St Enda’s National School on Whitefriar Street, Dublin 8, is to transfer from Catholic patronage to the local Education and Training Board and become a multi-denominational Community National School, the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, has said.
Ms Foley said the ethos of the school will be changing from Catholic to multi-denominational and that she wanted to thank the school patron and trustees of St Enda’s for their positive, constructive engagement with the process.
She also congratulated the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) as incoming patron and thanked the facilitator appointed by her department to engage with the school community for the purposes of the transfer.
The transfer was agreed as part of a pilot process announced in March 2022 to reconfigure schooling in areas of a number of cities and towns that have no multidenominational primary schools.
The Department of Education, with the co-operation of the relevant Catholic Bishops, is conducting the pilot programme in areas where possible demand for more diversity in school type has been identified.
“I am delighted that this transfer of patronage will increase diversity of provision and that there will be a multi-denominational primary school option for parents in the area”, the Minister said in relation to the Whitefriar Street school.
[ Reconfiguring school patronage can work if Church and State co-operate for the common good ]
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Farrell, said the transfer was happening with his full agreement. “I wish to express my sincere thanks to all those involved in this consultation process, in particular the school staff, board of management, parents, and the school and parish community who were part of the process,” he said.
“A particular word of thanks to the Carmelite Order for the manner in which they have facilitated and provided for primary education in Saint Enda’s over many many years,” he said.
“I once again, as Patron of primary schools, confirm my support for the reconfiguration of patronage within the Archdiocese in order to reflect the growing diversity of Irish society. I look forward to continuing cooperation with the Department of Education in order to bring this about.”
The Archbishop said consensus was essential for the reconfiguration process, and that there were no easy solutions to what was a complex problem.
“I, along with other Catholic patrons, will continue to work with the Department to identify remaining barriers to the building of that consensus. This includes reassuring Catholic parents that their choice of a school with a Catholic patronage and ethos will continue to be secured and facilitated within the education system.”
Dr Christy Duffy, Chief Executive of CDETB, said the transfer was a really important moment for parents and children in the local Dublin 8 community.
“It is really important that the wishes of local communities in Dublin for state-run, multi-denominational primary education is met,” he said.
“This well-established school has delivered quality primary education with distinction through the years and is now making history as the first primary school to become a Community National School in Dublin city,” said CDETB director, Mark McDonald.
The Programme for Government includes a commitment to provide at least 400 multidenominational primary schools by 2030 so as to improve parental choice.
As well as Dublin, the pilot scheme is also looking at potential transfers of patronage in Arklow, Athlone, Cork, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick and Youghal.