Much comment has been recently made on the issue of school patronage in Ireland. Educate Together welcomes open debate on the issue – archaic historical references and breezy presumptions of our policy aside.
Much use has also been made of the term ‘Parental Choice’ which is cited as a central policy plank by all interested commentators. However observation of the right to choice without providing an alternative is no choice at all.
The Irish primary school market has fallen out of synch with the market it serves. Demand for multi-denominational alternatives to faith-based schools, is more vocal than ever as the Irish population demographic has become more multi-cultural and European in its outlook.
What is fundamentally at issue is not the desirability of one ethos over another in our schools but rather the provision of viable choice between these options. The time for debate has passed. The Education sector needs to respond in a meaningful way to parental calls for change and transform the school map to reflect the reality of today’s Ireland.