Transferral of school patronage

 

Sir, – In “Parents to be surveyed on demand for non-Catholic schools” (News, May 28th), Carl O’Brien details the new process for the transferral of school patronage to be piloted in 16 areas in the next few weeks.

Educate Together has raised significant issues with this new process in that a selectee – the local ETB (Education and Training Board) as patron of the Community National School model – is being allowed to be a selector. Local ETBs are “leading” the process and the final decision on change of patronage is to be made by the existing patron of a particular Catholic school. It will be interesting to see how the issues of conflict of interest and separation of powers are resolved in this pilot phase.

Of course, any progress in provision of diversity of patronage is to be welcomed. More equality-based schools are urgently required. Educate Together schools often are massively oversubscribed and the organisation is inundated with demands for places in its schools. A total of 64 new Educate Together schools have been opened since 2000 and all are successful, but of late progress has slowed to a trickle. Only one new Educate Together primary school opened in 2017. Some 27 of the 82 Educate Together primary schools also remain in temporary accommodation.

The number of frustrated parents is escalating. Clear departmental action to respond to these families and their children is urgently required. – Yours, etc,

PAUL ROWE,

Chief Executive Officer,

Educate Together,Dublin 7.