PRESS RELEASE: Choice is key to success in Reconfiguration

An Foras Pátrúnachta / Circulars / PRESS RELEASE: Choice is key to success in Reconfiguration

An Foras Pátrúnachta, the largest patron of Irish-medium schools, welcomes today’s announcement by Minister Foley regarding the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity Process. This agreement with the Irish Episcopal Conference Council for Education, offers the opportunity for schools to transfer patronage and change ethos to a multi-denominational model. The agreement is a positive step towards the increased provision of multi-denominational schools and increased choice for parents and school communities. 

The process also provides current Gaelscoileanna with the opportunity to transfer to the only  Irish-Medium patron, An Foras Pátrúnachta. Having provided multi-denominational education since opening our first school in 1993, we have been actively engaged in the reconfiguration process for the past number of years. Through this process, we have developed a pathway for schools which has resulted in the divestment of the largest school (320 students) to date from a Catholic patron. 

Building on this success, we are currently consulting with our denominational schools where the school community considers whether or not they wish to reconfigure to a multi-denominational model. This process, facilitated by our Schools Reconfiguration Officer, allows school communities to consider how best to cater for their evolving needs. We believe choice, consultation, and comprehensive information is key for any transition to be a success. 

There is an onus to ensure transparency and the provision of information on every divestment choice in the upcoming processes. 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. 

General Secretary of An Foras Pátrúnachta, Caoimhín Ó hEaghra has said: “This a great opportunity for communities to be more inclusive and cater for the diverse needs of children and their parents. It also provides a unique opportunity for the provision of multi-denominational Irish-medium education provided by an Irish-medium patron. Put simply, an Irish-medium patron for Irish-medium schools.” 




 Notes to Editor:

  •   Interviews are available on request.

 About An Foras Pátrúnachta: An Foras Pátrúnachta is a national patron for both primary and second level schools, seeking to develop, strengthen and promote education through the medium of Irish throughout the country. It is a patron of 79 schools, with over 17,000 students attending those schools. Schools under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta are located in 23 counties around Ireland. 24 of the schools have a multi-denominational ethos. Since 2013, reflecting societal demand, all 16 of our new schools have a multi-denominational ethos.