Schools and patronage system

Divestment and transfer of school patronage

Sir, – With respect to the divestment and transfer of school patronage, Sheila Deegan maintains that “school communities themselves don’t always reach a view that a change in school patronage is appropriate” (Letters, May 2nd). It might be worth reflecting on the process schools must go through before a change in patronage can take place. As it stands, Catholic bishops are asked to select schools for potential transfer. Boards of management are then asked – by the bishop who appointed them – if they want to consider giving the school they manage away to another patron. Staff are then asked – by their employer – if they want a different employer. Then parents of children in the school are asked – by a facilitator, but with the patron’s representative present – if they are happy with the patron, or if they would like a change, and they are asked to engage on this question publicly, in front of other members of the school community, who may or may not share their views. So the system is set up at best to make the transfer of patronage very difficult, and at worst to deliberately obstruct it.

Ms Deegan goes on to speculate that the other reason for slow change is because we are we not sure what the alternative might look like, so I would respectfully suggest that she visits one of over 100 Educate Together primary schools in Ireland – the first having been established some 50 years ago – to see what a multidenominational coeducational, child-centred alternative looks like. – Yours, etc,




Co Kildare.