National Forum on Patronage and Pluralism: Make Your Voice Heard Now!

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD, has officially launched the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector. The forum has been established to enable greater pluralism in the governance of schools. Parents, patrons, teachers and school communities are being asked to submit their views on the need for diversity and how transfer of patronage might be managed. An advisory group will consider the submissions, and report back to the Minister in the Autumn. Educate Together, as the representative body for multi-denominational schools and those campaigning for them, will be making a detailed submission to the Forum. We are also encouraging individuals, schools and start-up groups to make submissions emphasising the need to improve access to multi-denominational Educate Together schools in Ireland.

Referring to the context of the Forum, Minister Quinn noted the significant societal changes that have taken place in Ireland in recent years have led to an increased demand for new forms of multi-denominational and non-denominational schooling as well as increased demand for Irish language schooling. There are real questions to be answered about the match between our type of school provision, the demand for greater diversity and the make-up of the communities which need to be served. Submissions must be made by 7th June 2011.

Submissions should be sent to or to Breda Naughton, Secretary to the Forum, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 2

Broadly speaking the forum is asking for people’s views on:

1.    Establishing parental and community demand for diversity

2.    Managing the transfer/divesting of patronage

3.    Diversity within a school or small number of schools
The document “Themes for Written Submissions” includes detail and specific questions that may help groups or individuals to write submissions.

*Please note that if you are making a submission advocating the provision of more schools with Educate Together’s specific, equality-based ethos, you should specify that this is the model you are advocating. Be aware that the term “multi-denominational” has also been used in recent times to describe other models, which include faith formation during school hours, for example.