Lovely day for a leaflet drop
Out and about in Raheny this afternoon updating people on the Raheny School Review. You can see the response from the minister to the question put in by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin below
“QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER ON 02/02/2023
Question Number(s): 93 Question Reference(s): 4714/23
Asked by: Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D.: To ask the Minister for Education the status of the Raheny primary school reconfiguration review undertaken by her Department and the Catholic Church Archdiocese.
Minister for Education:
The Government’s objective is to have at least 400 multi-denominational schools in the primary system by 2030 to improve parental choice. I fully support this commitment and I am working with my Department and stakeholders in this respect. In recent years there has been progress towards increasing the numbers of multi-denominational primary schools with the vast majority of new primary schools established to cater for demographic demand in the last decade having a multi-denominational ethos. In March 2022 I announced that arrangements are being put in place in a number of towns and areas of cities that have no multi-denominational primary schools to identify potential schools and to engage with school authorities, school staff and the school communities with a view to agreeing on a transfer of patronage and change of ethos, where there is sufficient demand for this. The ongoing pilot process includes 63 schools in the cities of Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick and the Arklow, Athlone, Dundalk and Youghal areas.
The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process, supporting transfers of schools to multi-denominational patrons in response to the wishes of local communities, has been developed in order to accelerate the delivery of multi-denominational schools across the country. Where a school transfers from the patronage of one patron to another, the school remains open with the same roll number and operating from the same school property. All State-funded primary schools follow a common national curriculum and are subject to the same rules and regulations. The pilot areas are parts of the cities of Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick and also the Arklow, Athlone, Dundalk and Youghal areas. The Council for Education of the Irish Episcopal Conference (representing the Catholic patrons) and relevant Bishops have confirmed their willingness to engage and co-operate fully with my Department in seeking to facilitate a more diverse school patronage in these towns and cities.
My Department has made available a number of independent facilitators, who are former senior inspectors, across the pilot areas to work with the school patron and relevant school authorities at a local level. This work involves engagement with school authorities, school staff and parents with a view to agreeing on a transfer of patronage and change of ethos, where there is sufficient demand for this. This process is about providing information and engaging with, and seeking feedback from, the school community. In respect of the engagement with the three schools in Raheny, the facilitator has completed their information meetings with the relevant boards of management, Principals, staff and parents of pupils in each school. Before and after each engagement with a stakeholder, the facilitator and patron’s representative engaged to consider the views expressed and queries raised. The facilitator is now preparing their preliminary report based on their engagement with the relevant stakeholders. It is intended that this preliminary report will be circulated to the Raheny school communities, who can provide feedback and share their views with the facilitator and my Department via the dedicated reconfiguration e-mail address.
The facilitator will then consider any feedback submitted by the school community via the dedicated e-mail address and may reflect this in their final report to the school patron as appropriate. After the school patron receives the facilitator’s report, the patron can reflect on the level of demand as indicated in the report. The patron should then communicate with the schools on whether there is sufficient demand for transfer of patronage and change of ethos or whether the school community wishes to remain under Catholic Church patronage.”