St Brigid's School is a Catholic school which is fully integrated into the state system. The school is owned and governed (via representatives on the Board of Trustees) by the Catholic Bishop of Dunedin. All resourcing for the staffing and running of the school is provided by the State.
The Catholic character of the school is often referred to as the "special character" of the school. We strive to uphold and maintain this in all aspects of the school - in respect for all individuals, relationships with one another and in living the teachings of Jesus Christ. A reflection of this is the way in which the older children look after the younger children. Any new children and their families are very quickly made to feel welcome.
The school takes its name from Saint Brigid. She is regarded as the second Patron Saint of Ireland. Saint Brigid lived in the fifth century and founded the Abbey of Kildare. Her symbol is the sprig of oak. You will notice this portrayed in our school crest along with the Celtic Cross. The school's motto FIAT LUX IN MUNDO is 'Let there be light in the world' (Christ our Light). At the beginning of every school year we plant a tree in the school grounds in celebration of Saint Brigid's Day which is on the 1st of February.
Each term the school focuses on one particular value which reflects the special character of the school and enhances relationships within our school community. These values are Respect, Care and Responsibility.
Children seen by teachers and peers to be living these values are presented with a certificate of acknowledgement. Each fortnight two particularly deserving children are presented with a special values badge at school assembly.
The sacramental programme is Parish/School based and is facilitated by the Parish Priest and the school's Director of Religious Studies. Parent meetings are held to assist parents and children taking part in the programme.
Father Gerard Aynsley and Father Fivins Chittilappilly are the Parish Priests for Mercy Parish. They look after the South Dunedin Pastoral Area. This includes the parishes of St Alphonsus, St Bernadette's, St Brigid's and St Patrick's. We celebrate Sunday Mass at St Patrick's Basilica, this is situated at 32 Macandrew Road, South Dunedin. Father Gerard and Father Fivins can be contacted at the Mercy Parish Office, 24 Forbury Road, Dunedin.
External Review of Special Character
The New Zealand Catholic Education Office conducts a review of all Catholic Schools every three years to verify that appropriate systems are in place to deliver the Catholic Special Character dimensions. The following are extracts from our most recent review in June 2014:
"St Brigid's School continues to be an excellent school of Special Character in the Dunedin Diocese. Since the last review, it has developed a new energy and focus which includes Special Character. This has been led by a strong Board and Principal who are committed to the mission of the school and the relationship it should have with the Parish. Along with the Parish Priest, the Board, Principal and staff have developed a shared vision for the role the school can play in preserving a Parish base as the South Dunedin Pastoral Area looks to form itself on St Patrick's Basilica.
Since the last review, the Principal has addressed the developmental steps included in the report and engaged widely with the community to plan for the school. He has gathered around him a strong staff who are focused on personal formation and Professional Development. They are a united group who work collegially to create a caring environment for the students.
The school continues to be led by an experienced Principal who has a number of roles in the Diocese. His interest in Catholic Education within the school and in the Diocese has given him a good focus for his leadership. He has gathered a strong staff who have a clear commitment to Special Character and who are open to seeking ways to improve teaching and learning.
The Director of Religious Studies is new to the role and has embraced it with enthusiasm and commitment. She has committed to further formation and study and is supported by the Board of Trustees in this endeavour. She enjoys the leadership and the opportunity to work with staff and the Principal. Other staff in the school have also committed to formation which is supported financially by the Board. As a result, the school has one of the most prepared staff in the Diocese. The impact of this formation is evident across the school.
St Brigid's has an excellent pastoral system which focuses on recognising positive behaviour and providing support for students who need help, to make progress. It uses its values to share positive behaviour. Through assemblies and class discussion the students are supported to take responsibility for their actions and contribute to the school environment. The school playground shows the quality of relationships and the way groups integrate and share space.
St Brigid's has recently celebrated its 75th Jubilee where it focused on its Mercy and Josephite traditions. Special effort has been made to make the connections with the history. Students enjoy sharing aspects of the school history and are proud of their part in the story.
There are always aspects of Special Character that can be developed but they will be adjustments or additions to current practice rather than significant changes. The Proprietor can be assured that the school will continue to play a significant part in the evangelisation and faith of the Diocese."
St Brigid's School was founded in 1939 by the Sisters of Mercy. The Mercy nuns were founded by Catherine McAuley in Ireland over 180 years ago. The Mercy nuns have core values, among them Justice, Mercy and Compassion. It is our mission to keep the work of the Mercy sisters alive at St Brigid’s. We strive to do this in a number of ways, beginning in our classrooms and playgrounds and reaching out to the wider community.