Diversity of Patronage

Who should fill out the survey?

Parents/guardians of all children aged 0 to 12 years old in the areas being surveyed are being encouraged to complete the survey.

I am not a parent of primary school going children or of pre-school children - can I fill out the survey and register my preferences on school patronage? [e.g. my children are past primary stage or we don't yet have children but would like to register a preference for the future.]

Yes you are free to complete the survey.  However, the analysis of the surveys will take into account the number and ages of children referred to by all respondents and decisions on type of school provision will be based on numbers of children who are likely to attend school in the area.

I live outside the towns or areas being surveyed - can I express a preference and fill out the survey?

Yes you are free to complete the survey. However, the analysis of the surveys will take into account the location of all respondents and decisions on type of school provision will be based on numbers of children who are likely to attend school in the area.

What if my preferred patron of choice has not applied in my area?

There is a facility within the survey for you to state your patron of choice if they are not already listed.  You can also indicate your preference for a second patron of choice if they are not already listed.

What is a patron? What does a patron do? What is a patron responsible for?

The patron is the body that establishes the school.

The patron appoints the Board of Management of the school.

The patron also determines the ethos of the school.

These responsibilities are set out in law under the 1998 Education Act.

What are the differences between the patrons?

Some patrons are denominational (such as the Churches) and their schools have the ethos of their faith systems, while some other patrons are multi-denominational in character and generally provide schools where English is the main language of instruction. There are also patrons who promote all-Irish schools.

You can look at the descriptions that each patron has provided for purpose of the survey where they set out the particular characteristics of the school type that they offer or take a look at their websites for further information.

Do all patron bodies follow the same curriculum?

Yes - all primary schools recognised and funded by DES are obliged to follow the primary curriculum and they are all subject to the same rules and regulations.

Can a school change its patron or ethos without the permission of the patron?

No - it is the patron who has set up and established the school and the patronage or ethos of the school cannot be changed without their permission.

The Education Act of 1998 provides that only the patron of the school can apply to have the register of patrons amended or changed in relation to that school.

What happens if other parents in my school want to change patron but I don't or if I want to change patron and other parents in the school don't want change?

The DES and the New Schools Establishment Group will analyse the returns from the survey and send that analysis to Catholic patrons for their response. Part of the consideration that Catholic patrons will have to give to the survey outcomes will be the level and range of parental preferences within each school and how these preferences might be met.

Will this survey process lead to additional or new school buildings and leave existing schools with empty rooms?

No - most definitely the survey process will not lead to the creation of additional schools in an area or lead to new school buildings nor will it leave existing schools with empty rooms.

The idea behind the survey is to establish, in the first instance, the level of parental preferences for patronage types and then to see how these preferences could be met but still using the existing school building stock.

Will my personal details be held securely and confidentially?

Yes. There are very strict data protection laws and regulations governing the collection and storage of personal data and we have made sure that this survey is fully compliant with these. You can take a look at our data protection policy which sets out exactly how your personal details will be handled.

Will anybody or any patron or school know my preferences or what I put in the survey?

No. Your personal details and your preferences for school type will not be disclosed to anybody. Only anonymised aggregate data will be released to patrons and you will not be able to be identified in any way from the data that will be released.

Why are you looking for my personal details?

Your personal details are only being sought as part of the survey so that we can verify that you are who you say you are and that you live where you say you live. You can take a look at our data protection policy which sets out exactly how your personal details will be handled.

When will the results of the surveys be known?

The closing date for completion of the first surveys is Friday 8th February. It is hoped to have an initial report for the New Schools Establishment Group available within a matter of weeks from that date.

What areas are being surveyed now and will other areas also be covered?

My area is not being surveyed yet or at all - when will it be surveyed?

A total of 43 identified areas are being surveyed. 5 areas were initially surveyed in a pilot study completed in 2012. The other 38 areas are currently being surveyed. When all 43 areas have been surveyed consideration will be given to rolling the process out to other areas.