Educate Together Makes History With New Second-level Schools in Dublin and Louth

Long awaited second-level school model to become a reality for parents in Blanchardstown West and Drogheda.

Parents in Blanchardstown West and Drogheda have welcomed the announcement that Educate Together second-level schools are to be opened in their areas. In a historic move, Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, announced today that Educate Together will be involved in the patronage of two of the 14 new second-level schools planned to open in 2013 and 2014.

Speaking on today’s announcement, Michael McLoughlin, Chair of the Dublin 15 Educate Together Second-level Campaign Group, said:

‘We are delighted. After all the hard work parents in the area have put in, the dream that our children will be able to attend an Educate Together second-level school is to become a reality. We are looking forward to working with Educate Together and the whole community to make the Blanchardstown West school a high quality, welcoming option for families in the area..

Speaking about today’s announcement, Alec McAllister, Chair of Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School Action Group said:

We're very excited about the road ahead, and look forward to working with Co Louth VEC on a new community school, the first of its type in the country.”

Educate Together will be the first new entrant to second-level education since the 1930s. Its Blueprint for second-level schools has been praised by educationalists, activists, parents and business leaders. As well as the two schools announced today, Educate Together is already working in partnership with Co. Dublin VEC to provide a new community college in South Lucan that will also be committed to implementing the Blueprint.

Speaking about the five year project which has led to this decision, Emer Nowlan, Head of Education and Network Development said:

Educate Together would like to thank all the volunteers, supporters, teachers, parents and pupils who have worked hard to make this happen. Because of the sustained and collaborative efforts of all concerned, we are now in the best possible position to provide an exciting and relevant new educational option for families”.

“We are particularly happy to be working in partnership with Co. Louth VEC in Drogheda, and with Co. Dublin VEC in South Lucan. Educate Together is committed to working in close partnership with the State and local communities to provide high quality schools which meet the needs of modern Irish society”.

Paul Rowe, CEO:

“The need for innovation at second-level has never been more urgent. The content-driven, rote learning model is no longer relevant in today’s rapidly changing, information rich society. Young people need to be engaged; these new schools will nurture critical and creative thinking and ethical citizenship – developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes students need to live, learn and work in modern, globalized societies.”

Educate Together would like to thank the Government, and in particular, the contribution of the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD, for supporting Educate Together’s second-level campaign. Thanks are also due to the TDs and Senators  – both independents and party-affiliated representatives – who have supported the campaign over the past five years.

Finally, Emer Nowlan expressed regret concerning the thousands of families who had campaigned for Educate Together schools, but who would not benefit from today’s announcement:

“We should also remember that there are many disappointed families whose local campaigns – past and present – did not result in Educate Together school places for their children. They should feel proud of their contribution; their efforts have been vital in making today’s announcement happen.” 

Paul Rowe said:

“While the announcement of the first Educate Together second-level schools represents a major breakthrough for parents and for Irish education, decisions in Lusk and Greystones leave thousands of parents along the East Coast without their choice of school. 5,000 families in North and South Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford have now clearly communicated their preference for an Educate Together second-level school, but their voices have not yet been heard. It is clear that further improvements will have to be made to the system if it is to result in sufficient diversity to ensure choice for parents. Educate Together is committed to working with the Department of Education and Skills and the education partners to find creative solutions to meet the needs of these families.

Educate Together second-level schools:           


To open


Blanchardstown West


Voluntary secondary school (Educate Together as patron)



New type of community school (Joint patronage between Educate Together and and Co. Louth VEC)

Clonburris, South Lucan


Community College (Co. Dublin VEC as patron working ‘in formal partnership with Educate Together’)


Others have also welcomed the move:

Dylan Grace, President of the Irish Second-level Students’ Union said: 

“Educate Together finally becoming a second-level patron will set the tone for the education reform agenda. Curricula and syllabi reforms have been plentiful, but school patronage has been an issue long in need of reform and ISSU is glad to see that it is finally happening. This will help to create a modern education system for a modern Ireland.” 

Tony Donohue, Head of Education Policy, IBEC, said:

“The availability of choice for students and parents can be a powerful stimulus for improving the quality of school and educational outcomes. It can also enhance the responsiveness of schools to meeting the challenges of a changing environment. Educate Together has demonstrated a commitment to providing the type of advanced teaching methods and 21st century learning environment which will be critical for Ireland's economic recovery.” 

Áine Hyland, former Professor of Education and Vice President of UCC, and a founder member of the first Educate Together school said:

"Recognition of Educate Together as Patron of Drogheda and Blanchardstown West and is wonderful news for the sector. Educate Together has struggled long and hard for this recognition and it is fantastic that the hard work and persistence of parents and supporters has paid off at last.  I am confident that the new schools will be a resounding success and I look forward to many more Educate Together second level schools in the years to come".