Announcement in Kerry is first Reconfiguration under Plan by Minister Bruton to Deliver 400 Multi-Denominational and Non-Denominational Schools
The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, has today welcomed the decision of the Bishop of Kerry, patron of the Two Mile / Cahooreigh NS, to transfer the school to Kerry Education and Training Board (Kerry ETB) to re-open under the ETB’s patronage as a community national school from September 2017.
The Bishop of Kerry has indicated that the decision to lease the property to Kerry ETB for the purposes of providing a community national school was made in consultation with and fully in line with the wishes of the local community. A local meeting was held on the 2nd March, 2017, organised by the Two Mile Community Group and attended by over 70 members of the local community. Following the meeting, an independent vote was held and the group formally requested the patron to allow the school to be made available as a community national school. The Bishop has formally written to the Minister providing for the re-opening of the school under the patronage of Kerry ETB.
Today’s announcement is the first transfer since new school reconfiguration plans were announced by Minister Bruton in January, aimed at delivering 400 non-denominational and multi-denominational schools by 2030.
The Minister for Education and Skills, announced on the 30th January, 2017, new plans aimed at providing more multi-denominational and non-denominational schools across the country, in line with the choices of families and school communities. The Programme for Government commits to increasing the number of multi-denominational and non-denominational schools with a view to reaching 400 by 2030.
The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity Process is currently being progressed with relevant stakeholders to identify areas where patronage transfers will be necessary to meet parental demand. In cases such as Two Mile School, individual “early movers” are being facilitated with immediate transfers to multi- or non-denominational patrons where the school community and the current patron opt voluntarily to do so.
In January, Minister Bruton said that it was important that we consider new ways to deliver greater choice in the education system. The new process will draw the lessons from the 2012 model, which has only delivered a total of ten transfers to multidenominational schools. Those lessons include:
· The importance of working with the current landowner, school staff, school communities and local communities on a collaborative and open basis
· The downsides of amalgamation, closure and opening a new school as a model, given all the complexities, including legal complexities, that can be involved
· The advantages of live transfers, whereby a school continues in being, but transfers from the patronage of one organisation to another relatively seamlessly, quickly and with the minimum of disruption
· The value of a lease arrangement from the current landowner to the new patron, removing the need for complicated property transfer
Minister Bruton said:
“I want to deliver greater choice and diversity to parents regarding the types of school which are available. In the Programme for Government we have set out a commitment to reach 400 multi-denominational and non-denominational schools by 2030. In a changing Ireland, it is important that families around the country should be offered greater choice in the education system.
“The transfer of patronage is a complex issue. There is room for a number of different multi and non-denominational providers to respond to different parental wishes through the different process now in place, including existing providers like An Foras Patrúnachta, the Community National Schools and Educate Together, in the context of an expanding population and increasing demand for multidenominational education.
“I wish the staff and students of Two Mile National School in Kerry well for the future.”
Notes to Editor:
The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity Process, which will provide additional multidenominational schools in either of the nation’s languages, will be implemented alongside the previous process, which was commenced through the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism under previous Minister Quinn. That process identified a total of 28 areas where schools should be transferred through amalgamations and closures. This process will continue alongside the new process.
One of the 28 identified areas was in nearby Killarney and the Department will continue to seek a property for an Educate Together school in this area.
On current population growth trends, new schools will account for approximately one third of the additional multi-denominational schools required to hit the target to reach 400 multi-denominational and non-denominational schools by 2030, so transfers of existing schools from religious patronage will be required to hit the target.
Community National Schools are child-centred, inclusive, multi-denominational, State supported schools which strive to provide a high quality primary education for every child in line with the Primary School Curriculum.