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Parents encouraged to have their say on future of schools

20 June, 2012 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Seán Crowe, TD, has urged parents to have their say on patronage and pluralism within the Irish primary school sector.

Deputy Crowe was commenting on the publication of a report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism that has made a number of recommendations to Education Minister Ruairí Quinn.

Deputy Crowe said;

“The Advisory Group to the Forum of Patronage and Pluralism has advised that the process of divesting patronage in areas of stable population should begin immediately. Sinn Féin is supporting this aspect of the process and is calling on the minister to ensure there are adequate resources put in place in order to ensure this important piece of work is carried out immediately.

“The current school system does not reflect the diverse needs and aspirations of parents and the important changes that have taken place within Irish society over the past ten years. The growth of Educate Together Schools and Gaelscoileanna illustrate the growing diversity of the Irish education sector yet the information needed to implement the type of changes to meet the needs of families is simply not available.

“The survey being conducted by the Advisory Group is an opportunity for parents to have their say into the type of primary school they want their children to attend and decide if it is denominational, multi-denominational or all-Irish speaking. The first survey will commence in autumn and will take place in 44 town areas, using data from the 2011 census.

“Helplines will be put in place to help advise parents during the survey period and information will be provided on the different types of schools and the possible patron bodies.

“I also welcome the minister’s commitment to proceed immediately with the analysis of the start-up and growth of Irish medium schools as proposed by the Advisory Group and it is important supports are put in place to help encourage the establishment of Gaelscoileanna and the development of the Irish language.

“I would urge parents to participate in this vitally important survey and have their say into shaping a more inclusive education system that reflects their ethos and encourages the diversity of traditions, religions and beliefs of pupils and their parents.”


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