School patron groups unhappy at pilot transfer plan for catholic schools

An Foras Pátrúnachta and Educate Together have raised concerns that they will be excluded from a pilot programme to transfer some catholic schools to a multi-denominational models.

The two groups fear that the Community National School model is the only option that will be provided to parents. These schools are run by local Education and Training Boards.

While welcoming the initiative An Foras Pátrúnachta stated: “In the past 15 years, when given the choice, every community who chose their new school to be a gaelscoil, chose An Foras Pátrúnachta as their multi-denominational patron. 

“The facilitation of parental choice should not be overlooked in this process. Limiting information to school communities in relation to patronage options risks the process becoming a missed opportunity for providing real choice.”

In a statement Educate Together said: “Whilst awaiting full details on how this plan will operate, Educate Together is concerned that there doesn’t seem to be a clear mechanism for parents and families to have their voices heard on the type of school resulting from transfers. 

“From the limited information made available to date, it seems that school communities will only be given information about the Community National School model, which, in the interests of transparency, choice and fairness, is concerning.”