Patronage survey for primary schools
WICKLOW PARENTS TO HAVE THEIR SAY
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.