Parents seek city Educate Together

by Gazette Reporter

The campaign to get Educate Together Secondary Schools in Dublin City is continuing with thousands of parents expressing an interest in sending their children to post-primary schools under this patronage.
For the past number of years the Dublin City Educate Together Second-level Action Group has been campaigning to get Educate Together second-level schools in the Dublin City area. There is no second-level school under the patronage either north or south of the city, despite numerous Educate Together National Schools now in place.
As part of the campaign, they have been collecting expressions of interest from parents and so far they have over 4,500 signatures from parents who want to send their children to an Educate Together Secondary School in the city.
Speaking to The Gazette, Gerry McKevitt, regional development officer at Educate Together said there is huge support with around 90% of parents wanting to send their children to an Educate Together Secondary School if they were given the choice, following a 2007 survey conducted by TCD for the group. Eight Educate Together national schools participated in the survey.
“[The campaign] is based around primary schools in the Dublin 7 area, North Dublin national schools in Glasnevin and also schools in the south side – Griffith Barracks ETNS and Portobello ETNS. It is really the parents from those primary schools who are looking for an Educate Together secondary school in their area. It is sort of an umbrella campaign, one campaign, but there are two focuses – one on the north side and one of the southside.”
According to McKevitt, they have been liaising with the Department of Education but the difficulty they face is that the Department will not open any new schools except in areas with demographic needs.
“The difficulty we have in the city area is that there is no demographic need for a new school so it has been a long and frustrating campaign but we are continuously lobbying on that,” he said.
Looking at all their options, McKevitt said they are looking at other ways to try to get it established in the city. “We are looking at new ways that could work. We are starting to look for partners, schools that are already in existence would they be interested in coming into partnership with us. That is at a very early stage and that is something we are looking at now,” he told The Gazette.
In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said the department takes the decision to establish a new school based on “an analysis of demographic and enrolment trends in the area to be served”.
“To date no demographic requirement has been identified for a new post-primary school in the Dublin City area.”
The department said there are a number of new post-primary schools to be established up to 2016 including “a number of schools” under the patronage of Educate Together. “A number of the new post-primary schools due to be established are located in the suburban areas of Dublin as these were the areas that evidenced demographic demand.
“The department continually analyses the latest demographic data on a nationwide basis to determine where additional school accommodation might be needed. If a new post-primary is found to be necessary in Dublin city in the future, the patron selection process will be open to all prospective patron,” the spokesperson added.

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