Labour Party Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called on the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, to remove the cap on enrolment of Educate Together schools.
The Labour Party spokesperson on education, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has issued an urgent call to the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton of Fine Gael in relation to enrolment caps.
Ó Ríordáin has been joined in a discussion of the rights of those who support greater choice in education by the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on education, Thomas Byrne TD.
Senator Ó Ríordáin said: “Reports from around the country about the Department of Education and Skills’ insistence on putting an enrolment cap on Educate Together schools is deeply concerning.
“Under Labour in Government, the number of Educate Together schools at both primary and secondary level expanded rapidly throughout the country.
“The success of our initiative has been shown in many school communities where many of these schools are struggling to cater for demand."
He added: “The Minister for Education therefore must explain why out of the blue that his Department have decided to place an enrolment cap on one particular type of primary school.
“This decision gives credence to the suspicion that the Department of Education has a bias against multi-denominational education, as so many Educate Together campaigns have halted since Labour left Government.
“The Minister for Education must now move to remove the enrolment cap on Educate Together schools in New Ross, Tramore, Trim, Castlebar, and Tuam."
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil education spokesperson Thomas Byrne TD has said the following in relation to the situation at Educate Together schools in New Ross, Trim, Castlebar, Tramore and Tuam: “Parental and family choice in education is a basic principle that Fianna Fáil advocated in Government and seeks now. Where a School is established by the Department, it should never be done in a half-hearted way.
“Establishment of new half stream schools should be completely ruled out except in extreme circumstances, and it’s hard to imagine any, and certainly doesn’t apply in the Educate Together schools in Trim, New Ross, Castlebar, Tramore and Tuam.
“The Minister for Education is full of announcements and rhetoric about multi denominational education.
"The Programme for Government commits to 400 new multi denominational schools. The reality of delivery is far different. Minister Bruton has effectively delivered nothing so far in his term, with even the Schools Admissions Bill languishing due to Government inaction and these schools told to only half-operate."
He concluded: “If in Government, Fianna Fáil would not allow these schools to operate on a half stream basis. We would establish them on at least a one full stream basis. Fianna Fáil demands that the Government, now that these schools are established, to allow these schools to operate to the full potential of the parental and family demand for them.
"This would allow the schools to operate as a normal school and satisfy the reasonable demands of parents and families."