WHO WE ARE

We are a group of parents resident in Dublin 6, Dublin 6W, Dublin 8 and Dublin 12, with children attending primary schools together in the area. We have a serious concern about the lack of access to a co-educational, multi-denominational, democratically run, non-fee paying second level school in our area to service the needs of our Community.

Our ethos is one of child centred learning, equality and respect aligned to the Educate Together ethos.

A large number of our children attend co-educational, multi-denominational primary schools with this inclusive ethos. In addition our campaign has significant support from parents of children attending other schools, some of whom missed out on multi-denominational options at primary level (due to the high demand for those schools) and others who simply value and subscribe to this ethos as being the appropriate one for their children’s education.

Without a harmonious transition to a similar second level school to serve the entirety of this (D6, D6W, D8 and D12) Community and consistency in ethos and learning, crucial relationships and communities will be destroyed. No such option currently exists for this community and as a direct result our children are being unfairly prejudiced and discriminated against. The proposed School site at Harold’s Cross represents a viable solution to this need.

WHAT WE WANT

We aim to secure the inclusion of children from Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 with their school colleagues from Dublin 6 and Dublin 6W in the new school to be located in Harold’s Cross and further secure a patronage for the school in the future aligned with our ethos with a 21st century approach to teaching and learning.

THE FACTS

Parents have a constitutional right to provide for the, “religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education” of our children. It should follow that parents have the right to choose the type of school they wish their children to attend. The Department of Education and Skills in fulfilling its obligation to children should plan and provide for such schools and maintain the communities fostered in primary education.

It is clear that Dublin 6, 6 W, 8 and 12 should be included together in a school catchment for the school due to be sited at Harold’s Cross. This new school provides an optimum opportunity to cater for children in their local community and provide continuity of education and ethos.

While Dublin 6 and 6W are included in the Department’s plans announced on April 13th for this site, Dublin 12 is excluded and has no viable alternative secondary school.

Dublin 8 is also excluded and while this area with Dublin 6 is included in the catchment for the new ET school in Sandymount, this logistically is not a viable alternative for many families in Dublin 8, which borders Dublin 6W. It makes no sense to ignore the opportunity Harold’s Cross represents and force children to travel past that site to Sandymount instead.

While the Equal Status Acts prohibit discrimination based on gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, membership of the traveller community and race, there are exceptions in the legislation that allows for discrimination in certain circumstances based on religious grounds. In addition, as long as there is a lack of real alternatives for secondary education in the form of an inclusive ethos that accommodates diversity and respects values across the nine grounds in equality legislation many children, including those that attend multi denominational co-educational primary schools, suffering discrimination. The de facto position is one of inequity and exclusion. The obligation of the State to take steps to progressively achieve inclusion in the provision of education is not being realised.

THE RISKS

The absence of a co-educational, multi-denominational, democratically run, non-fee paying second level school in our area means our children are being unfairly prejudiced against. They will not have to access to schools with continuity of ethos and are therefore at risk of exclusion by the State. From September 2018 there will be six primary schools in this area that will have no continuity of ethos and school community at second level. This situation has been ongoing in some cases for 22 years and is no longer acceptable in the 21st century. The lack of a viable option will separate siblings and classmates based on gender, religious background and/or household income.

Education is the soul of society, there must be a natural and harmonious transition to a second level school for primary level relationships and communities to thrive.

Education is an opportunity. It shouldn’t be a problem.

Fine Gael’s Programme for Government committed “to reach 400 multi-denominational and non-denominational schools by 2030”, on the basis that “In a changing Ireland, families around the country should be offered greater choice in the education system.” (Minister Bruton May 2017).

Our primary school children from D6, D6W, D8 and D12 who want to transition to secondary education together provide the Department with a readymade school community to help fulfil this vision.

This breakdown of our mailing list by post code clearly demonstrates the areas of most need and a cohesive school community.

THE OPPORTUNITY

IN BRIEF

1. We note that the new school planned for the Harold’s Cross site is being presented as a “Regional Solution”. Will the catchment include children from Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 along with their school colleagues from Dublin 6 (& Clonskeagh) and 6W areas as initially indicated by the Department on April 13th?

2. Does the Department of Education and Skills intend to provide a co-educational, multi denominational, non-fee paying second level school for children living in Dublin 6, Dublin 6W, Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 to attend together in the area?

3. We are ready and can provide the Department of Education and skills with a cohesive solution to address patronage and demographic demand. We have a database of parents in the D 6, D 6W, D 8 and D 12 area, whose children attend primary schools together and who clearly in the interest of continuity and inclusion request a secondary school under the patronage of Educate Together in (and to serve) this same geographical area. These children are currently not catered for by any second level school in this area which has a similar ethos, is co-educational, provides a full curriculum, consistency in education and is non-fee paying.

All children have a right to the education they deserve. The state has an obligation to provide a fit for purpose, modern, inclusive, quality education system which is based on equality, harmony and access for all.

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself” (John Dewey).

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