Surveys on primary school patronage rolled out to 6 areas across Cork

Parents of all children aged 0 to 12 years in 38 areas across ****Ireland*** * are being asked by the Minister for Education and Skills what patrons they would like to see operating their local primary schools. **** ** ** As part of this, parents in Bandon, Carrigaline, **Cobh**, Fermoy, Youghal and Passage West are being asked for their views. **** * * Surveys are going live today (Monday 14th January) and are an expansion of pilot surveys on primary school patronage which were conducted late last year in five towns. **** ** ** The survey can be accessed on line via www.education.ie and parents or guardians of primary school going children and 0 to 5 year olds in the 38 towns and suburbs (list below) are being urged to fill it in. They will need to have their PPS number in order to complete the survey; however, these details are only being used for verification purposes. **** ** ** The aim of the survey is to establish the level of demand from parents for diversity of school patronage in each of the towns. At present, some 96% of primary schools are under church patronage, with more than 90% or approximately 3,000 schools under the remit of the Catholic Church. This survey initiative follows on from the recommendations of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary sector. **** ** ** If parents indicate they would like a wider choice of patron, then the Department of Education and Skills (DES) will ask existing patrons to come up with a plan to transfer some schools to other patron bodies. **** ** ** “This is an historic opportunity for parents in Cork to have a real say in the type of school they wish to send their children to, be it denominational, multi-denominational, all-Irish or other,” said Minister Ruairí Quinn T.D. **** ** ** “In the six areas in ****Cork**** where the surveys are taking place, there is little prospect of any new schools opening as the population remains stable and there is enough capacity within existing schools. However, if parents demonstrate through this survey that they want a greater choice of primary school then we will work with existing patrons to transfer patronage to ensure they can send their children to a school which best reflects their own ethos and beliefs.” **** ** ** The bodies which have indicated that they would like to become patrons of any divested schools in the six areas are the Co. Cork VEC, An Foras Patrúnachta, Educate Together and, in Cobh, the Redeemed Christian Church of God also. **** ** ** Current patrons are the Catholic Bishops of Cork and Ross, and **Waterford**and Lismore, the Church of ****Ireland**** Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, An Foras Patrúnachta and Educate Together.**** ** ** A code of conduct has been worked out in consultation with the patron bodies which will limit expenditure on the provision of information. The code is designed to ensure the surveys are conducted in a reasonable manner, avoiding contentious commentary.**** ** ** A comprehensive information campaign by the DES in each of the areas begins today and will include a leaflet drop to every household giving details of the survey and advertising on local radio and newspapers. A free helpline is also available in the Department for anyone who has any difficulties in completing the survey: 1800 303621. The helpline will be open from 9.30 to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Paper based versions of the survey are also available on request. **** ** ** The survey process will be overseen by the independent New Schools Establishment Group. The Department will publish detailed reports on the survey outcomes. **** ** ** Parents and guardians of all 0 to 12 year olds in the six areas in ****Cork* *** have from now until the 8th of February to complete the survey at www.education.ie. **** ** ** ENDS**** ** ** **** *List of Cork areas to be surveyed* * * Bandon**** Carrigaline**** **Cobh****** Fermoy **** Passage West **** Youghal

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