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Campaign to set up Educate Together secondary school in Dublin

New ET secondary schools are planned for Blanchardstown and Lucan – but parents say there’s a demand in the city itself.

Children from Portobello Educate Together attend a rally for a new school facility in 2010. There are five ET primary schools in Dublin city - but no secondary schools.
Children from Portobello Educate Together attend a rally for a new school facility in 2010. There are five ET primary schools in Dublin city - but no secondary schools.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 11:33

PARENTS IN DUBLIN are to step up their campaign to set up an Educate Together secondary school within Dublin city – the first within the boundaries of any of the country’s five cities.

The Dublin City Educate Together Second-level Action Group is to meet in the city centre tomorrow night to discuss a campaign for seeking the establishment of a non-denominational secondary school in the capital.

The meeting – which intends to serve as a briefing for parents, politicians and the media on the campaign’s progress so far – will be addressed by broadcaster Olivia O’Leary.

There are currently five Educate Together primary schools within the Dublin City Council area, with a total enrolment of about 1,200 pupils – but there are no immediate plans for a secondary school within the city boundaries.

The first Educate Together secondary schools in Ireland are not due to open until September 2014 – with facilities in Drogheda, Blanchardstown and Lucan – though neither of the two Dublin locations will lie within the city boundaries.

‘Excessive demand’ for other secondary schools

Parents said the campaign for a school within the capital itself has been prompted by overcrowding and excessive demand for secondary schools within the city – which had left some children simply unable to secure a place in any local secondary school.

On top of this, the growing enrolment numbers at the five Educate Together primary schools has compounded what parents see as the urgent need for a secondary school with a similar ethos to that of the primary schools their children are currently attending.

Group spokesperson Nuala Finnegan said it had secured assurances from parents of over 2,000 city children, who asserted their plans to send a child to a secondary Educate Together school if this option was available.

“As a parent I want to be able to choose an Educate Together Second-level school for my children,” she said.

“I have found that the choice for second-level [education] in Dublin is extremely limited, particularly in light of the oversubscribed state of the school system.”

The establishment of an Educate Together secondary school in the capital may still be some years away, however.

The Department of Education’s plans for school construction, which outline building projects to be pursued up to 2015, does not include any new post-primary schools within the Dublin city region – with any new schools instead planned for the South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Fingal counties.

Author’s note: This article originally, and incorrectly, stated that the meeting in question had taken place last night (Monday). It is, in fact, taking place tomorrow evening (Wednesday). We regret this error and are happy to correct it.

Read: Multi-denominational Educate Together to run secondary schools

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Gavan Reilly

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