What is Meitheal?
The Meitheal Programme is an anti-bullying mentoring programme for students in secondary schools. Senior cycle students receive training to equip them with the skills to become mentors for incoming First Year students. It is a programme based on pro-respect within the school community, and one that enables students to take responsibility for the happiness of others and for the safety and well-being of all who share a school environment.
The programme is advertised among the senior students in all twenty two Post-Primary Schools throughout County Wexford, who are then invited to apply to become Meitheal Leaders in their respective schools. Applicants who are chosen to become Meitheal Leaders undergo a two day residential training programme in the summer prior to their return to school the following September. This training programme covers the areas of:-
- Personal Development
- Outdoor team-building skills
- Bullying Awareness
- Communication skills and active listening skills
- Assertiveness skills
- Group Dynamics
- Group Management and Decision Making Skills
After their training the students return to their respective schools and each is given responsibility for a number of incoming first year students. It is then the task of the Meitheal Leaders to ensure the smooth transition of these young people into the school and to be available to assist them in any way necessary especially during their first few days in school. In the first few weeks of term it may be practical things they need help with such as getting to grips with timetable, organising their lockers, homework and finding their way around the school.
The programme has proven to be effective in promoting the happiness of students in general as well as reducing instances of bullying, isolation and early school leaving. It also gives First Years a very positive start in secondary school and research in this area has proven this promotes higher retention.
It is vital to the success of the programme that there are teachers in each school who volunteer to act as overseers of the programme. Their role is to help the Leaders organise the day to day running of the programme and provide any in-school assistance or back-up that is needed. In-Service training is offered to the coordinators ensuring the principles and ethos of Meitheal is implemented and the Meitheal Coordinator Tina Kelly is always available to provide support and resources for the teams and the Coordinating Teachers.
For further information contact our Meitheal Coordinator, Tina Kelly on 053 9155873.