1,000 signatures reached
To: Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education and Skills
Galway needs a second level Educate Together school now
Provide a second level school in Galway under the patronage of Educate Together
Why is this important?
It is more than 20 years since the first Educate Together National School in Galway opened its doors, offering education in line with the Educate Together Charter, which guarantees equality of access and esteem to children irrespective of their social, cultural or religious background, is learner centred and run as a participatory democracy, with respectful partnership between parents, pupils and teachers. Today, over 800 children are enrolled in 5 growing Educate Together primary schools in Galway. However, there is no second level Educate Together school for these children. Until an Educate Together second level school is opened in Galway, these children will be separated from their friends as well as their preferred educational ethos on leaving 6th class.
Educate Together second level schools are already open or scheduled to open in Dublin, Cork, Wicklow, Kildare, Louth and Limerick. What about the children of Galway?
The Galway Educate Together 2nd Level School Start-up Group (GET2LS) has been campaigning for almost 5 years for the provision of an Educate Together second level school in Galway. This school is now urgently needed, because:
1. There is a clear demographic need for a new school in Galway, as shown by a detailed analysis of the 2011 Census data, as well as ongoing analyses of primary school enrolment figures for Galway and preliminary data from the 2016 census.
2. The parents/guardians of 1,469 children wish them to attend an Educate Together second level school in Galway (Expressions of Interest collected). These include not only children from the 5 Educate Together primary schools in Galway, but also children from over 50 other primary schools in Galway.
3. The diversity of Galway's population is not reflected in the ethos of Galway's schools. The vast majority of second level schools in Galway are under the patronage of the Catholic Church and many are single sex schools. Parents who wish their children to be educated in non-denominational, multi-denominational or mixed schools are frequently unable to find suitable places.
In 2016 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the State "expeditiously undertake concrete measures to significantly increase the availability of non-denominational or multi-denominational schools".
Minister, the Programme for Government, along with your Action Plan for Education, included a commitment to "increase the number of non-denominational and multi-denominational schools with a view to reaching 400 by 2030". We are calling on you to act now by providing a second level school under the patronage of Educate Together in Galway.