Schools’ Reconfiguration

An Foras Pátrúnachta / Schools / Schools’ Reconfiguration

  • As a reflection of the society in which they are based, schools have a duty to provide an education which celebrates diversity, promotes ethical responsibility and embraces multi-culturalism in order to effectively cater to needs of the school community, both present and future.
  • The Department of Education aims to provide multi-denominational and multi-cultural education to pupils in their locality throughout the country, an aim which supports inclusion in our society and provides parents/guardians with a meaningful choice regarding their children’s education.
  • To support this initiative, school communities are offered the opportunity to reconfigure their school ethos to a multi-denominational ethos in areas where there would be insufficient demand to establish a new school.   An Foras Pátrúnachta recognise the intrinsic societal value of such an initiative and we welcome enquiries and/or applications from school communities who are interested in a change of school ethos and/or patronage.
  • In An Foras Pátrúnachta, we understand the importance of having a structured and sustainable approach to the reconfiguration process for school communities.  We have appointed a full-time Ethos and Reconfiguration Officer to provide continuous tailored support to schools throughout the process.
  • We are delighted that An Foras Pátrúnachta is in a position to bring current Irish-medium schools of other patronage under our patronage so that they may benefit from operating under an Irish-medium patron.
  • It is also essential we use this opportunity to establish Irish-medium schools where no or insufficient provision exists so that parents can access Irish-medium education if they so wish.

11 March 2022

Minister for Education, Norma Foley, announced a pilot scheme as part of the Reconfiguration for Diversity Programme.  Details of the pilot scheme are available here

More information about An Foras Pátrúnachta’s consultation process for various members of the school community is available below.


Information for School Staff

Please see the GAEILGE page for more information for school staff

CROÍ NA SCOILE Eolas maidir leis an gclár don Oideachas Ilchreidmheach

Information for Parents/Guardians

Our leaflet Is Multi-D for me? can help parents gain valuable insights into Irish-medium multi-denominational education in school under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta.

The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity programme announced by Minister Richard Bruton in 2018 comes in response societal changes and parental demands for increased choice regarding school ethos.

Information for Parents – Department of Education

The videos below provide an overview of the the Reconfiguration Strategy and also an insight into Multi-Denominational Gaelscoileanna.

Forum on Patronage and Pluralism

Forum on Patronage


In 2011, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, established an expert group to consult with people and to make recommendations on how primary schools can become more inclusive of different traditions, religions and beliefs.

In April 2012,the Minister Quinn published the Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector. In June 2012, the Minister started a new process to look at the possible transfer of some schools run by the Catholic Church to other school patron bodies in 44 areas around the country. This process was undertaken initially on a pilot basis in five areas. The results were published in December 2012. Surveys were then carried out in the remaining 38 areas until February 2013.

In April 2013, the Minister for Education and Skills published the results of these surveys. Analysis of the surveys showed that there is sufficient parental demand in 23 out of the 38 areas to support an immediate change in the existing school patronage.

22 of the areas will see the establishment of an English language multi-denominational school. One area, Birr in County Offaly, will see an Irish language school established. Parents expressed a preference for An Foras Pátrúnachta as patron in this area.

July 2014 – Update on Forum on Patronage

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:

  • Future patronage arrangements;
  • Divesting of patronage;
  • Irish language provision;
  • Promoting inclusion of diversity in existing schools.

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:

  • The right to opt out of religion classes;
  • Scheduling of Religion Classes and other Religious Activities;
  • Options for Pupils in relation to Religious Ceremonies of the Ethos of the School;
  • Celebration of Religious Festivals;
  • Display of Artefacts.

Under the Constitution, all parents have the right to withdraw their child from religious instruction in schools.

The paper can be accessed at

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