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Teachers call for reduced Church control of schools

Primary school teachers will also vote on a motion to maintain their pay levels as set out under the Croke Park deal.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

TEACHERS ARE URGING greater diversity in the patronage of primary schools, in what amounts to a call for more schools to be run by organisations other than the Catholic Church.

Members of the Irish National Teacher’s Organisation (INTO), whose annual congress begins today in Killarney, will vote on a motion calling for “systematic and planned measures” to make sure that schools are managed by a variety of different organisations.

The motion put forward by the Central Executive Committee of the primary teachers’ union welcomes the work of the Forum on Pluralism and Patronage, which was established by education minister Ruairí Quinn as a mechanism for allocating the future management of Ireland’s schools.

It says “systematic and planned measures to ensure diversity of school patronage” should be put in place, alongside plans to make sure that “all schools cater effectively for diversity in the school community”.

INTO members will also vote on motions calling for a reversal in the Government’s controversial Budget cuts to small schools, and for the Croke Park deal on pay and pensions to be maintained and protected.

Meanwhile, one motion condemns “the deliberate and concerted attempt by politicians and sectors of the media to denigrate the professionalism and expertise of teachers”, which it says has led to a “deplorable deterioration in working conditions and job satisfaction”.

More: Rising student numbers means 3,000 extra teachers needed – union>

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Michael Freeman

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