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Surveys offer parents chance to pick preferred school type

Surveys offer parents chance to pick preferred school type

Parents in five areas where just one of the 26 local primary schools is multi-denominational will have a chance to pick their preferred school type from this morning.

The surveys are the first of 44 to be carried out before Christmas in areas where there is little or no choice apart from Catholic or other religious schools. They may lead to the landmark step of local bishops handing over school facilities if parental demand for alternative patrons emerges.   The use of the questionnaire by families in Arklow, Co Wicklow; Castlebar, Co Mayo; Tramore, Co Waterford; Trim, Co Meath; and Whitehall in Dublin will be used as a pilot exercise for the remaining 39 areas where Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has ordered information on demand for different school patrons.

As well as limited school patron choices, the areas have settled populations, making them ineligible in the near future for new schools to be built and offered to non-religious patrons. The parents of existing primary pupils and preschool children are being asked if they want a greater choice of patronage of school type, to include preferences for English or all-Irish schools and mixed or single-sex provision.

The Department of Education asked prospective patrons who might be interested in running a primary school, in 44 areas in June after publication of the report of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector set up by Mr Quinn last year.   The five areas in the pilot survey have 26 primary schools between them but the only multi-denominational school in all five is in Whitehall in Dublin.

“Modern Ireland is hugely diverse and we have to be sure that our schools cater for this diversity. While we owe a debt to religious bodies for their contribution to education, there is now the potential for change within the primary patronage system to better reflect our society,” Mr Quinn said.

“I am urging all eligible parents to make sure that their voices are heard by taking part in these surveys. This is a historic opportunity for parents to reshape the primary school landscape for generations to come.”

* Pilot area surveys are online at and a helpline is available on 1800 30 36 21.
Foilsithe ar 22 Deireadh Fómhair 2012 / Foilsithe ar - 22 Deireadh Fómhair 2012

Seans go mbeidh spéis agat sna scéalta a leanas:

As na Nuachtáin: Surveys on primary school patronage to begin

As na Nuachtáin: A parental poll on school patronage

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