Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector

Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector

The Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector was established in 2011, to make recommendations on what steps could be taken to ensure that the education system at primary level could provide a sufficiently diverse number and range of primary schools to cater for children of all religions and none. 

The Forum held public sessions and consulted widely on the issues arising. The Forum's Report was published in 2012, and it recommended steps that could be taken to ensure that the education system at primary level could provide a sufficiently diverse number and range of primary schools to cater for children of all religions and none.  Background information on the Forum onPatronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector can be found here.

The Report’s recommendations covered four broad areas:

  • Those dealing with planning towards future patronage arrangements and having a more diverse range of patronage types for new schools in areas of rising population;
  • Those dealing with the practicalities of achieving divesting of patronage where there is a stable population and a demand for diversity of school types;
  • Those dealing with Irish language provision; and
  • Those dealing with the creation of more inclusive schools.

A follow-up paper, Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector: Progress to Date and Future Directions, was published in 2014.  The paper gave an update on the progress made to date on implementing the Forum's recommendations, with a particular focus on the issue of inclusion and diversity in schools.The paper also gave an update on the progress made to date on implementing the Forum's recommendations on new schools, divesting of patronage, enrolment legislation and the development of a programme on Education about Religion and Beliefs and Ethics.

Education about Religions and Beliefs (ERB)and Ethics

The Forum acknowledged that the State has a responsibility to ensure that all children have the right to receive Education about Religions and Beliefs (ERB) andEthics. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) was given the task of developing such a curriculum.  In November 2015, the NCCA launched a consultation process on proposals for a curriculum in Education about Religions and Beliefs (ERB) and Ethics.  The consultation will run until the end of March 2016 and the NCCA aims to engage with as many stakeholders as possible to ensure balance in the development of a curriculum for ERB and Ethics.