The Irish Examiner reports today that the Catholic Church is set to make a “gesture” towards admitting pupils to its schools based on location and regardless of their religious affiliation.
On one level this is an acknowledgement that the status quo (which facilitates state-funded schools to discriminate against young children on the basis of religion) cannot continue any longer.
But gestures of goodwill are not enough. The rights of parents and children should not be dependent on the benevolence of church authorities in a modern republic. Families should not have to be beholden to any religious institution for the vindication of their right to a state-funded education.
Of course every child should be able to attend their local school. But their local school should treat all children with equal respect in the classroom, regardless of religious, social or cultural background.
Educate Together is working towards a day when all children have access to a school that is truly inclusive and equality-based. We have a very practical plan to achieve this: the establishment of a national network of Educate Together primary and secondary schools. We are waiting to work with the next Government on implementing this plan.
Read about our plan to embed equality in the education system here.