School patronage in Ireland

In the Irish national school system, each school has a patron. The patron typically sets up the school, defines the characteristic ethos of the school and has an ongoing relationship with the school. Individual schools are managed by boards of management on behalf of the patron. In Ireland, Catholic bishops accounted for the majority of school patrons, until the establishment of the equality-based school movement.

Educate Together’s patronage functions include:

  • Establishing a new school, in consultation with the Department of Education
  • Directly appointing two patron nominees to an Educate Together school Board of Management, approving the selection of other members, and appointing the Chairperson
  • Appointing the Principal of a school
  • Approving the appointment of all teachers and SNAs
  • Laying down the fundamental ethos base of the school’s Board of Management

Educate Together as patron

Educate Together is a school patron, an educational charity and a company limited by guarantee whose activities are regulated by its Memo and Articles and the Companies Acts. Decisions in the Educate Together school network are made at Annual General Meetings of its members. Educate Together is patron of the majority of Educate Together schools; other schools within the Educate Together network have their own patron. This is a modern, transparent and accountable model of patronage that is defined in clear legal terms.

Patronage Manual

Educate Together has a clear set of policies and procedures relating to its legal responsibilities as patron. These are set out in the Educate Together Patronage Manual. This document also details the concept of a patron, its legal basis and its role and responsibilities.

The latest version of the revised Educate Together Patronage Manual was published in 2024. This document is a living document. It will be updated as our policies and procedures develop. In this regard Educate Together welcomes comments and suggestions from our members, supporters, students and colleagues: