Saturday 20 January 2018

Bruton vows to push on with baptism barrier fight

Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke

Doing nothing about the "baptism barrier" in schools is not an option, Education Minister Richard Bruton has said.

He was speaking ahead of a forum today to consider the various options for minimising or eliminating the role of religion in school admissions.

The forum is part of a consultation process launched by Mr Bruton earlier this year, which has attracted almost 1,000 submissions from education-related bodies, political parties, schools and the public.

Invitations to attend the half-day forum were sent to all 1,000 people who made submissions, and about 150 are expected to attend the event at the Department of Education. The focus of the initiative is on the primary system, where issues around the role of religion in admissions are most acutely felt.

About 96pc of primary schools are under religious control - including 90pc run by the Catholic Church - and they are entitled to give priority to children who have been baptised in their faith. This so-called "baptism barrier" means that in schools with more applications than places, local children who have not been baptised may be excluded.

Mr Bruton has promised a change in legislation arising from the consultation.

Irish Independent

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