Newtown School

Quaker ethos


Newtown School shares a way of life rather than a set of beliefs. We believe that ‘there is that of God in everyone’. We recognise no barriers of colour, class or gender.  Honesty, integrity, simplicity, equality and peace are central to the way we conduct our lives. 

We seek to create a community of tolerance and understanding within which a balance between discipline, especially self-discipline, freedom and exploration is maintained.

The broad, multi-cultural and inclusive character of the school gives each student the opportunity to make choices and to participate and to develop as a unique individual: to let their lives speak.

Essentially, Quakerism is a practical form of Christianity placing most emphasis on the manner in which people lead their lives and treat each other. Because of this sense of genuine enquiry, and the freedom from dogma, young people of all religious beliefs or none can feel comfortable and united during the silence of a Quaker Meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for all to reflect quietly and gain a fresh perspective on daily life.

President Mary McAleese

On the occasion of her visit to Newtown in November 1998, when we were celebrating our Bicentenary, experienced this silence at the start of the school gathering and afterwards, in her speech to the school, she said:

“I was thinking as we were having those few minutes of silence, the words that came into my head, a line from the poem by T.S. Eliot ‘And in the stillness, dancing’, and I thought how lovely to be in a place where people, particularly young people, are comfortable with silence, since it seems to me that our world is a very busy and noisy world, even to the point, I think, that we are a little nervous around silence.

It is lovely to be in the company of young people who actually use silence and who know that in silence you can find all sorts of things that help you cope with the day’s work or to reflect or simply just to be still.  Many of us would never think you would find dancing in the silence, but those of you who know silence will know that you find all sorts of extraordinary things in it.”


To download a copy of an introduction to, and an overview of, Newtown, Quakers and Educational Ethos please click on the Patron Ethos Booklet link below.

The Patron Ethos Booklet 2017.

Quaker ethos permeates all aspects of school life and is reflected in the relationships between staff and students.

Morning Collect

The school day starts with a meeting for worship, known as Collect, which consists of silence, reflection and thoughts for the day. Quakers meet together in silence believing that the Holy Spirit, however perceived, will lead us to worship.  Evening Meeting is held every Sunday with a period of silent reflection and often a guest speaker.

Meeting for Worship

Students attend their own place of worship on Sunday mornings, Read more about meeting for worship – click here.

“Educating for life in the Quaker tradition at Newtown School Waterford” – Joan Hanafin, March 2012 – Read the article here
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