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Secular Schools Ireland to apply to run three new primary schools in Dublin

Some 96% of primary schools are under religious control.

SECULAR SCHOOLS IRELAND (SSI) has announced it will apply to run each of the three new primary schools due to be opened in Dublin next September.

Last month the Department of Education opened the application process for patronage of the schools.

They will serve the following catchment areas:

  • Goatstown/Stillorgan;
  • Cabra/Phibsborough/Dublin 7;
  • Drumcondra/Marino/Dublin 1.

Some 96% of primary schools in Ireland are under religious control.

SSI is a voluntary organisation seeking to establish the country’s first secular primary schools.

“We believe that schools should be truly community based – with all children from the local catchment area welcomed on a first-come first-served basis” SSI director Lefre de Burgh said.

We welcome children of all faiths and none. We just don’t teach religion during the school day and membership of a particular religion is not a criterion for entry to the primary school.

A number of other organisations are applying to run some or all of the schools, including the Educational Society of Ireland and Educate Together. An Foras Pátrúnachta is applying to have two of the new schools (Goatstown and Dublin 1) established as gaelscoileanna.

Clare Spáinneach of Gaelscoileanna Teo told the proposed schools would be multi-denominational, catering for children of all faiths and none, and would practice immersion education, where all subjects are taught through Irish.

download Department of Education Department of Education

In December, the then Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan announced that a rule which allows for the privileged status of religion in primary schools would be removed.

Rule 68 is laid out in a Department of Education document that dates back 50 years.

A recent survey of 1,000 people carried out by EQUATE: Equality in Education, found that 46% of parents would not choose a Christian school for their child if they had a choice locally, and one in five respondents said they were aware of someone who has baptised their child just to get them into the local school.

Read: The UN has called Ireland out on religious schools’ ‘discriminatory admissions policies’

Read: Religious discrimination in schools to be addressed ‘before the next school year’

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