I read with interest an article on Government stats showing that more children are attending multi-denominational schools this year ‘Non-Catholic enrolments up’, (Irish Examiner, February 27).
The figures show that choice is slowly taking effect in the education system and that is, of course great to see.
But tell that to the children and families in Tuam, Trim, Tramore, Castlebar, and New Ross who are right now being denied access to their local Educate Together schools because of Government-imposed enrolment caps on the schools.
These thriving Educate Together schools with growing waiting lists have been restricted to half-stream, meaning they can only enrol 13 Junior Infants per year [as opposed to the standard of 26].
So in effect, this week the Government is putting out statistics showing growth in the multi-denominational sector whilst at the same time stinting that very same growth.
This is wrong, and Educate Together has called on the Government to reverse the decision and to let the schools grow.
The reality is that, all over Ireland, in towns just like Tuam, Trim, Tramore, Castlebar, and New Ross, the demand for equality-based schooling outstrips the supply.
The department should be working with school patrons like Educate Together to make more places available — not less.
Also this week the Education Minister, Richard Bruton TD, stated he is strongly committed to providing more choice and diversity in the school system.
In the interests of choice and diversity — in the interests of the families most severely affected by these restrictions — Educate Together urges Minister Bruton to lift the enrolment cap on these schools.
Chairperson, Educate Together