This week sees the opening of four brand new Educate Together second-level schools in Dublin and Limerick and two brand new national schools in Cork and Dublin. There are now 84 Educate Together primary and 13 second-level schools in Ireland, providing an equality-based school experience to over 25,000 pupils.
This is the second-highest number of second-level schools that Educate Together has opened in one year and is testament to the confidence placed in Educate Together by both the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and students and families throughout Ireland. Educate Together was granted patronage of all of these schools on the basis of parental votes for its equality-based model of education.
New national schools open in Dublin this and next week: Dublin South City ETNS (currently based in temporary accommodation in Griffith Barracks MDS on the South Circular Road) and in Fermoy, Co. Cork (opening under the Government’s ‘divestment / reconfiguration’ process).
The growing number of Educate Together schools outlined above reflects the desire of families to establish schools all over Ireland where all children are welcomed regardless of social, religious or cultural background. It reflects also the ever-growing demand for an equality-based education where no one religion or worldview is given priority over another at school.
Commenting on the opening of these new schools, Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate Together:
“On behalf of the Educate Together community, I would like to welcome all of the students and families starting in new Educate Together schools this year. Our heartfelt congratulations to all the campaign groups who supported these new schools. We are sure these new educational facilities will greatly enhance the options available to families for many years to come.”
The reputation of Educate Together’s equality-based schools continues to grow, nurtured by the example set by existing schools, by the satisfaction of parents and children and by the very fact that Educate Together offers a level of inclusivity, openness and innovation that is unparalleled in the Irish education system.”
Educate Together has applied to open a further four more second-level schools in 2019, and the organisation expects to apply for thirteen national schools due to open in 2019.
Unfortunately none of the Educate Together schools this year will open in their permanent accommodation. This is not ideal for any developing school. Educate Together has communicated concerns to the DES regarding the planning and provision of both temporary and permanent accommodation for new schools many times. Educate Together hopes that opening new schools in permanent accommodation will become the norm in the future.