Parents urged to have their say on who will run 12 new education centres
Parents in 12 locations are being invited to have their say on who should run new primary schools opening next September.
There is keen competition for control of each of the schools, and parental preferences will play a significant role in the decision-making process.
Parents can cast their votes on the Department of Education's Online Patronage Process System website, which features information about each of the patron bodies bidding for individual schools.
The patronage process opens today and will run until January 15 next. As well as voting for a patronage model, parents can also express a preference for their child to be educated through the medium of Irish or English.
Education Minister Joe McHugh urged all parents of children who will be starting school in the next five years in the 12 areas to engage with the process. "This is your opportunity to make your views known and help to shape the education of the future," he said.
Seven of the schools are in Dublin, two are in Co Kildare, and there is one each in counties Cork, Meath and Wicklow.
Three prominent patron organisations, Educate Together, the Irish-medium An Foras Pátrúnachta and Education and Training Boards (ETBs), along with Scoil Sinéad Ltd, a newer patron with a particular focus on inclusion of children with special needs, have applied for all 12 schools.
Another patron body, Lifeways Ireland, which currently runs six primary schools based on the Steiner model of education, is vying for five of the Dublin schools - Booterstown/Blackrock; Donaghmede/Howth; Dublin 6/6W; Goatstown/Stillorgan; and Killester/Raheny/Clontarf.
Meanwhile, the Church of Ireland has expressed an interest in becoming patron of the new primary school in Maynooth, Co Kildare.
The other schools are in Swords (north and south), Co Dublin; Glasheen/Pouladuff, Cork city; Leixlip, Co Kildare; Dunshaughlin, Co Meath; and Kilcoole/Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.