Educate Together is in talks over a possible partnership in running an existing secondary school in the south city area of Dublin.
The multidenominational patron body has started discussions with City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), which could lead to its involvement in running St Kevin's College on the Clogher Road in Crumlin, Dublin 12.
The former vocational school, which has an enrolment of about 200 pupils, is understood to have significant spare capacity.
The move comes amid controversy over whether children in the Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 area will have access to a new secondary school to be built on the site of the former Dublin greyhound stadium in Harold’s Cross.
This new 1,000-pupil post-primary school is set to open in 2020 and will primarily serve the Dublin 6 area.
However, parents in the Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 parts of the city say their children will have no right to attend the school even though many live less than five minutes’ walk away.
They argue that they are severely lacking in choice for multidenominational second level education and want to be able to access the new school.
A campaign group called ETHX - which represents many parents in the Dublin 8 and 12 area - says hundreds of children from the area are currently forced to travel though heavy traffic to schools across the city.
It has called on the Minister for Education Joe McHugh to ensure that students in the Dublin 8 and 12 areas are included in the catchment area for the new Harold’s Cross school.
Mr McHugh is understood to have written to the group to say that existing schools in the Dublin 8 and 12 areas have sufficient capacity to accommodate demand in the area.
While the Harold’s Cross secondary school will primarily serve the Dublin 6 area, it will have additional capacity and it will be open to the school to give priority for these places to feeder schools in surrounding areas.
In addition, Mr McHugh is understood to say that discussions between Educate Together and CDETB have started over a “possible partnership” over the running of a secondary school in the Dublin 8 / 12 area - a reference to St Kevin’s College.
Sources say the Minister is supportive of the initiative which he believes has the potential to increase the diversity of provision in existing schools where a new school is not required.
The letter is also understood to say that the establishment of new secondary schools in other parts of south Dublin should reduce pressure on existing schools.
The parents’ campaign group says that at present children in Dublin 12 currently have no access to second-level multidenominational post-primary schools.
They says families from Dublin 8 must travel across the city to a school in areas such as Sandymount or Blackrock for continuity of ethos.
“These Dublin 8 families are paying to travel to these schools by private bus and pass by the Harold’s Cross site, minutes from their pick-up point,” the campaign wrote, in a recent letter to the Minister.