Statement on State Commitments to Catholic Church on Education

Educate Together welcomes today’s release of the documentation on the teaching of religion in Community National Schools. Educate Together has consistently highlighted equality concerns over the Community National School model’s need to separate children by religious belief.

Paul Rowe, Educate Together CEO:

The Community National Schools were conceived as the State’s response to the need for the more widespread availability of multi-denominational education. However the design of the model was fundamentally flawed by the requirement for faith formation within school hours. This cannot be achieved in a multi-denominational school without the identification and separation of children according to their belief. It is impossible to treat children equally in this environment.’

He continues:

Educate Together has operated a highly successful inclusive ethical education curriculum within school hours for over 30 years. Critical to its success has been the operation of optional faith formation classes outside school hours. In this way we guarantee parents that their children have equality of esteem regardless of their social, cultural or religious backgrounds’.

Educate Together is calling for the immediate publication of the evaluation reports that were to have been produced within the first 5 years of the Community National School pilot scheme. Paul Rowe again:

We are calling for any further expansion plans for Community National Schools to be deferred until the schools have been properly evaluated and this fundamental flaw in the design of their model has been corrected’.