Union of Secondary Students
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The Union of Secondary Students (USS) was founded in January 2001 by Shane O'Donnell, Lorcan Fox, Graham Barry, Carly-Anne Gannon and Lyndsey O Connell. With the help of the Union of Students in Ireland, the founders set up a meeting, which took place in University College Dublin on 28 March 2001. USS, the Union of Secondary Students disbanded in August 2008.
About the USS
The Union campaigns for the rights of Students and has a close working relationship with The Department of Education and Science, The National Children's Office, the NYCI, NCCA, NPCPP, CPA, and USI. They are also a member of the Organizing Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU). In April 2004 they voted to accept membership from students in Northern Ireland and, as of 21 May 2005, the Union of Secondary Students has a registered membership of 47,000 students in the Republic of Ireland, representing approximately 14% of the second level students in the country. The USS is criticized by many for its close ties with the Government, and not having many ties with secondary students. Many former officers were in Government parties and have argued against protests.
The work of the USS falls into three strands:
- To provide training, guidance and advice to students and also equipping them with vital skills which they can use to become involved with decision making in their school community.
- To work in partnership with other organizations to spread the views of secondary school students.
- To provide a service to the membership of the union on the basis that control lies within the membership.
The organisation held protests in 2001 at the time of the teachers' strikes. The organisation was founded at this time to give voice to students.
In early 2005 the organization successfully exploited the website ratemyteachers.ie as a bargaining tool with the Department of Education, leading to a number of notable achievements including, increased school inspections and publication of school inspection reports.
In January 2008, USS officially launched its expansion into Northern Ireland in Stormont Assembly. USS representatives met with Caitriona Ruane MLA (Minister for Education NI) and a number of issues were discussed including the expansion of School Councils in Northern Ireland, and school counselling Services. A new USS Northern Officer was then elected at the 2007 Belfast School Council Training Day. This new position shows the commitment of USS to its work in NI.
- Peter O'Brien (March 2001 - October 2001)
- Shaun Smyth (October 2001 - October 2002)
- Daire Hickey (October 2002 - October 2003)
- Emer Ní Chúagáin (October 2003 - October 2004)
- Hazel Nolan (October 2004 - April 2006)
- Nick Trigoub-Rotnem (April 2006 - 2007)
- Síobhra Aiken (April 2007 - March 2008)
- Leanne Caulfield (March 2008 - August 2008)
USS was disbanded in August 2008.