The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has published a paper: Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector: Progress to Date and Future Directions.
The document is a follow-up to the Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism, which examined how to ensure and promote greater diversity and inclusion in primary schools.
Despite the changed nature of Irish society, some 96% of all primary schools have religious patrons, with almost 90% of these under the patronage of the Catholic Church.
The Forum made a series of recommendations on issues which included:
The paper published today gives an update on the progress made to date on implementing the recommendations and focuses on options for promoting diversity in existing schools.
Minister Quinn said, “It is clear that there is no one size fits all approach to ensuring all schools are inclusive and welcoming. Our schools have a proud tradition of serving their communities and have made an enormous contribution to our society. Denominational patrons have been an important part of this and will continue to play a strong role in our education system. However, our schools can be busy places. There is a risk that we can overlook some fundamental rights to which pupils and their parents are entitled.”
The document examines good practice in relation to:
Under the Constitution, all parents have the right to withdraw their child from religious instruction in schools.
The paper can be accessed at http://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Conferences/Patronage-and-Pluralism-in-the-Primary-Sector/Progress-to-Date-and-Future-Directions-Forum-on-Patronage-and-Pluralism-in-the-Primary-Sector.pdf