Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Patron's new secondary school role

Ruairi Quinn has announced that Educate Together will be involved in the running of secondary schools from 2013

Non-denominational school patron Educate Together will be involved in the running of secondary schools for the first time from next year.

Education minister Ruairi Quinn announced the patronage of 14 new post-primary schools to be opened in 2013 and 2014.

Educate Together (ET) will be in charge of one in Blanchardstown West and will co-run another in Drogheda with the Vocational Education Committee (VEC).

"I am particularly pleased that Educate Together will be patron in one school and co-patron in a second school, given that ET was officially recognised by me as a second level patron just one year ago," Mr Quinn said.

The minister said his main concern when deciding the patronage of the new schools was parents' demands for plurality and diversity in Irish schools. "The successful patrons include those of a Catholic ethos, Church of Ireland ethos, multi-denominational and Gaelcholaistai," he said.

ET was set up in 1975 and has until now only had patronage of primary schools. Its schools are open to children regardless of their social, cultural or religious background.

ET campaigners in Dublin and Drogheda have welcomed the minister's decision. Michael McLoughlin, chair of the Dublin 15 ET second-level campaign group, said he was delighted.

"After all the hard work parents in the area have put in, the dream that our children will be able to attend an Educate Together second-level school is to become a reality," said Mr McLoughlin.

"We are looking forward to working with Educate Together and the whole community to make the Blanchardstown West school a high quality, welcoming option for families in the area."

Chair of Drogheda ET secondary school action group Alec McAllister said he was excited about the road ahead and working with the Co Louth VEC in its joint patronage of the town's new post-primary school. Meanwhile, ET chief executive Paul Rowe said the new schools would nurture "critical and creative thinking and ethical citizenship".

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