Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools

John the Baptist Community School is a member of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS). The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS) is the national representative Association for 95 Community and Comprehensive Post-Primary Schools nationwide. Founded on the 26th March, 1982 in Milltown Park, Dublin, ACCS is one of the partners in education that participate actively in national decision making at Post-Primary level. As a representative body, the Association has a diverse range of powers and functions outlined in its Memorandum and Articles of Association which seek to protect, promote and enhance the interests of its membership within the education sector and the country at large. The views of the members are expressed through its wide-ranging Convention, Executive and Sub-committee structures and have a significant impact on policy and decision making in the field of Irish education.

The Work of ACCS

The work of the Association covers three main areas:

  • Advice and support to schools/industrial relations

  • National issues – Negotiation/Policy setting and implementation

  • Research, development and training

The work of the Association is varied and involves a multiplicity of issues at both the level of macro issues at a national level and micro issues that are school specific. There is also a large degree of inter connectivity between both. An issue that is particular to an individual school may have as its consequence implications for all schools nationally.

ACCS Values

Our Vision for Education and outcomes are underpinned by the ACCS’s values of:

  • An understanding of Community-based, Comprehensive education for all

  • A commitment to sector-wide, partnership approaches

  • A commitment to innovate and to disseminate good practice in our schools

  • A commitment to use resources as efficiently and as effectively as possible

ACCS Vision for Education

The ACCS   believes that we deliver a model of the school for the future because we   continue to pioneer educational innovation and best practice in a caring and   responsive environment, led by local autonomous Boards of Management.

Vision Statement

The ACCS’s Vision is to lead and support Boards of Management to enable schools to provide equal access to a   comprehensive, co-educational, community-based, multi-denominational   education. In doing so it aims to contribute towards a just and caring society.

In achieving our Vision, we see the following outcomes being delivered for each key stakeholder:


Students have the opportunity to avail of a broad and balanced education that prepares them to actively participate in their next life stage.

We will achieve this through:

  • Provision of a comprehensive curriculum

  • Creation of a positive and inclusive   learning environment

  • Encouraging active engagement with   their teachers and fellow students

  • Focussing on the development of each   individual student

  • Equipping students with key life   skills through an education that is appropriate to their needs


Parents trust that their children are safe in a local education environment where   their individuality is recognised and nurtured.

We will achieve this through:

  • Encouraging parents to play an active role in their child’s education

  • Building up trust and cooperation with teachers and school management

  • Cooperating with Parents Associations locally and nationally

  • Operating an all-inclusive enrolment policy

  • Looking after students within the local community area

School Management

School management are active and innovative leaders of collaborative learning, encouraging students and teachers to engage in the school as a professional learning community.

We will achieve this through:

  • Encouragement of a model of distributive leadership

  • Motivation of staff to become a key inspirational force

  • Supporting management to achieve their objectives

  • Providing a comprehensive programme of Continuous Professional Development

  • Fostering commitment to diversity of learning


Teachers are facilitated to pursue a progressive career path, and are involved in   positive relationships with students and other teachers to enhance learning.

We will achieve this through:

  • Fostering a culture of leadership and devolved responsibility

  • Assisting teachers to develop active and engaging learning environments, based on relationship building and partnership

  • Developing teachers’ career paths through access to career-long Continuous Professional Development

  • Empowering teachers to be responsive to change

History of ACCS

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 today, 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.