Changing your school’s patronage to Educate Together

Changing your school’s patronage to Educate Together 

The current Government plan to increase the number of multi-denominational / equality-based schools in Ireland is called ‘schools reconfiguration for diversity’, or ‘reconfiguration’. The aim is to identify religious-run schools in Ireland which could transfer to multi-denominational patronage. In 2024, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to carry out a nationwide survey among parents on their preferences on education and school patronage. Although a timeline has not been announced yet, Educate Together hopes this survey will allow us to bring equality-based education and real school choice to more communities around Ireland.

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 45 years experience of opening, transferring and supporting inclusive, equality-based primary schools.  

Educate Together primary schools are:  

Equality-Based: All children have equal access to the school and no one religion or worldview is given priority over another within the school. This applies to both enrolment and school life.

Child-Centred: Our child-centred approach means that we put children at the heart of all policies and practices and involve them in decision-making where appropriate.

Democratically Run: We run schools on a democratic basis, encouraging active participation by parents and students in the daily life of the school whilst positively affirming the professional role of the teachers.

Co-Educational: All children are encouraged to explore their full range of abilities and are provided with equal opportunities regardless of their gender or identity.


You can find out more about Educate Together’s unique equality-based ethos here 

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.  

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; nominees would be sought from the parent body, teaching staff, and wider community. 

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 a parent or group of parents feels strongly that they want an equality-based education option for their children they may advocate for their local religious-run school to undergo patronage transfer to another patron body like Educate Together.


Department of Education guidelines state that patron bodies such as Educate Together can only have conversations about the possibility of transferring patronage with school boards of management. To initiate this process, parents can make a proposal to the board of their local school. 


If a board of management feels that patronage transfer may be a good fit, it can get in contact directly with Educate Together. This doesn’t mean that the board commits to a patronage transfer, only that it want more information about the process.


Representatives from the school board and the Educate Together national office will discuss the possibility of reconfiguration in more detail. This will only be undertaken as long as both sides feel patronage transfer is in the best interest of the students and the school community.


If agreement is reached the patronage transfer process will begin. This is a lengthy process whereby Educate Together, the principal, teachers, board members and others will work to develop a plan and a timeframe for how the Educate Together ethos can be implemented in the school without disrupting students’ learning.

If you are interested in finding out more about Educate Together and the schools reconfiguration for diversity programme, please complete the form below or email

For more information, contact us at the national office: (01) 429 2500 /