School-patronage survey rolled out across 38 areas
The Department of Education is to extend a survey on school patronage to 38 areas around the country.
Parents will be asked what kind of primary school they want for their children as part of plans to divest a number of schools from the Catholic Church.
The survey can be accessed on line via www.education.ie. Parents or guardians of school-going children aged up to five will need to have their PPS number for verification purposes in order to complete the survey.
The survey has already been carried out in five areas on a pilot basis. A total of 1,836 valid survey responses were received, representing 3,494 children in the five areas.
The number of parents who supported a wider choice of patron ranged from 37% to 50%. The percentage of parents who said they would send their children to an alternative school patron if available ranged from 26% to 36%, while those who did not want to see more choice ranged from 34% to 44% of respondents.
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At present, 96% of primary schools are under church patronage, with more than 90% or approximately 3,000 schools under the remit of the Catholic Church.
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 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.
List of 38 areas to be surveyed
Ballyfermot/ Chapelizod/ Palmerstown/ Cherry Orchard