Educate Together is today calling on the Government to increase the supply of multi-denominational national schools in the south of Dublin as a matter of urgency.
Currently, there are not enough school places to cater for the growing number of families seeking an alternative to denominational education across the south of the city: in Dublin 2, Dublin 4, Dublin 6, Dublin 8 and Dublin 10.
Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe has called for urgent action:
“Simply put, Dublin city needs more Educate Together schools. Evidence of growing parental demand is undeniable – our schools and start-up groups are reporting that hundreds of children are being signed up to our already over-subscribed waiting lists.”
Demand for school places is particularly acute in Dublin 2 and Dublin 8. This situation will be relieved somewhat by the opening of Portobello Educate Together NS in September 2013. However, one new single-stream school cannot hope to accommodate the thousands of families who’ve pre-enrolled over the last three years, and additional provision is desperately needed.
Educate Together is also looking to expand the current capacity of existing school buildings. A longstanding campaign is underway to transform Griffith Barracks Multi-Denominational School, which is a popular, single stream school stuck in deteriorating portacabins, into a fully equipped 16-classroom building with double the capacity.
Demand is just as strong in Dublin 4. The Department of Education and Skills recently announced that a new primary school will open in the Sandymount/ Ringsend area in 2014. This is great news for local parents who have been campaigning tirelessly for a multi-denominational school option. Educate Together has applied for patronage in this area, and we expect an announcement from the Department in the Autumn.
Support for establishing new Educate Together schools in Dublin 6 and Dublin 10 is also growing. Parents in the Harolds Cross/ Rathmines area, and parents in the Ballyfermot/Chapelizod/ Palmerstown/Cherry Orchard areas recently filled out online patronage surveys, which demonstrated that there is sufficient demand for new Educate Together schools.
The Archbishop of Dublin, who is patron of existing Catholic schools in Dublin, is now preparing a report for the Department on how to ensure the demand for Educate Together schools in these areas can be met using existing school provisions.
Paul Rowe again:
“We are calling for urgent action from the Department of Education and Skills, from Dublin City Council, from local politicians, business and community groups and our fellow school patrons to help us to address the overwhelming demand for the Educate Together school model in the city.”
“It is unconscionable that today in our capital, increasing numbers of parents are compelled to send their children to denominational schools against their conscience and lawful preference. This is completely unacceptable in a modern democratic state and is an issue that we all must work to resolve. If Dublin is to prosper as a gateway city to the EU, it must have a balanced education system in which children or all backgrounds are equally respected.”