Delegates attending the Educate Together AGM today heard of a “remarkable year” for Educate Together in 2013. The meeting, attended by representatives of Educate Together schools across the country and guests, was held in Balbriggan Educate Together National School.
The meeting heard that Educate Together has seen major progress on a number of fronts. Three new primary schools were established to meet demand for Educate Together schools in Dublin and Cork while permanent new buildings were provided for five established primary schools. Educate Together was selected as preferred patron in 25 towns surveyed as part of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism and the export potential of the Educate Together model of Ethical Education has been confirmed by the recognition of Educate Together as an academy sponsor in England and announcement of a new primary school in Bristol to open in 2014.
2013 also saw successful applications for patronage of five new second-level schools, bringing the number of second-level schools to eight by September 2016.
Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn was the keynote speaker at the AGM. He referred to Educate Together’s growth during his time as Minister, saying “the progress which Educate Together has made over the last three years is an area that I think we should be proud of.” The Minister also committed to identifying permanent solutions for school in temporary accommodation.
In his speech Paul Rowe, CEO, called on the Minister to address the question of funding for independent school management bodies. “We welcome the Minister’s commitment to the provision of more Educate Together school places, in line with parental demand. However, the funding available to independent management bodies for the establishment of new primary and second-level schools currently falls far short of the resources required to do the essential project management, recruitment and community development work required to ensure that the state’s investment in these schools is protected. This needs to be addressed urgently.”
Both Paul Rowe and Minister Quinn called for faster progress towards satisfying parental demand in the 25 areas where surveys have indicated the need for Educate Together schools in the context of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism. Paul Rowe: “We call on the Minister to announce, before the end of this school year, which of these 25 areas will have Educate Together schools open to parents in 2015.”