The ERST Charter
Edmund Rice was that rare combination – a creative visionary who was also immensely practical. From the humble beginnings of the first such school in Waterford in 1802, Edmund Rice Schools have played an important role in the history of Irish education for over two centuries. Today there are over a hundred of these schools in Ireland, and the Edmund Rice mission has extended to all five continents.
At the start of the new Millennium, the Christian Brothers founded by Blessed Edmund Rice decided to hand on responsibility for the schools to a group of lay people.
The Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) was established to hold the schools in trust so that they may continue to provide Catholic education into the future for the people of Ireland. This pioneering decision marked the opening of a new and significant chapter in the history of the schools.
The process whereby lay people would take on responsibility for the schools was carefully planned during a long period of discernment. The lively and active participation of the students, staff, parents, trustees and boards of management of the schools over a four year period from 1999 to 2003 in an Identity Project was a vital part of this preparatory phase. Through reflection, and sharing, the school partners sought to reach consensus on what comprises the heart and soul of an Edmund Rice School.
Edmund Rice schools cater for young people from a diverse range of backgrounds and have been quick to respond to the emerging needs of students and communities. The educational approach in the schools is neither functional nor utilitarian, but subscribes to the holistic vision expressed in the following five key elements:
- Nurturing faith, Christian spirituality and Gospel-based values;
- Promoting partnership;
- Excelling in teaching and learning;
- Creating a caring school community;
- Inspiring transformational leadership.