Educate Together has welcomed the announcement of urgently needed plans to expand educational provision in South Kildare, while expressing surprise and disappointment that these plans will not provide an additional option for parents seeking diversity of school choice in the area through a trustee partnership.
It was announced yesterday that the Curragh Post Primary School will be expanded and moved to an 8-acre site on the Magee Barracks site in Kildare town.
Parents in South Kildare have been campaigning for an Educate Together second-level option for the area since 2014. In December 2018, the then Minister for Education Joe McHugh TD announced the replacement and expansion of the Curragh Post Primary School with a new 1,000 pupil school building, with the potential for Educate Together to become a Trustee Partner for the school.
Educate Together agreed to work with Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) to explore whether a partnership could be established to meet the demand for school places in the area. Educate Together held meetings with the ETB between 2018 and 2020 and proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). However, the ETB has now declined to enter into a partnership arrangement, preferring instead to continue to operate Curragh Post Primary School without Educate Together’s involvement as a Trustee Partner.
While Educate Together welcomes the provision of these additional school places, the school patron body is extremely disappointed for the many families who have campaigned over the years, that Kildare Wicklow ETB has declined an offer to work with Educate Together in relation to an ETB / Educate Together partnership school, as originally envisaged.
Educate Together will be seeking clarity from the Department about how it intends to address the demand for Educate Together provision in the area.
Speaking about yesterday’s announcement, Dr Emer Nowlan, CEO of Educate Together said:
“We welcome the announcement that the Magee Barracks site is to be used for much-needed additional school places, and wish the staff and school community of Curragh Post-Primary School well in their move to Kildare town. However, we share the disappointment of hundreds of families in South Kildare who campaigned over many years for the choice of an Educate Together second-level school for the area.”
Educate Together is patron of three primary schools in Kildare, and is joint patron with KWETB of Celbridge Community School.
Information about Educate Together at second-level:
Of Educate Together’s 21 post-primary schools, 17 are voluntary secondary schools and four are partnership schools. In partnership schools Educate Together works with a local ETB to support schools either as community schools or ‘designated’ Educate Together community colleges:
- Celbridge Community School (joint patron with KWETB)
- Ballymakenny College (joint patron with Louth Meath ETB)
- Kishoge Community College (trustee partner with Dublin Dun Laoghaire ETB)
- Clonturk Community College (trustee partner with City of Dublin ETB)
This innovative partnership school model has proved successful and popular with a wide range of parents in in Lucan and Dublin 9. In addition, there are MOUs in place between Educate Together and City of Dublin ETB in relation to partnership schools Cabra and Crumlin, and between Educate Together and Wexford Waterford ETB in relation to a partnership school in Wexford Town.