Patronage model of education is flawed


Sir, – Much of the debate on the separation of church and state, particularly with regard to the patronage of schools, has focused primarily on the numerical dominance of the Catholic Church as patron. It appears that nobody is questioning the principle of patronage as a management model for our schools. Inevitably when the issue is debated it is always in terms of the exposure of the children to religious values. There is very little analysis of the competency or appropriateness of non-elected, self-appointed interest groups, with their own agendas, managing our schools. In some instances these groups have no background in the provision of education. There are approximately 15 patron bodies of primary schools in Ireland, some of which manage as few as two or three schools. Let’s debate the real issue and bring our education system into line with the European Court of Justice ruling that it is this State, and not subsidiary groups called patrons, that is responsible for what happens in our schools.


Dunsany, Co Meath.