Sunday 24 March 2019

Bids for school patronage

Mary Fogarty

Despite pouring rain on the night of Tuesday, November 20, many interested parents and carers attended Educate Together's public meeting to discuss its application to open a new eight classroom primary school to serve Newtownmountkennedy and Kilcoole.

The meeting was held in the community centre in Newtown.

A second educational body, An Foras Pátrúnachta, has also applied to be part of the patronage process and held a meeting in Druid's Glen last Thursday night. It was announced in April that 42 new primary and secondary schools would open by 2022, including one national school to serve Newtownmountkennedy to open in 2019.

It is expected that there will be an online survey asking parents to choose their preferred school patron.

At the Tuesday meeting, Educate Together's regional development officer described how the application process will work for the new school. Sinead Watson, principal of Wicklow Educate Together National School, described how the Educate Together ethos works in practice.

'An Educate Together national school would be a perfect fit for this area,' said Anne Gregory, who is chairperson of the Newtownmountkennedy-Kilcoole Educate Together campaign.

'We need more diversity and a school that caters to all children equally. I'm a big fan of the Educate Together ethos and after speaking to Sinead I'm even more excited to work towards opening a brand new ETNS here.'

General Secretary of An Foras Pátrúnachta, Caomhin Ó hEaghra, said that there is a need for more Gaelscoileanna to cater for demand from parents. 'Providing diversity and choice to parents in Kilcoole/Newtownmountkennedy is essential,' he said. 'In our schools, everyone's welcome and everyone's equal. We welcome all pupils regardless of their background, religion or language of the home.'

Interested parents of pre-school children will be eligible to vote for their preferred school patron on the Department of Education and Skills website,

Wicklow People