Pressure group Education Equality has expressed alarm at reports that a Co Kerry school is to reopen in September under the patronage of the local Education and Training Board.
Following parental surveys in 2013, Killarney was one of 25 areas where parents were promised an Educate Together national school under the ‘divestment’ plan.
Cahorreigh National School, known locally as Two Mile School, will now re-open as a Community National School, however.
Education Equality says that CNS schools are “not truly equality-based schools and do not treat children of all belief backgrounds with equal respect because of the way in which they are segregated during the school day”.
Responding to the recent announcement, Education Equality chairperson Sarah Lennon said: “This is not what parents in Killarney want or deserve.
“Any school that divides children up according to their parents’ beliefs must give rise to serious concerns. Segregation is something we should be working against, rather than actively promoting.
“The evangelisation of young children during the school day is simply not appropriate in a modern democratic republic.”
Kerry ETB will open its first Community National School (CNS) in September 2017. pic.twitter.com/7NKW8NIp1S— Kerry ETB (@KerryETB) June 13, 2017
Yesterday, Educate Together called for a full reassessment of Education Minister Richard Bruton’s ‘reconfiguration’ process and that a new process be formulated “that considers the wishes of families, rather than Church interests”.
Commenting on the announcement, Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe said: “Today’s announcement is disappointing for parents in Killarney, who have been let down.
“It is also of serious concern to all of us who who have been working towards real reform and reconfiguration of the primary school system over many years.
“What is needed now is a complete review of the Minister’s proposed process for reconfiguration.
“The state needs to take control of this process, so that the needs of local communities, and not Bishops or religious orders, are central, and so that real change can happen nationwide.”