Educate Together communities react to misinformation about the equality-based school model
Educate Together has been under fire this week from a somewhat unexpected source. Parents of children in three schools in Malahide/Portmarnock and Kinsealy have been warned of a range of dire consequences if their schools are divested to a multi-denominational patron. The banning of Christmas and Halloween, the prohibition of the greeting ‘Dia dhuit’ (the Irish language equivalent to ‘hello’ which happens to mean ‘God be with you’) and forbidding the celebration of role of grandparents in children’s lives are just some of the repercussions described in communications to parents.
Faced with a barrage of criticism of Educate Together schools, the parents, teachers and ex-pupils in our network responded on social media with some clarifications that illustrate how the Educate Together ethos works in practice.
We hope that the stories below will allay the fears of any parents or carers that are anxious about possible divestments or that are considering sending their children to an Educate Together school. You can read more about Educate Together national schools here or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our wonderful pluralist @Broombridgeetns where all children and families are celebrated no matter what the religion or culture, our school community of teachers, parents and students marks important national and religious events. #equality https://t.co/Q7Z3cYS8aW— Deirdre Duffy (@DeirdreDuffyDC) April 3, 2019
Dee on the Educate Together Facebook page: “My kids in an ET school are thriving and they learn about all religions, we have an annual school fair, two potlucks and at the winter one we have carols. Plenty of kids are doing religious instruction after school hours and the school has a good relationship with the local parish priest. And the school doesn’t charge rent if parents want classes to prepare kids for first communion. The difference between an ET school and a religious one is in the respect and equality shown to each individual.”
Simon on the Educate Together Facebook page: “They learn about all religions; I’m learning about some celebrations from the kids that I never knew about. I love it.”
Aileen on the Educate Together Facebook page: “Completely misleading. I have to explain this at least once a week to people who think my daughter’s school do not mark these events. Educate Together schools are the most open minded of all the schools!”
Joe on the Educate Together Facebook page: “The Educate Together curriculum on different faiths is excellent. My kids went to an Educate together primary school when we were in Ireland. We now live in Australia and the Australian education system would be better if they learned from the Educate Together approach; it’s so inclusive and informative. My kids have benefited from it immensely.”
Tish on the Educate Together Facebook page: “Educate Together offers another choice for families. It is the lack of choice that is the problem and a lack of knowledge about what is actually taught and celebrated in Educate Together schools. What I have found to make the most powerful impact on me is the voice of pupils, who are now adults, who have felt like outsiders in school. They tell it as it is. If the choice was there this might not have been their experience. Giving families a choice is the key.”
Duey on the Educate Together Facebook page: “Never have I felt more community spirit and celebration of each culture’s special occasions, than when I was in Galway Educate Together.”
Tania on the Educate Together Facebook page: “I teach in an Educate Together school and we teach and celebrate all of these, and more!
Real stories from the Educate Together community
Educate Together’s schools mean so much to the lives of the children and young people who attend them, and to the communities that they are a part of. You can read, watch and listen to real stories from the students, staff and families involved in the Educate Together school movement on this page and at the links above. Do you have an experience from an Educate Together school which you would like to share? Share your story: email@example.com