Parents who have been campaigning for greater multi-denominational secondary education in the Dublin area have welcomed changes in the patronage of two schools.
Educate Together, a multi-denominational patron, and the State body which runs Cabra Community College in Dublin 7 and St Kevin's College in Crumlin, Dublin 12 are to work together as "patron partners" for the schools.
These two areas have seen growing demand for multi-denominational education in recent years, but parents have said there have been few options locally at second level.
Both schools have been struggling with low pupil numbers over recent years and were run under the patronage of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB).
In a joint statement, both Educate Together and CDETB said their aim is to ensure the provision of education locally for the two schools is of the highest quality, co-educational and equality-based.
Planning has commenced and it is envisaged that the process of changing to the new partnership will take about two years.
Carol Hanney, chief executive of CDETB said the new partnership aims to build on the success of a similar arrangement in Clonturk College in Dublin 9.
“The two colleges are embedded in their communities and will be offering an inclusive education where children of all faiths and none will be welcomed and respected,” she said.
“ I look forward to working with Educate Together in the next year as we plan this exciting adventure.”
Paul Rowe, chief executive of Educate Together said the new partnership will improve parental choice in urban areas where establishing a new school is not an option.
“I am delighted that Educate Together and CDETB have agreed to work together to support the transition of these two school communities and demonstrate a model that could be replicated elsewhere” he said.
“ There is a real chance that this initiative may prove to be a template for further partnerships in other parts of the country.”
Parents in the Dublin 7 and Ashtown area of Dublin have welcomed the development.
In a statement, the Dublin 7 and Ashtown Secondary Options campaign said parents can “take pride that their strong campaigning for improved choice in second-level education over the past year has paid off”.
It said the year has seen public meetings, hearty debates and hundreds of letters and representations made by individuals, public representatives and the Campaign itself to schools, governing bodies and Government.
“Today’s announcement to develop Cabra Community College as a centre of excellence in second-level education will be a huge boost for the community,” it said.
“The success of the school will depend on the support of the community. We look forward to working with the school and its patrons as they share plans for the school.”