Who we are.
The SEC supports Protestant families in exercising their right to attend Protestant-managed schools. Established in 1968, the SEC administers the Department of Education’s Protestant Block Grant, through which necessitous members of the Protestant community can receive state-provided financial support to defray part of the costs associated with their children’s attendance at a school that accords with their own religious ethos.
The SEC operates an annual grants programme through which applicants are comprehensively means tested and, subject to certain eligibility criteria, receive a grant amount that is paid directly to the schools to reduce the amount of fees they pay. The grant is tenable in 21 Protestant-managed schools around Ireland and is available for both day and boarding pupils. Grants are processed through an online application programme that runs from October to May each year, and the SEC provides a telephone and email support programme to assist applicants.
The SEC is funded by the Department of Education, is a registered charity (RCN 20012021; CHY 6487) and is governed by a voluntary board of directors (Company No 349370). The day-to-day administration of the charity is delegated to the SEC Manager.
Our Vision is of a society where all members of Protestant communities can exercise their right to access a second-level school that accords with their religious ethos.
To administer the Protestant Block Grant on behalf of the Department of Education
To enable necessitous Protestants to attend fee-charging second-level schools under Protestant management
To build a common policy for Protestant second-level schools in Ireland
To support Protestant second-level schools
To represent the interests of Protestant communities in second-level education in Ireland
Equality: we treat all people we deal with equally
Rights-based: we believe in the right to education
Family-focused: we recognise that behind every grant application is a family and do our utmost to ensure that the dignity of each set of circumstances is maintained
Supportive: we endeavour to be supportive to those seeking our assistance
Compassionate: to the best of our ability we are compassionate and strive towards understanding the situation of those we work with
Discreet: we treat personal information discreetly and place the highest value on confidentiality and information privacy
Comprehensive & Rigorous: acknowledging our duty to our funders, we are comprehensive and rigorous in our assessment of applicants’ financial need
Independent & Impartial: we carry out our work in accordance with best practice and we will not be influenced by lobbyists or vested interests
Integrity & Prudence: recognising our stewardship of public funds, we behave with integrity and are prudent in our expenditure
Transparent & Open: as a charity we recognise our duty to the general public and we are transparent and open about our work and operations
Dr. Ken Fennelly, Company Secretary
Vivienne Rountree, Office Manager and Grants Executive
Claire Leonard, Senior Grants Officer
Data Sharing Statement
I/We confirm that I/we understand and acknowledge that it is necessary for SEC to share my/our personal data (including but not limited to the information provided in the Registration Form and Application Form and/or any other information relevant to the grant) with other bodies (including but not limited to the Department of Education and Skills, Revenue Commissioners, and other Government bodies, other charities and/or grant-giving bodies etc) for the purposes of processing my/our application, to ensure the applicant is eligible for receipt of a grant, for validation purposes, to prevent and detect fraud, to ensure SEC is administering the means test correctly and taking account of any other grants/charitable bodies to whom I/we may have applied to for financial assistance, for verification purposes, and to ensure the Protestant Block Grant is used effectively to identify necessitous applicants. I understand and acknowledge that these data are shared for the performance of the contract (or to take steps prior to entering into a contract) and for performance of a task carried out in the exercise of official authority vested in the SEC, namely our public task in administering the Protestant Block Grant funded by the Department of Education and Skills. I/We confirm and acknowledge that SEC sharing this information with the school may reveal religious beliefs of me/us/our child, and I/we confirm and acknowledge that such processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, namely the substantial public interest in assisting necessitous children of the Protestant community in accessing second level education in a school that accords with their faith tradition.