Catholic Church reiterates importance of parental choice in school provision

08 Mar 2010

5 March 2010

Catholic Church reiterates importance of parental choice in school provision

Responding to today’s speech by the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keeffe TD, at the AGM of the Catholic Primary School Management Association, Father Michael Drumm, Executive Chairperson of the Catholic Schools Partnership, said:

“Minister O’Keeffe raised many interesting issues including the possibility of clustering schools under a single board of management and under a single principal. He reaffirmed the commitment of the government to a plurality of school patrons.

“He acknowledged the fact that Catholic primary schools are models of inclusivity. He also dealt with the important issue of school provision into the future.

“The Catholic Church welcomes the prospect of greater diversity of school provision. The Minister’s mention of an eventual reduction of Catholic provision in demographically stable urban areas to 60% needs to be verified on the basis of assessment of parental choice. We have not yet seen any research from the Department of Education and Science to support this figure. To facilitate parental choice the DES must make clear what are the available forms of patronage. Before parents can make a choice they must know what alternatives are available.

“As agreed at our meeting last November, we look forward to working with the DES in developing a framework and criteria within which a coherent plan for changing patronage of schools can be developed. Such a plan must respect not only parental choice but also teachers’ rights and the interest of other stake holders.”


Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678