The Department of Education and Skills has appointed Educate Together as patron of eight new schools opening in 2012 and 2013:
Five new Educate Together primary schools will open this September. Ashbourne, Ballinteer, Stepaside, Citywest and Kildare Town.
2013 will see schools opening in Firhouse, and Carpenterstown in Dublin, and Douglas/Rochestown in Co. Cork.
Commenting on the announcement, Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe said:
‘We are delighted with today’s announcement. Five of the seven schools opening this year will be Educate Together schools. Congratulations to the start up groups in all these areas. We look forward to working with the local community, local authorities and the Department to make sure these schools open as efficiently as possible. These schools represent a really positive step in our work to give Irish parents a choice of school type for their children’s education’.
Today’s announcement will be warmly welcomed by the parent groups that have campaigned for years for access to Educate Together schools in their communities. Martin O’Flaherty, Chairman of the South Dublin ET Start-up Group is celebrating the success of their campaign for an Educate Together school:
“We are all ecstatic at the news. We started out as a group of 3-4 local parents that quickly grew to the point where we had over 400 families on our expression of interest list. Today’s announcement makes all the hard work over the last few years worthwhile. It truly is an exciting time for all of us and for South Dublin.”
The final decision on patronage for the new schools was made by Minister Ruairi Quinn TD, which largely followed the recommendations of the New Schools Establishment Group. Paul Rowe again:
‘We have noted the Minister’s change of patronage designation in Mallow, where parents seeking an Educate Together school are particularly disappointed. We are also keen that decisions be made as soon as possible in Riverstown/Glanmire (Cork) and Knocknacarra (Galway), where parents are also seeking Educate Together schools’.
The announcement issued by the Department today also made reference to the plans by the Minister for a working group to report on the operation of Community National Schools, four more of which were also announced today. Educate Together has also welcomed the announcement of the review, which is expected to re-examine the faith formation within school hours approach of the Community National Schools.