#LetOurSchoolsGrow Campaign Garners Cross-Party Support
The campaigns to oppose enrolment restrictions on Educate Together schools in Tramore, New Ross, Trim, Tuam and Castlebar have garnered wide support from across the political spectrum. Public representatives are calling out the unfair and discriminatory polices being imposed by our Department of for Education.
‘We are not in a financial position to build additional schools just because people do not want the schools that are already in place’.
Families in Tramore, New Ross, Trim, Tuam and Castlebar are not asking for additional schools. They are asking their schools to be allowed to grow and for suitable accommodation to allow that to happen. They are asking for the principle of 'parental choice' in education to be honoured by the Government.
Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Thomas Byrne TD has said the following in relation to the situation at Educate Together schools in New Ross, Trim, Castlebar, Tramore and Tuam.
“Parental and family choice in education is a basic principle that Fianna Fáil advocated in Government and seeks now. Where a School is established by the Department, it should never be done in a half-hearted way."
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has called upon the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, to remove restrictions on student intake at new Educate Together primary schools. Deputy Shortall said:
“Parents who had expected that their children would be enrolling in five schools run by the multi-denominational patron have been devastated to learn that they have been told by the Department to reduce their intake by half.
“These schools were set up as part of the Department’s much trumpeted divestment process aimed at introducing long-overdue diversity to our national school system. The Department’s assertion that these schools must now curb their pupil intake in order to preserve a balance among all schools in an area simply does not wash."
The Green Party
Open Letter to Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton by Grace O'Sullivan:
"We in the Green Party are contacting you today regarding your Department’s instruction to a number of newly divested Educate Together schools in various locations around the country to only accept a half stream intake for the academic year 2018-9.
Such a limitation threatens the immediate viability of these schools, flies in the face of the existing demand for them within their local communities and is a severely retrograde step for a country that has been trying to finally deliver real educational choice for students and parents."
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Education Kathleen Funchion TD has criticised Minister Richard Bruton and the Department of Education for their lack of clarity in relation to the restriction placed on five Educate Together National Schools. Teachta Funchion said:
“The Department, in correspondence with these schools, has placed a restriction on their enrolment for September 2018/2019 to ‘up to half a stream’ or sixteen junior infant children.
“The Department are now seeking to retrospectively change the basis upon which Educate Together agreed to proceed on and are imposing a restriction that actually contravenes the lawful preference of a significant number of families in the areas in question."
The Labour Party
Labour Party Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called on the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, to remove the cap on enrolment of Educate Together schools. Senator Ó Ríordáin said:
“Reports from around the country about the Department of Education and Skills’ insistence on putting an enrolment cap on Educate Together schools is deeply concerning. [...] The Minister for Education must now move to remove the enrolment cap on Educate Together schools in New Ross, Tramore, Trim, Castlebar, and Tuam."