What is the Online Patronage Preference System For Secondary Schools?

Will a new Educate Together secondary school prioritise children from Educate Together national schools?

No. As part of the Patronage Application Process, patrons must indicate willingness to prioritise enrolment of children in the catchment area. After siblings, children within the catchment area will get first priority in the new school’s admission policy. This is under the instruction of the DES and patrons cannot commit to providing schools place to children from particular schools.

From the ‘Patron Code of Conduct’

Educate Together second-level schools do not give priority to any children, including those who complete their primary education in Educate Together national schools. This reflects the Educate Together’s Charter by offering equality of access to our schools to all families, not just those who were fortunate to have access to an Educate Together national school. Educate Together schools do not give priority to children of staff members, siblings who are no longer in the school or past parents.

Who will build my new school?

The Department of Education and Skills is responsible for the site acquisition, planning permission and building of all new school buildings, regardless of patron. Schools that opened in the last few years have all opened in temporary accommodation.

Will there be an Autism Unit?

Educate Together schools welcome applications from students with special educational needs (SEN).

The majority of new permanent secondary school buildings now contain Autism units.

Educate Together will work with the local Special Educational Needs Officer (SENO) to assess the suitability of the temporary accommodation of new schools to include an Autism Unit. The schools are committed, within their resources, to do all that is reasonable to accommodate students with with special educational needs.

 Who hires and pays staff?

Staffing allocation is based on enrolment to the school and is decided upon by the DES, not the patron. All teaching staff are paid by the Department.

How is Educate Together funded?

Educate Together schools are voluntary secondary schools and thus receive the same funding from the Department as all other voluntary secondary schools through the 2019 Capitation Grant, and the School Sevices Support Fund Grant. In addition, new schools receive a new school grant of €20,000, plus furniture and ICT grants that cover the school opening costs.  School Services Support Fund Grant

What  if there are 2 candidates for patronage as per the voting that are almost tied for first preference?

After the OPPS closes, the Department prepares a report based on numbers. This is reviewed by the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG) that is independent of the DES.

The NSEG reviews the data and looks at diversity in the area. Based on all this, it will  then make a recommendation to the Minister as to which patron should be awarded the school.

What happens when a school is awarded to a patron? 

As Educate Together has opened more secondary schools than any patron in the recent years, we are very familiar with the process.

  • Principal recruitment: principals can be in place one year in advance of school opening – as school announcement will probably not be until early November, the intention would be to get the principal in place as soon as possible)
  • Development of enrolment policy
  • Opening of enrolments for First Year 2020
  • Meeting for 6th class parents
  • Collaboration with the DES around accommodation
  • Application for new school grants and registration for tax
  • Close enrolments
  • Offer of First Year Places
  • Setup of banking, payroll, student management system, email, website
  • Principal training.
  • Contact Special Educational Needs Officer (SENO) (as required)
  • Decision on IT devices
    Parent and students information meeting
  • Recruitment of Deputy Principal and Teachers
  • Policy development
  • Recruitment of Special Needs Assistant (if needed) and secretary
  • Consultation with students around preferred subjects/language/extra-curricular
  • Furniture, ICT (register for broadband) etc.
  • Accommodation delivery

Why do Educate Together schools not have a uniform?

Students don’t wear uniforms. Educate Together school communities opt for agreed dress codes instead of uniforms. The dress code is developed by parents, teachers and students together, promoting safety and equality at school. This child-centred approach empowers the individuality of the students while respecting their identities.

Why do Educate Together’s allow teachers to be called by their first names?

Respect is at the core of pupil teacher relationships. Teachers make a special effort to teach children to question the world around them and to express their own opinions. Students, staff and parents are addressed by their first names.