This week the Educate Together national office is launching an election awareness campaign –Treating All Children Equally. Educate Together’s campaign focuses on key issues facing our network of schools and the wider education system in Ireland: school choice, economic inequality, additional needs provision and school accommodation.
At the heart of this campaign is the necessity for Ireland’s political class to accept the reality of providing for a school system fit for the twenty-first century. To do this, voters should challenge candidates to support and champion real investment in our education system.
Educate Together believes that all children should have access to equality-based schools. Children have the right to be free from discrimination of any kind, irrespective of social, cultural or religious background. Educate Together is encouraging voters to ask political candidates:
- how they propose to increase the number of equality-based primary and second-level schools in Ireland?
- if they will support divesting more schools from religious patronage in their constituency with the support of the community?
Economic inequality in education
Educate Together believes that all children should benefit from our education system regardless of socio-economic background. Schools should be properly funded by the State. However, the cost of putting just one child through school can easily run into tens of thousands of euro. Educate Together is encouraging voters to ask political candidates:
- what they will do to ensure that free education means free education?
- what they will do to alleviate school costs for families?
- if they will commit to a radical increase in the capitation grant for schools?
Educate Together believes that all children deserve to learn in a place that is safe, warm and local with adequate space to learn, play and exercise. However, too many new schools in Ireland open in ‘temporary accommodation’, often in substandard conditions, lacking in basic facilities. Educate Together is encouraging voters to ask political candidates:
- how they will ensure that any new school in your constituency opens on time and in modern, safe facilities?
- if they will commit to supporting legislation that all new housing estates must have schools ready for the families who move in?
Additional needs provision
Educate Together believes that all children with additional needs should have the supports that they need, when they need them. Educate Together is concerned about the quality of educational provision for children with additional needs. A lack of investment in additional education supports means that more and more children are not getting the right kind of education and are struggling. Educate Together is encouraging voters to ask political candidates:
- if they will commit to improving targeted funding for schools so that children with additional needs can receive the right supports?
As part of the Treating All Children Equally campaign, Educate Together is reaching out to all election candidates, and to our network of schools, campaign groups and supporters with information and advice.
The 2020 General Election offers the people of Ireland the opportunity of electing a Government that is genuinely committed to reform and improvement in our education system.
You can find more information on the campaign here