It is with deep regret that having yesterday (Tuesday 20 November) received an invitation from the Department of Education and Skills to apply for four new national schools opening in 2020, Educate Together has made the decision that it will apply for the patronage of the new primary schools in Carrigaline and in Sallynoggin/Killiney/DLR/Cherrywood but will not apply for patronage of schools to serve Donabate and Newcastle/Rathcoole/Saggart. This is as a result of the new schools in these two areas being “pre-designated” as Gaelscoileanna.
Despite the Department’s claim that ‘parental preferences are central to the patronage process’, both of these schools have been predesignated as Irish medium schools. This predesignation provides less choice for parents in these areas as they will now no longer have the option to choose the language of instruction for their school. In effect, parental choice in this matter has been curtailed in Donabate and Newcastle/Rathcoole/Saggart.
Educate Together acknowledges the support of parents in Donabate and Newcastle/Rathcoole/Saggart to establish new Educate Together schools in their areas as the existing Educate Together schools are very oversubscribed. However, after serious consideration of how this predesignation of Irish medium disenfranchises parents in expressing their choice, coupled with a lack of resources to deliver quality Irish medium education, it has decided to not apply for patronage of the schools in these areas.
Educate Together has written to the Minister on this issue and hopes to meet with him and his officials in the near future to discuss practical solutions that satisfy the largest number of parents possible and avoids the risk of disenfranchising the lawful preference of a significant number of families.
For the avoidance of doubt, this statement does not preclude Educate Together from seeking the patronage of Irish medium schools in the future or working with existing partners to deliver the Educate Together model and curriculum through Irish.
See Educate Together’s previous statement on this matter, dated 3rd September 2019.