Educate Together schools are founded on four core principles, one of which is democracy. In the context of school life, parents are actively encouraged to take part in their child’s education. This was a radical concept when introduced by Educate Together in the 1970s. Up to that point parents had little insight into their child’s school life beyond the brief window the annual parent-teacher meeting offered.
Parental involvement in Educate Together schools can encompass all aspects of school life from formal structures like the Board of Management, the Parent Teacher Association, Faith Formation Groups and Extra Curricular Organisers through to more hands on voluntary roles within the school day. No Educate Together school could operate fully without the support and involvement of its parent body. All parental involvement in school life is undertaken in the full understanding of the professional role of the teacher in the classroom and the formal education of the child.
Establishment of a new school
Educate Together schools are established in an area following an engagement process with local parents. A start-up group is established which liaises with the National Office staff and assists with establishing the extent and longer term potential of local parental support for the school.
The establishment of any new school can be a long process that continues for many years. At present Educate Together is working with over 40 active start-up groups around the country – all made up of parents who want an Educate Together school for their children. In recent years Educate Together has grown substantially and has opened 21 schools in the last 5 years. Parental support of these campaigns has been critical to the successful establishment of these schools.