Statement from the Council for Education of the Irish Bishops’ Conference on the Report on surveys regarding parental preferences on primary school patronage
We welcome the publication of the Report on surveys regarding parental preferences on primary school patronage by the Department of Education and Skills.
The surveys provide a notable affirmation of Catholic schools. Between the pilot phase and today’s Report, the parents in 306 Catholic schools have been surveyed. The outcome is a recommendation for change in 28 (9%) of these schools.
The main aim of the surveys was to identify the level of interest in additional forms of patronage in areas of stable population. In 15 areas the report says that there is insufficient demand for change. In 23 areas the report suggests a limited change based on parental demand. In these 23 areas those who expressed an opinion in favour of change amount in each case to between 2.2% and 8% of parents with children in school in these areas.
In seeking to respond to this limited request for change, attention must be given to the large majority who have expressed no such interest. All of the stakeholders need to analyse the data in detail. An issue that will arise in many of these 23 areas is the level of displacement caused by trying to cater for the views of a minority who want change.
While the survey reflects accurately the views of those who participated, it must be noted that a large majority of parents did not take part in the surveys.
In looking to the future Catholic patrons will need to attend to strengthening the sense of mission in Catholic schools and to consult with all stakeholders as they seek to reconfigure the system to take account of the minority of parents who desire a change in patronage.
Notes to Editors
- Father Michael Drumm is available to local and national media for interviews.
- The Catholic Schools Partnership was launched by Cardinal Seán Brady on 28 January 2010. It was established by the Irish Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Religious of Ireland. The aim of the CSP is to support all partners involved in the provision of Catholic education while respecting the very real diversity that exists among Catholic schools in Ireland. The role of the Catholic Schools Partnership is not to create a large centralised structure but to provide a framework wherein some issues can be handled at a more central level while respecting the autonomy and diversity of our schools. CSP functions on the basis of subsidiarity, namely that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The CSP does not replace or amalgamate the existing Catholic management, trustee and patron organizations, rather it seeks to foster a deeper sense of partnership and shared purpose among patrons/trustees, management bodies including boards of management and teachers in Catholic schools. At the heart of the partnership is a council with thirty-three members drawn from across the spectrum of Catholic schools. The office is based in Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth, Co Kildare and Father Michael Drumm is Executive Chairperson of the Catholic Schools Partnership.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: 00353 (1) 505 3017 AND Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678