Friday 22 September 2017

Four new schools offer more choice to parents more choice

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan
Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Four new multi-denominational primary schools are to open in September as part of the process of offering parents more choice in areas where Catholic-run schools dominate the local education landscape.

Three of schools, in Tuam, Co Galway, New Ross, Co Wexford, Castlebar, Co Mayo will operate under the banner of Educate Together, while the fourth will be a gaelscoil in Birr, Co Offaly, with An Foras Patrunachta as the patron body.

The school in Castlebar is the only one of the four where the local bishop has, so far, handed over a building for immediate and permanent use. The former Burren School premises will be home to the new school.

The other schools will open in temporary, start-up accommodation, pending further discussions and/or planning permissions.

The establishment of the new schools is part of the process of reducing Catholic Church dominance in primary education and follows surveys of parents on the choice of school patron in 43 towns. In 28 of these areas, a viable number of parents said they would avail of an alternative patronage model of provision if this was available to them.

Among the 28 areas, Birr is the only one where parents opted for a gaelscoil; most of the areas surveyed already had a gaelscoil.

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan said discussions were continuing to take place with the main Catholic patrons in a number of areas to identify and secure permanent accommodation.

Irish Independent

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