Pa­tron­age sur­vey for pri­mary schools

WICKLOW PAR­ENTS TO HAVE THEIR SAY

Bray People - - COMMENT -

PAR­ENTS IN Wicklow town are be­ing asked to have their say over which pa­tron bod­ies they would like to see run­ning lo­cal pri­mary schools.

Cur­rently 96 per cent of pri­mary schools in Ire­land are un­der church pa­tron­age, with more than 90 per cent or ap­prox­i­mately 3,000 schools un­der the re­mit of the Catholic Church.

Sur­veys went live on Mon­day and can be ac­cessed by par­ents vis­it­ing the site www.ed­u­ca­tion.ie. The sur­vey is open to par­ents and guardians of all chil­dren aged 0 to 12 years. Any­one in­ter­ested in fill­ing in the sur­vey will need to have their PPS num­ber in or­der to com­plete the sur­vey; how­ever, th­ese de­tails are only be­ing used for ver­i­fi­ca­tion pur­poses.

The aim of the sur­vey is to es­tab­lish the level of de­mand from par­ents for di­ver­sity of school pa­tron­age and the sur­vey ini­tia­tive fol­lows on from the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Fo­rum on Pa­tron­age and Plu­ral­ism in the Pri­mary sec­tor.

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T. D., says ex­ist­ing pa­trons will be asked to come up with a plan to trans­fer some schools to other pa­tron bod­ies if par­ents in Wicklow town in­di­cate they would like a wide choice of pa­tron.

‘ This is an his­toric op­por­tu­nity for par­ents in Wicklow town to have a real say in the type of school they wish to send their chil­dren to, be it de­nom­i­na­tional, multi-de­nom­i­na­tional, all-Ir­ish or other. In Wicklow town, there is lit­tle prospect of any new schools open­ing as the pop­u­la­tion re­mains sta­ble and there is enough ca­pac­ity within ex­ist­ing schools. How­ever, if par­ents demon­strate through this sur­vey that they want a greater choice of pri­mary school then we will work with ex­ist­ing pa­trons to trans­fer pa­tron­age to en­sure they can send their chil­dren to a school which best re­flects their own ethos and be­liefs,’ says the Min­is­ter.

The cur­rent pa­trons of lo­cal schools are the Catholic Arch­bishop of Dublin, the Church of Ire­land Arch­bishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glen­dalough, An Fo­ras Pa­trú­nachta and Ed­u­cate To­gether. Co. Wicklow VEC and An Fo­ras Pa­trú­nachta are the two bod­ies so far to have in­di­cated that they would like to be­come pa­trons.

A code of con­duct has been worked out in con­sul­ta­tion with the pa­tron bod­ies which will limit ex­pen­di­ture on the pro­vi­sion of in­for­ma­tion. Par­ents have un­til Fe­bru­ary 8 to com­plete the sur­vey.

A free helpline is also avail­able in the De­part­ment for any­one who has any dif­fi­cul­ties in com­plet­ing the sur­vey: 1800 303621. The helpline will be open from 9.30 a.m. to 1p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Mon­day to Fri­day. Pa­per based ver­sions of the sur­vey are also avail­able on re­quest.

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