14 December, 2018 - Minister McHugh welcomes new primary school for Westport

The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, T.D., has today (14th of December) welcomed the establishment of a new primary school for Westport, to open this coming September 2019. 

“Congratulations to the patron of the new school, Educate Together,” Minister McHugh said.

“They deserve great credit for the work they have put in on the ground and with the local community to prepare for the opening.

“A lot of planning and organisation goes on in the background with the Department to get to the point that the school doors can open next September. Everyone involved deserves credit for their work.”

The new Educate Together National School in Westport is being established under the patronage divesting process.

In January 2017, the Department announced 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 and the Programme for Government commitment in this area.  

This new Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process, which is underway and involves the transfer of live schools, has the potential to significantly increase patron diversity in our school system with a target of reaching 400 multi-denominational and non-denominational schools by 2030.  

The Minister wishes the new school well for its establishment this coming September.




Notes for Editors


  • Following on from the 2012 report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector, the Department undertook surveys of parental preferences in 43 areas of stable population in 2012 and 2013 to establish the level of parental demand for a wider choice in the patronage of primary schools within these areas.  Analysis of the parental preferences expressed in each area surveyed indicated that there was sufficient parental demand to support changes in school patronage in 28 areas, including Westport.  
  • From 2013 to 2018, 11 multi-denominational schools opened under the patronage divesting process. Westport ETNS, which will open in September 2019, will be number 12.
  • The divestment model requires the availability of vacant school premises, for example, due to amalgamation or closure.
  • The new Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process, which involves the transfer of live schools as opposed to the amalgamation and closure model of the patronage divesting process, has the potential to significantly increase patron diversity. 
  • It envisages that in areas where sufficient demand for more patronage diversity is identified through a consultation process undertaken by the relevant Education and Training Board (ETB) as the statutory authority, existing denominational patrons (the Catholic Bishop/Archbishop in most cases) will be asked to give consideration to reconfiguring existing primary school provision in consultation with local school communities, through transferring an existing functioning school to a multi- or non-denominational patron.
  • The “Early Movers” provision allows for any school community to directly engage their current patron, outside of the main process, and seek a transfer of patronage to a multi-denominational patron, fast-tracking the patronage reassignment.