Educate Together notes with great interest the Minister’s comments at the Irish Primary Principals' Network conference today. It is reassuring that the government recognises the need to provide a national network of 'multi-denominational and non-denominational' schools to serve the needs of all families in Ireland.
This network is essential for Ireland’s educational infrastructure. It remains imperative that the Irish state prevents any child being discriminated against, marginalised or disadvantaged on account of the religious identity of their family in our education system.
Educate Together believes that its model of equality-based education, with its world-recognised ethical education curriculum, is a model of choice for such a network and looks forward to working with the Minister and his officials to achieve the government's target of 400 such schools as soon as possible.
Educate Together notes the Minister’s praise and comments for the Community National School as a multi-denominational model at the IPPN conference.
Many commentators, including Educate Together, have raised serious concerns on aspects of the Community National Schools model, not least of which is its compulsory registration, labelling and separation of children along religious lines in the classroom. It is hoped that these issues will be properly addressed in the evaluation and assessment of the CNS model that is referenced in the Minister’s comments and this will resolve the human rights violations that are implicit in the current approach.
Finally, Educate Together hopes that the Minister’s endorsement of the Community National School model of primary education is not indicative of any intention to disregard the views of thousands of parents who have specifically stated their preference for Educate Together’s equality-based model of education.