Social Democrats’ representative Ronan Moore has accused the Department of Education and Skills of stunting the growth of recently opened Educate Together primary schools.
Mr Moore was commenting on a report today that five schools under the multi-denominational patron have been told by the Department that they must reduce their new pupil intake from a whole classroom to a half classroom.
Mr Moore, whose daughter is pre-enrolled with Trim Educate Together National School in Co Meath, said:
“The Department of Education and Science allowed the creation of Educate Together schools as part of its divestment scheme across the country from Waterford and Wexford to Galway and Mayo to Dublin and my own county of Meath.
“These schools grew and began to thrive as full-stream schools, speaking volumes both of the staff, of the parents involved and of the ethos. And then, suddenly and without warning, the Department has taken half the school away from five of these schools.
“The Department has asserted that it was made clear from the outset that half-stream classes only had only been authorised. However, in its own analysis of schools like Trim, in its ‘Report on the pilot surveys regarding parental preferences on primary school patronage,’ the Department also makes it clear that ‘taking account of likely long-term requirements, accommodation options for a full stream of provision should be considered’.
“This seems to show that the Department has been very unclear – and now it’s parents and pupils who will suffer. The fact is that this development coincides with acute pressure from several of these schools to demand that the Department makes good on its promise to provide permanent accommodation for them.”
Mr Moore has set up an Uplift petition to overturn the decision to halve this autumn’s student intake at Trim Educate Together National School.
“What half stream means is that 13 children will now be left without a school, many without a second option having been given the impression they were about to be enrolled.
“More fundamentally is the fact that this decision and policy illustrates that the Department is inhibiting and stunting the development of these multi-denominational schools. The Department should be enabling Educate Together schools to thrive in line with parental demand for choice, not stunting them.”
3 February 2018
Mr Moore’s Uplift petition has attracted almost 800 signatures to date.