Tuesday 20 March 2018

Parents to be quizzed on school handovers

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Parents in 44 town and suburbs around the country are to be asked whether they want to hand over one or more Catholic primary schools in their area to come under the patronage of another body.

The Department of Education will conduct formal surveys in the autumn on what change, if any, they want to the current local arrangements.

The Catholic Church controls 92pc of primary schools

The move is aimed at providing choice in areas where there may, for instance, be five or six Catholic schools, and a demand for greater diversity to reflect changes in society.

Based on the survey findings, there will be consultations with communities on the final shape of their primary school network and arrangements for a handover process.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has set next June as the deadline for the naming of the first of the schools that will transfer out of the control of the Catholic Church.

Patron bodies vying for the hearts and minds of parents will be subject to a code of practice that will limit the amount of money they can put behind their campaign and seek to avoid the use of any inflammatory language.

Initially, 47 areas were targeted for this first stage of the process but the list has now been revised to reflect population changes noted on the 2011 census.

Mr Quinn is also preparing a white paper on how all schools can be more inclusive of children of all faiths or none.

Irish Independent

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