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Minister for Education Norma Foley Leah Farrell/Rolling News

Calls for Foley to 'press ahead' with parent survey on school patronage promised last September

The government has set a target of 400 multi-denominational primary schools by 2030.

EDUCATE TOGETHER, THE multi-denominational school patronage body, has called on the government to immediately commence a promised national parents survey, and to increase the provision of Educate Together schools.

Educate Together CEO Emer Nowlan, made the comments at an event yesterday marking the tranfer of patronage of Paradise Place Educate Together National School  – formerly St Mary’s Primary School – in Phibsborough.

“We want more schools around Ireland to have the opportunity to transfer patronage, as we know that there are many thousands more families around the country who also want the choice of an Educate Together school for their community” she said.

“We are asking the Minister to press ahead with the planned national survey so that the voices of parents and staff seeking change can be heard”.

Educate Together_ParadisePlace-02 Educate Together CEO Emer Nowlan speaking at a transfer of patronage event in Phibsoborough.

Under the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process, the government has committed to “supporting the transfers of schools to multi-denominational patrons in response to the wishes of school communities.”

The state has committed to a target of 400 multi-denominational primary schools by 2030. However, Educate Together have criticised the current rate of progress, as only 12 schools have opened under the process since it was first launched in 2012.

A survey of parents was promised by the department in September 2023, and again in December.

In May of this year, in response to a parliamentary question by Fianna Fáil TD Seán Haughey, Minister for Education Norma Foley said that a “significant amount of work” had been done by the department to prepare for a potential parents survey, and that details would be available in due course.

Speaking at an event on Wednesday, Foley restated the government’s commitment to running a national survey. She also outlined three main questions that will be asked: what is parents’ preferred ethos, what is their preferred language medium – English or Irish – and whether they would prefer coed or single sex schools.

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