Surveys are live in 38 towns and suburbs around Ireland.
Birr and Edenderry are included in the survey.
The purpose of the survey is to determine whether there is sufficient demand in these areas to support the establishment of an alternative type of primary school, such as an Educate Together school.
The survey can be accessed on the Department’s website (www.education.ie) and parents of all children aged 0 to 12 years in the 38 areas are being asked what type of primary school they would like to see in their area.
The survey process is an expansion of pilot surveys conducted late last year in five towns: Whitehall, Castlebar, Tramore, Arklow and Trim. Results of the pilot phase showed positive levels of support from local parents in having Educate Together schools in all five towns.
Commenting on the process, Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe described the survey as ‘another milestone in providing for choice and diversity in Irish education’. Paul Rowe said, “The parent’s survey is a critical part of the patronage debate. It gives us a more complete picture of what parents are looking for in Irish primary education. This then allows the patron bodies, local communities and the Department of Education working together, to create a primary school system that meets everybody’s needs.”
Educate Together expects the survey results will confirm general support for the predominant Catholic model of education, but as in the pilot, significant support for the need for diversity and choice will emerge.
Many parents are availing of the opportunity the survey presents to express for the first time a preference for Educate Together schools for their communities.
If the survey results indicate that this demand is present, the Department will then engage with the church patrons to provide a new type of school in that area in line with the wishes of parents.
Paul Rowe commented, “The national rollout of the patronage surveys is another big step towards addressing the historical issue of imbalance in diversity of school type in the Irish education system. For the first time, parents in towns and suburbs up and down the country can articulate the choice of schools they wish for their families and their communities.”
The surveys will be live from Monday 14th January – Monday 8th February.
Any parents wishing to inform themselves about Educate Together before they complete the survey should go to www.educatetogether.ie/choice