Changing your school’s patronage to Educate Together
The Government has recently announced a new plan to increase the number of multi-denominational / equality-based schools in Ireland. This programme, called ‘schools reconfiguration for diversity’, or ‘reconfiguration,’ will identify religious-run schools in Ireland which could transfer to multi-denominational patronage.
This means that there may be an opportunity for your school to move from its current religious patronage to Educate Together patronage, if there is a desire amongst the school community for change. Educate Together has more than 40 years experience of opening, transferring and supporting inclusive, equality-based primary schools.
Educate Together primary schools:
- teach an Ethical Education curriculum and ensure that all beliefs and worldviews are recognised equally;
- operate a no-uniform policy to recognise the individuality of each child;
- are co-educational and focus on gender equality in the classroom;
- encourage children to use their teachers’ first names, establishing an atmosphere of equality and co-operation during the school day;
- are child-centred – meaning that they put children at the heart of all policies and practices and involve them in decision-making where appropriate;
- are run on a democratic basis, encouraging active participation by parents and students in the daily life of the school;
- are members of a growing national network of equality-based primary and second-level schools in Ireland.
Reasons you may consider changing the patronage of your local school:
- a desire amongst the school community to change the ethos of the school;
- an Educate Together national school may better reflect the demographics of the area and provide an alternative to existing denominational education;
- recognised parental support for the Educate Together model of education;
- perhaps your town has not had sufficient demographic growth to warrant a new school being opened, so the only possibility of an Educate Together school is through an existing school changing patronage.
Educate Together is recognised as Ireland’s foremost provider of equality-based education and our schools are in high demand nationwide.
What is an Educate Together primary school like?
What to expect if your school changes patronage
- Change of ethos: changes would be made over a period of time. Educate Together schools provide a unique, inclusive and equality-based school ethos and are run as participatory democracies, with respectful partnership between parents, pupils and staff.
- A new school name: it is likely that the name of the school would change. This would be in consultation with the school community in accordance with the democratic ethos of Educate Together.
- School staff: teachers would receive training and supports to teach Ethical Education. If a teacher did not wish to commit to the new ethos of the school they could ask to be redeployed to another school with religious patronage.
- School funding: Your school will continue to get the same standard capitation funding from the Department of Education.
- Property: The landowner and the Department would negotiate a long-term lease, with a sub-lease drawn up between the Department and the new patron, Educate Together.
- Sacramental preparation: Educate Together primary schools do not include faith formation during the school day. However, schools make their facilities available for sacramental preparation classes after school or at weekends.
- Board of management: a new board would be appointed.
Educate Together boards of management
Every school in Ireland has a board of management. This board runs the school according to the ethos determined by the patron, in keeping with regulations set by the Department of Education. Boards of management have the same structure in all primary schools and have the following members: chairperson; patron nominee; principal; teacher nominee; two parent nominees; two community nominees.
The chairperson and patron nominee are appointed by the patron. Educate Together’s patron nominee(s) to a board would typically be local – perhaps people linked to other Educate Together schools in the area, or volunteers that have worked towards the change management process, for example.
The next steps
If you would like to explore the possibility of your school changing patronage to Educate Together, there are a few steps:
- If you are a parent or staff member, you can approach your school’s board of management with your proposal. Please note that Educate Together can only consider approaches from a school’s board of management.
- The board of management can approach Educate Together by calling our national office on 01 429 2500 or on email: email@example.com.
- Educate Together will engage with school representatives and the Department to assess whether changing patronage is feasible.
- The board of management, in consultation with the existing patron and the school community, will decide on whether to change the patronage of the school.
- Following this, Educate Together will liaise with the Department of Education and all other relevant stakeholders.
- Educate Together will offer a range of supports to school communities which opt to change the patronage to Educate Together’s ethos.
If you are interested in finding out more about Educate Together and the schools reconfiguration for diversity programme, please complete the form below:
For more information, contact us at the national office: (01) 429 2500 / firstname.lastname@example.org