Letter 07 06 19 to Forward Planning Unit

Letter 07 06 19 to Forward Planning Unit

The ETHX committee have written a letter to the new Principal of the Forward Planning section in the Department of Education in the hope that she will have a fresh and pragmatic approach to our concerns regarding the planning of the new post-primary school at Harold’s Cross. We outline our concerns in this letter and appeal to the new Principal to address the following issues:

• Discrimination with the regards to access to education.
• Fragmentation of existing school communities to the detriment of children’s health
• No choice and no voice for parental preference

Letter 07 06 19 to Forward Planning Unit


Letter from the Office of the Minister for Education & Skills

Despite the HUGE support for our campaign, the response from Minister for Education Joe McHugh to change the school planning district for the new HX secondary school to includeD8/D12 was a NO!

Please read the letter from the Office of the Minister for Education & Skills and respond how you wish to the Minister.

The ETHX campaign will be sending an update on how we will proceed with the campaign. We will continue to challenge this. We appreciate your continued support.


Freedom of Information request

Information released by Department of Education & Skills, under a Freedom of Information request by Sophie Nicoullaud, Green Party local candidate.
These tables show that the secondary schools in Dublin 6 are only oversubscribed because children travel from Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 (among other areas).
The new school planned for Harold’s Cross should include Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 in it’s catchment area.

Letter to the Minister April 2019

Dear Minister,

As a group we are disappointed that apart from one holding email (April 4th) we have received no acknowledgement or substantive engagement from the Department on the issues raised at our meeting on February 13th last.  While the group were not expecting an immediate response and understand that there may be complexities in balancing various interested parties’ rights, it was represented to us at the meeting that there would be engagement and an open line of communication with the Department and Minister through your office.

We had felt positive following the meeting and believed we were no longer in the frustrating position of having no engagement or response from the Department, as had been the case with the current Minister’s predecessor. It is this lack of meaningful engagement by public representatives and lack of transparency with the system that results in groups such as ours who are seeking to engage in a process in a respectful way feeling marginalised.  We have always attempted to address these issues through advocacy and participation on a principled and reasonable basis and expected similar in return. The matter is not simply a policy issue for us but something that directly affects us and goes to the root of our inalienable constitutional rights as parents. It cannot simply be put on the backburner as when it comes to giving our children access to the best education possible time is of the essence.

The parents and primary school children of Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 deserve choice and a voice and full unfettered access to the new secondary schools being opened in their local community on the same basis as their more privileged (when it comes to choices in education) neighbours.

I am sure the Department acknowledges that it makes sense to ensure that catchments surrounding proposed new schools service the local communities to which they are adjacent, where those local communities (Dublin 8 and Dublin 12) are severely lacking in real and sustainable choice for second level education.  Having to travel through and well past those areas in the densest traffic in the country to access choice in education is ludicrous.

We are not looking for a redraft of the guiding principles being followed by forward planning.  We are seeking a level of logic and flexibility by having the two school planning districts of Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 included in the catchment for the Harold’s Cross school.  Other schools have a catchment comprising four school planning districts and catchments have in the past been revised.  Such a move would demonstrate clearly that the Department is willing to engage with parents (give credence to parental preference) and children and believes that all local children are entitled to access new schools being opened on an equal footing to their neighbours. It would identify the current minister as one not afraid to embrace change and understanding the central role of education in ensuring children’s wellbeing.

We would be grateful if you could bring this and previous correspondence to the Minister’s attention and we await your response or at the very least an indication of when we can expect further engagement from the Department on the issue.

Kind regards

ETHX Committee


New schools serving school planning areas

School Planning Area  Served* No. of Students* Opened/Opening* Location of school/Status
Dublin 2, 4, 6 and 8 1000 2018 Permanent location will be Rosamund Park, Sandymount, Dublin 4.
Educate Together awarded patronage.
Dublin 6, 6W and Clonskeagh (D.14) 1000 2020 Planned location: Harold’s Cross ‘Greyhound’ site, Dublin 6.
Patronage process to start imminently.
Dublin 2, 4. 600 2021 DIT School of Music building, Rathmines, Dublin 6 being acquired apparently.
Patronage process will probably run in Q1 2020.

*Source: Department of Education & Skills Press release, April 2018. https://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2018-press-releases/PR18-04-13.html


Call to Action – March 2019

Dear Parents,

It is over a month since our meeting with Minister Joe McHugh and representatives from the Department of Education and Skills. In that time, we have received no official follow-up on expanding the catchment area of the Harolds Cross school site to include Dublin 8 and Dublin 12.

The Department of Education and Skills repeatedly tell us that Dublin 6/6W schools are oversubscribed, while Dublin 8 and 12 schools are undersubscribed, but a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request has yielded a staggering result. Dublin 12 represents the 2nd largest population of post-primary school going children in Dublin 6/6W. Combined with Dublin 8 (a growing primary school population that we will see peak in 2025) they account for 21% of the Dublin 6/6W post-primary school going population.

Currently one in four children migrate from Dublin 12 daily to access post-primary schools and education in Dublin 6/6W.

Why is this?

The ETHX committee and working groups have decided on three core actions for the coming month. Our goal is to grab the attention of the Minister and the Department of Education and Skills, and to push our issue to the top of their agenda.

Action 1: Political Representation

We need to maintain pressure on our political representatives. The Department of Education and Skills will not budge on this issue. Only political pressure and parent power will see the catchment increased to include Dublin 8 and 12.

Please click here to view a template letter/email that you can personalise and forward to your local political representatives.

In addition, with local elections fast approaching, we would ask you to raise the issue with any political representatives canvasing in your area.

If our campaign is printed on their literature, we would ask you to call them out on it and to challenge them on any actions on our behalf, what results they have had and how they are going to communicate on this issue once they have left your doorstep.

Action 2: Social Media

We the parents have met in large numbers; now we need to give our children, the students and future students, the chance to be heard.

We are making a call-out for content for our social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter).

All formats will work: short videos, pictures, drawings and quotes. Here are some suggested questions that might help when putting a piece together:

– What is your name? (optional)
– What is your postcode? (optional)
– What do you want to be when you grow up?
– What are your favorite subjects in school?
– What do you enjoy most about school?
– When you think about school, what is most important to you?
– How do you travel to school?
– Who do you travel to school with?

Please send all content to ethxschool@gmail.com and we will post it to our Facebook site and share it on Twitter.

If you wish to tweet as a parent on our campaign, please feel free to include some or all of the following hashtags are #ETHX, #parentpower, #ittakesavillage, #ireland2040, #nochild2020.

Please be sure to include our Twitter handle, @ETHXCampaign, as well as @McHughJoeTD and @education_ire the Minister’s and Department of Education and Skills handles.

Action 3: Grow our Network

On a local level, we are looking for campaign representatives in primary schools in D6, D6W, D8 and D12.

We need to demonstrate to the Minister and Department of Education and Skills that we represent a large number of voters. Also, it is important that parents in all types of schools know about the campaign and that there might be a secondary school alternative available soon for their child.

Suggestions to promote the ETHX campaign in your primary school are listed below:

– Send a message to class WhatsApp groups or email lists about the campaign
– Put up posters on school noticeboards  or local boards
– Give a talk at the next PTA meeting about the need for another secondary school (or invite someone from the ETHX campaign committee to talk)

We understand that each school is different in terms of communication routes, culture etc, so you may need to adapt the above for your school environment.
The campaign committee is available to help you with information, posters, drafting messages etc as needed.

This is a national issue, not just a local one. If you know of any communities with children/young adults who cannot access a local school due to catchment area please ask them to get in touch ethxschool@gmail.com, we want to hear from them and we want to work with them.

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for all your contributions and efforts.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Deirdre & Roisin
Chairperson & Secretary.
ETHX Campaign

What is the ETHX campaign about?

Choice and a Voice: Over 150 children will leave Educate Together primary schools in Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 in 2025 to a dearth of post-primary educational choice. There is no non-fee paying, co-educational, multi-denominational second-level school offering a full Leaving Certificate in our local area. Our children are being unfairly prejudiced and discriminated against. We as parents need to make choices for our children’s education that make no sustainable, geographical or demographical sense. At the moment, for example, children from Dublin 8 have to travel to Sandymount (to Sandymount Park ETSS, approx. 5km away) or Blackrock (to Newpark Comprehensive, approx. 10km away) for continuity of ethos. By excluding Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 from the catchment area, we will have no voice in the upcoming patronage survey and continue to have no choice in the post-primary education we desire for our children.
Community Continuity: We are extremely concerned about the exclusion of Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 from the catchment area for the proposed post-primary school in Harold’s Cross. The current catchment area is listed by the Department of Education & Skills as Dublin 6, Clonskeagh and Dublin 6W. Our community is being fragmented and dispersed, and our children are being denied the opportunity to create lasting friendships from primary school through to Leaving Certificate. This site represents a real and viable solution to our needs, and would provide our children with a harmonious transition to second level, and the continuity in education and community that they deserve.
Parental Preference: The ETHX campaign represents a cohesive solution to the patronage and demographic demand regarding the provision of a new second-level school at the Harold’s Cross site. As evident in the demographic spread of our mailing list (750+) and active committee members (45+), our campaign has significant support from parents of children attending a majority of primary schools in the Dublin 8, 12, 6 and 6W areas, where there is a proven lack of access to a co-educational, multi-denominational, democratic, second-level school.

PUBLIC MEETING 31st January 2019

Will you help us change the minds of politicians and the Minister for Education on the new Harold’s Cross second-level school catchment area? Children from Dublin 8 and 12, and not just Dublin 6 and 6W, should be eligible to attend this school in their locality.

The ETHX campaign will hold a public meeting in the Griffith Barracks school hall on Thursday 31 January at 7.30pm. Politicians and public representatives will be there. We will be there. Will you? We really need your support.

Please sign up to attend on the night by clicking here.


Letter to Minister Bruton 18 May 2018

Minister Bruton,
Department of Education and Skills,
Marlborough Street,
Dublin 1,
D01 RC96

Ref: 1801593 /KM

Dear Minister Bruton,

We refer to our letter of the 16th March 2018 and we are disappointed that we have received no response to date.

Since that letter the Department of Education and Skills announced a number of new schools in April. While we welcome the announcement, the exclusion of Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 from the catchment area for the proposed school in Harold’s Cross (or indeed any school) is most disheartening and in our view lacks logic.

We have however noted the reference to a “Regional Solution” being applied to Harold’s Cross proposed school and we are calling formally on the Department to use this to extend the catchment area to Dublin 8 and Dublin 12, two areas totally neglected in the provisions of appropriate second level school options.
As previously stated we are a group of parents resident in Dublin 6, Dublin 6W, Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 with children attending a variety of primary schools together in the area.
There is a 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. There is no harmonious transition to second level available to this community.

We are ready and can provide the Department of Education and Skills with a cohesive solution to address patronage and demographic demand for this geographical area. We have a database of over 1,000 parents resident in the Dublin 6, Dublin 6W, Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 area who clearly in the interest of inclusivity, request a secondary school under the patronage of Educate Together in and to serve this geographical area. The children of this geographical area are not currently catered for by any second level school with a similar ethos which is co-educational, provides a full curriculum and is not feepaying. The Harold’s Cross site presents a real and acceptable solution in this regard.

Please note that this is a formal expression of need and confirm that it has been noted bythe Department of Education and Skills and will be seriously considered. Please can you provide us as a matter of urgency with clarity on the above? In addition, we would like an opportunity to meet with you to give you more information on our membership, campaign and the appetite in the area for a co-educational, multi-denominational, democratically run, non-fee paying second level school. We attach our position paper, which illustrates clearly how we can help you as Minister of Education to meet with some of the aspirations in your programme in Government with regards to education.

Yours Sincerely,

______________ __________________

Deirdre Brennan , Asumpta Sweeney


ETHX Position


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.


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.


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 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.



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).


ETHX Updates

The ETH-X campaign welcomes plans for a new secondary school for Harolds Cross for D6, D6w and Clonskeagh.

However we will continue our work to campaign for the inclusion of Dublin 8 and Dublin 12.

Patronage of this school has yet to be decided.

You can help us demonstrate a need for a non fee paying mulitdenominational co educational secondary school by filling out our Survey of Need.