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The reform (slowly) continues: church to lose control of 23 more schools


Sync

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Quinn will announce Church to lose school control - Independent.ie

THE Catholic Church is being told to hand over another 23 primary schools in an historic shake-up of the eduction system designed to offer parents more choice.

Department of Education surveys in 43 towns and suburbs over the past six months found that two-thirds of parents wanted a more diverse range of schools -- meaning a reduction of the church's overwhelming dominance of school patronage.

The results of the consultation with 10,000 parents on future control of local schools can be revealed today, with Education Minister Ruairi Quinn pointing out that a majority of areas surveyed had shown sufficient parental demand for wider choice of schools.
The way Quinn is doing this is pretty smart. By doing the ground work and carrying out local surveys with parents in the affected areas, he's removing any argument that he's going against their wishes. Much as many would like, it's simply not logistically possible to turn around 1 day and say "all patronage ends tomorrow", because the administrative/governance work being done by the church will still need to be done, and you need to find people to do it.

So you get it being done step by step basis, which is slowly getting to where many want us to be.
 

Kevin Parlon

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The way Quinn is doing this is pretty smart. By doing the ground work and carrying out local surveys with parents in the affected areas, he's removing any argument that he's going against their wishes. Much as many would like, it's simply not logistically possible to turn around 1 day and say "all patronage ends tomorrow", because the administrative/governance work being done by the church will still need to be done, and you need to find people to do it.

So you get it being done step by step basis, which is slowly getting to where many want us to be.
Being so far and long gone from Ireland, how is public opinion going on this? Is the argument in favour of moving away from religiously run schools dead? Is there no plan or momentum towards working out a long term transition? Give them plenty of time and announce that by 2023 the last of the religiously run schools will need to be transitioned to fully secular and just set the plan in train. We've a long hill to climb on integrating immigrants in Ireland. Religious schools make that job even harder.

Fair play to Ho Chi if he's making progress. Does anyone have any insight into private positions on this held by members of Government?
 

publicrealm

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I see on the RTE report relating to this that only 8% of parents want the change - it doesn't seem to make sense to change the system for such a small percentage.
23 new multi-denominational schools recommended - RTÉ News
I don't have strong views on who should run schools.

I would be concerned however if change was brought about for ideological reasons that led to a poorer schools service.

Baby with the bathwater stuff, potentially?
 

Kevin Parlon

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I see on the RTE report relating to this that only 8% of parents want the change - it doesn't seem to make sense to change the system for such a small percentage.
23 new multi-denominational schools recommended - RTÉ News
Why are we replacing denominational schools with multi-denominational schools? Why not non-denominational schools? Anyone? A golden opportunity missed. Regarding babies and bathwater, going non-denominational shouldn't mean that nuns, brothers who teach should have to stop teaching. They can continue to teach but in a non-denominational setting. Unless of course their motivation was really more about indoctrination and not education. 8% seems surprising, given 20% (am I right) of the country does not hold any belief in the supernatural.
 

devoutcapitalist

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i'd say in a few years time there will be larger waiting lists for catholic schools than multi denominational schools, as has been proven in many countries church schools are academically better and have better discipline than secular schools.
 

Roisin3

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Out of interest, who owns the school properties of the Catholic schools in the RoI? I'm wondering because in the black North the schools were paid for out of the parishioners pockets (my mother, bless her, still makes a weekly donation towards paying for one school built about 40 years ago).
 

Sync

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Being so far and long gone from Ireland, how is public opinion going on this? Is the argument in favour of moving away from religiously run schools dead? Is there no plan or momentum towards working out a long term transition? Give them plenty of time and announce that by 2023 the last of the religiously run schools will need to be transitioned to fully secular and just set the plan in train. We've a long hill to climb on integrating immigrants in Ireland. Religious schools make that job even harder.

Fair play to Ho Chi if he's making progress. Does anyone have any insight into private positions on this held by members of Government?
The problem with setting a 2023 date is the same as budget/climate change targets, the second you set a date outside the current govt's lifespan it becomes aspirational. You'd get this and the next govt saying "It'll happen, it'll be on track" without really having to do anything. The church would get to say "Oh it's all in hand" and then shrug when 2013 comes around.

This way at least concrete progress is being made.
 

BrightDay

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Why are we replacing denominational schools with multi-denominational schools? Why not non-denominational schools? Anyone? A golden opportunity missed. Regarding babies and bathwater, going non-denominational shouldn't mean that nuns, brothers who teach should have to stop teaching. They can continue to teach but in a non-denominational setting. Unless of course their motivation was really more about indoctrination and not education. 8% seems surprising, given 20% (am I right) of the country does not hold any belief in the supernatural.
Like publicrealm, I don't hold strong views on this.

However, I often wondered why the Department of Education does not manage the school system entirely themselves.

It appears that the Department are cherrypicking a number of schools (on what appears to be a very small percentage of parents requiring such a change) to be transferred to a different patronage.

Our local school is under the patronage of the catholic church. On the past two years parents have collected in excess of €200,000 for investment in the buildings - to supplement the contribution made by the Department for an extension. If that school's patronage was to be transferred to a different patronage "organisation" should'nt the existing patron be entitled to get that voluntary contribution back from the new patron or from the Department - since parents made the contributions based on the fact that the school was a "catholic school"?
 

Roisin3

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i'd say in a few years time there will be larger waiting lists for catholic schools than multi denominational schools, as has been proven in many countries church schools are academically better and have better discipline than secular schools.

Toronto, Canada, might be a case in point, sort of. The Catholic School Board there has grown year on year, especially since receiving some equity in funding since the 1960s.


Toronto Catholic District School Board - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Roisin3

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Our local school is under the patronage of the catholic church. On the past two years parents have collected in excess of €200,000 for investment in the buildings - to supplement the contribution made by the Department for an extension. If that school's patronage was to be transferred to a different patronage "organisation" should'nt the existing patron be entitled to get that voluntary contribution back from the new patron or from the Department - since parents made the contributions based on the fact that the school was a "catholic school"?
Good question. It's one that I haven't heard addressed.
 

controller

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There are waiting lists to get into catholic schools in Australia. The education is considered more rounded and discipline is stronger. Of course you will have knockers, but waiting lists do not lie.
 

devoutcapitalist

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There are waiting lists to get into catholic schools in Australia. The education is considered more rounded and discipline is stronger. Of course you will have knockers, but waiting lists do not lie.
australia is a very secular society and yet as you rightly say there are waiting lists to get into catholic schools in oz for the reasons you mention. Even in ultra secular france parents are now choosing catholic schools over state schools.
 

carruthers

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Where will Quinn get the money to compensate the Church for the land they are being told to hand over or are the parents going to contribute it themselves?
 

SayItAintSo

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I don't have strong views on who should run schools.

I would be concerned however if change was brought about for ideological reasons that led to a poorer schools service.

Baby with the bathwater stuff, potentially?
The impetus came from the church originally, Diarmuid Martin I believe. They asked that a forum be set up to examine how the CC could divest themselves of some schools to offer more choice to parents. R Quinn said this again on Morning Ireland today.
 

Monday Monday

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Re Waiting lists.
Since we already live in the Catholic nirvana that other countries are trying to get to why are we plummeting in the international rankings for education standards? Surely our more disciplined schools and rounded education should keep us up there.

Education Matters - Ireland's Foremost Education Periodical Education Matters » PISA study results: an urgent call to action

Re Brightday
You can't say for sure why the parents of your school raised 200'000 and I'd put it to you that they did it because they wanted a better educational facilities for their children rather than because they were Catholics. In fact, I think your example shows what's wrong with the Irish education system. The school needs money to function so the government (taxpayer) provides an inadequate amount and it is supplemented by the parents themselves (taxpayers) yet the Church, which contributed nothing, retains ownership.
 

Toland

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I agree.

Quinn is playing a blinder on this one.

Given his opposition both within the Department and in the schools, he's playing it conservative, step-by-step and ultra reasonable.

23 schools is a very modest demand. The language Quinn is using is also very interesting.

In short, as minister and provider of the funding, he's instructing, not asking. And he's doing so on the basis of a very thorough survey. The Bishops have six months to get back to the minister, which will cut the ground from under any argument of being rushed into anything.

The 23 come on top of five others already identified in a pilot study.

Given what the results of the surveys are likely to have been (can anyone find a link?) and the known preferences of parents, a total of 28 (out of a total of about 3300) is a very modest start.

Better to do this right, though, than to do it fast.


Bishops have six months to respond to survey on parental demand - Education News | Primary, Secondary & Third Level | The Irish Time - Tue, Apr 02, 2013
Primary schools in 23 towns to change patronage following survey
 

SayItAintSo

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As a parent who would choose a non-denominational school all things being equal, I'll out line how it is in our area.

3 primary schools, 2 single sex and one mixed catholic schools within 15mins walking distance. The two SS have been there donkeys years and the buildings reflect that, the mixed is relatively new and has by far and away the best facilities and is hugely oversubscribed every year.

If its decided the newer mixed school is to stay catholic and one of the SS is to go multi denominational (& mixed I presume) I'll leave my child in the mixed catholic. Not for religious reasons but simply because I believe at this time, from an all round perspective, it's the best school.
 

Toland

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Like publicrealm, I don't hold strong views on this.

However, I often wondered why the Department of Education does not manage the school system entirely themselves.

It appears that the Department are cherrypicking a number of schools (on what appears to be a very small percentage of parents requiring such a change) to be transferred to a different patronage.

Our local school is under the patronage of the catholic church. On the past two years parents have collected in excess of €200,000 for investment in the buildings - to supplement the contribution made by the Department for an extension. If that school's patronage was to be transferred to a different patronage "organisation" should'nt the existing patron be entitled to get that voluntary contribution back from the new patron or from the Department - since parents made the contributions based on the fact that the school was a "catholic school"?
My guess would be that that would depend on whether the parents continue to use the school.

The same would apply anyway to the fundraising of other parents for other schools if and when they decide to move to the divested one.
 
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