards ceremony was held at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. These awards recognised the immense efforts of 89 schools around the island of Ireland who have completed the Ambassador School Programme, and became actively involved in mental health promotion. The Ambassador School Programme is one aspect of a wide range of Cycle Against Suicide initiatives and programmes, is school-led, and involves the completion of “Five Gears” over the course of a year, all of which are aimed at raising awareness of the message that “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”.

The Programme provides a framework for schools to integrate mental health activities into the school plan, and rewards schools who go the extra mile. The Programme also aims to recognise innovative and effective initiatives, and facilitates schools to share and showcase good practice.

At the special reception, Stepaside Educate Together Secondary School was awarded the prestigious status of Ambassador School by Cycle Against Suicide in recognition of their fulfilment of the Five Gears, and their exceptional commitment to the promotion of positive mental health.

Stepaside Educate Together Secondary School was represented at the event by Link Teacher Sallie Ennis and student Poppy Stafford, who understandably are very proud of their achievements. “The Ambassador School Awards ceremony was a great day. It’s wonderful to attend such a positive event, and have the efforts of the students recognised. Our participation in the Ambassador School Programme has had an enormously positive impact on our school community, fostered a school-wide approach to the promotion of positive mental health, and provided incredible opportunities for student leadership”. Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee presented the awards to students on what was a very positive enjoyable day for all involved. More information on the Ambassador School Programme is available on

Good Luck Sarah!

We would like to wish Sarah all the best in her new position as Deputy Principal at Calasanctius College in Oranmore, Galway. Sarah was hugely instrumental in establishing our school wide commitment to kindness and respect and we will miss her greatly. We know she will be watching developments at SETSS with interest and love.

Celebration of Achievements Day

Here’s a few photos form our Celebration of Achievement Day. Well done to everyone!