Parents are being surveyed about what religious ethos they want to see in schools
Parents of pre-school children are being surveyed by the Department of Education about what religious ethos they want schools in their area to have.
It's part of a broader movement by the Government to reduce the influence of the Catholic Church in the classroom. The results of the surveys will feed into how the patronage of schools is handed over from religious organisations.
At moment, around 95 percent of primary schools (and 50 percent of secondary schools) are controlled by a denomination - a structure the Department of Education has vowed to change.
Education Minister, Richard Bruton will be talking to the programme about a new survey asking parents of primary-school pupils about the choices of schools on offer to their children
— RTÉ News at One (@RTENewsAtOne) May 28, 2018
Speaking with Pat Kenny on Newstalk on Monday, Minister Richard Bruton said that broadly-speaking the Catholic Church was eager to remove itself from day-to-day educational operations.
He furthermore explained that the surveys will initially be given to parents with kids in pre-school - as those are the pupils who will shortly enter primary schools.
All 16 Education And Training Boards around Ireland are undertaking the task in areas where there is high demand and schools will not have to close and re-open in order to transfer.
During the Newstalk interview, Pat Kenny asked the Minister what would happen if there was a 50-50 split among parents seeking non-denominational and religious schooling.
In response, Mr Bruton said that the areas his department was looking at were ones in which there was currently only a "limited choice" and where parents would like an option.
"We want to create diversity," he stated. "Ninety-five percent denominational schools no longer reflects our population," he added.
On @PatKennyNT now to discuss our new process for transferring existing schools to multi or non denominational patronage. Parents of pre school children are being surveyed in 16 areas across the country, asking if they would like to see more choice in their area
— Richard Bruton (@RichardbrutonTD) May 28, 2018
In recent years, 64 new schools have opened around Ireland - most of which are non- or multi-denominational.
A non-denominational school does not adapt the ethos of any religion - but it may still offer academically-focus religious studies.
Multi-denominational schools are likely to still mark religious festivals and traditions from a variety of different beliefs.
The areas initially reviewed by the Department include:
- North inner city
- Laytown/Bettystown /Mornington/Donacarney
- Waterford City