Educate Together are delighted to announce the approval of five new Educate Together schools due to open in September 2005.
Educate Together currently operates 35 schools nationwide and is working with an increasing numbers of voluntary community groups across the country.
The new schools will be located in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, Tyrrelstown, Co Dublin, Gorey, Co Wexford, Galway North/Claregalway and Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
The progress of the sector is a strong indication of the growing demand from the general public for schools that respect and cherish the identity of children from all religious, social and cultural backgrounds.
New national schools are not initiated by the Department of Education & Science, but by voluntary groups of parents. It is these groups which manage the entire process of opening a new school, with no State funding until they open their doors. Their commitment, energy and vision is to be applauded. Without these volunteers the national school system, as we know it, would not exist. Educate Together look forward to working in partnership with the other education partners to ensure adequate resources, training and supports are provided to all volunteers working within the national school system, including those involved in the development of new schools.
“This is a great day for parents around the country who have dedicated their time, resources and energy to the establishment of multi-denominational schools in their communities. There is still a long way to go to ensure that no family has to travel more than 30 minutes to a multi-denominational state school, and we welcome the commitment of the Minister for Education & Science to the provision of equal access to all families to an Educate Together school. We look forward to working with the Department of Education & Science to ensure that the above schools are provided with the adequate resources and accommodation, to meet the needs of their school community in September this year.” Jane Mc Carthy, Development Officer, Educate Together.
Educate Together has been highlighting the human rights violations inherent in State inactivity with regard to choice and the lack of multi-denominational school provision. Educate Together recently took its case to the United Nations under the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The UN found in its favour and issued a recommendation to the Irish State that it promote the development of multi-denominational schools in Ireland.
There is now an urgent need for the Irish State to take action to provide real support for the planned development of a national network of multi-denominational schools. It is unacceptable that the body addressing this important social need has to operate on a total State grant of €39,800 per year. In 2003, Educate Together paid more in tax to the government than it received in this grant.