Educate Together to run half of new secondary schools
THE multi-denominational Educate Together will run half of the new second-level schools opening to cater for a huge growth in pupil enrolments in some areas.
Meanwhile, the Christian Brothers school trust ERST has also been selected for one, and the Bishop of Cloyne will be involved in another.
Multi-denominational schools dominate a list unveiled today by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.
The nine new post-primary schools are needed to cope with the surge in student numbers arising from the baby boom that started in the 1990s.
They will be located in the greater Dublin area, and in north Wicklow, Kildare, Cork and Cavan, all of which have seen their populations expand in recent years.
The nine schools, which will open in 2015 and 2016, are intended to cater for 7,500 students between them -- and five will be designed to enroll 1,000 pupils each. They will all be co-educational.
Mr Quinn announced the patrons following a selection process by the independent New Schools Establishment Group, which included establishing the preferences of parents.
Educate Together is well established at primary level but was only recognised as a second-level patron two years ago, and will open its first three post-primary schools next September.
In today's round, Educate Together has been selected as the sole patron for schools opening in Balbriggan and Stepaside, Co Dublin, north Wicklow and the Carrigaline area of Cork.
It will also share control of a proposed new school in Celbridge, Co Kildare, as a joint patron with the local Education and Training Board (ETB), formerly the Vocational Education Committee (VEC).
There is enough demand in the Cork-south suburbs/Carrigaline area for two new schools, the second of which will be under the patronage of the Christian Brothers' Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST).
Also in Cork, in the Midleton/ Carrigtohill region, Cork ETB has been chosen as patron for a new school, with the involvement of the Catholic Bishop of Cloyne.
These were the only two areas where Catholic patrons applied and both welcomed the parental demand.
Meanwhile, Cavan and Monaghan education training boards (ETBs) will share patronage of a school in Kingscourt, Co Cavan.
Today's announcement is the culmination of the process that began in June 2011 when the minister announced that 20 new post-primary schools were to be established up to 2017 to cater for increasing student numbers.
"The establishment of these new schools is an essential part of our actions to ensure that the school infrastructure is in place in time to ensure every single student has a quality place at second level over the coming years," he said.
Mr Quinn said the fact that the new patrons included those of multi-denominational and those of a Catholic ethos demonstrated that he and his department were committed to providing diversity of ethos.
He said he was confident that the new schools, alongside the existing schools in each area, would mean that parents and students had real choice when it came to deciding which school most reflected their own ethos.