The announcement yesterday by Minister for Education Richard Bruton that Educate Together has been awarded patronage of three schools in Dublin brought delight to one set of local parents.
A group of Mums and Dads from Firhouse had been dedicatedly campaigning to get an Educate Together secondary school in their area following the success of their local primary school which is under the auspices of the same organisation.
Educate Together have been in existance since 1978, when its first school, the Dalkey School Project opened.
A founding principle of its approach to education is that all children are treated with equal respect, regardless of social, cultural or religious backgrounds.
The other Dublin based schools will be in Malahide and Dublin South City.
The second-level school in Firhouse, will cater to 1000 pupils and will open in 2018
In addition to providing a second-level option for children attending Educate Together national schools, it is hoped that the school will provide some students with their first experience of Educate Together.
Carly Bailey, campaigner with Firhouse Educate Together Secondary School Campaign spoke of the parents delight:
‘Myself and many other parents have been campaigning hard for this school and we are delighted to finally see our work coming to fruition.
“The Educate Together model of education has proved so popular in Firhouse and the surrounding areas.
“We know that Educate Together gives children freedom to be themselves and parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your child is being nurtured in an atmosphere of equality.
“So we’re really looking forward to our children experiencing the continuation of Educate “Together’s ethical education at second-level and trust it will be as rewarding as it has been at primary.’
Minister for Children Katherine Zappone welcomed the announcement:
“Confirmation that Educate Together is coming to Firhouse will not only ensure quality education but will also provide greater choice for families in terms of post-primary schools.
“It is expected that in 2018 the new school will start taking in first year students and then increase capacity to 1,000 places.
“The Firhouse school will like other Education Together schools provide classes to teenagers “irrespective of their social, cultural or religious background.”
“More than 20,000 young people attend such schools across the country and demand continues to grow – Firhouse will join the growing list of communities where education has been transformed.
“During the negotiations for Government earlier this year I highlighted the need for a dynamic and innovative education system that reflects the diversity of twenty first century Ireland.
“To make this a reality we need to deliver equality in education through diversity of faith and belief in our schools.
“In Firhouse parents will soon have greater choice in selecting a school which is not only local but welcomes all.
“It is my hope that preparations will advance swiftly and that Educate Together will commence classes within the two-year timeframe.”