Schools Reconﬁguration for Diversity process -Inspiring the next generation in a CNS classroom: Shelagh Graham, ETB Director of Organisation Support and Development; Ciarán Crowe, former principal; George O’Callaghan, ETB Chief Executive; and Donncha Ó Treasaigh, ETB Director of Schools. Picture: Brian Arthur.
Department of Education is to facilitate greater availability of multi-denominational schools across the country
Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board has welcomed the announcement from the Department of Education to facilitate greater availability of multi-denominational schools across the country. The Schools Reconﬁguration for Diversity process will support the transfer of primary schools to multi-denominational patrons.
Commenting on the Schools Reconﬁguration for Diversity process announcement, George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, said: “The ETB already operates Community National Schools at primary level at three sites in the region. These are state, co-educational, multi-denominational primary schools underpinned by the core values of Excellence in Education, Care, Equality, Community and Respect. Community National Schools teach the national primary school curriculum as set out by the Department of Education and have a ‘multi-denominational’ ethos. They also celebrate events that are important to the school community such as Christmas, Eid, and Diwali throughout the school year.”
The Schools Reconﬁguration for Diversity process announced by the Department of Education involves existing schools changing their patron and may also mean a change of ethos, for example, a change from a denominational (religious) ethos to a multi-denominational ethos. When a school transfers from one patron to another, the school retains the same roll number with staff and pupils remaining in place.
Donncha Ó Treasaigh, Director of Schools with Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, said: “The Programme for Government refers to the reconfiguration of schools to Community National School (CNS), which are under the patronage of Education and Training Boards (ETBs). There are currently 27 Community National Schools in Ireland with this figure expected to increase in future years.” He continued: “We are very much looking forward to working with existing patrons to develop additional Community National Schools in Limerick following the successful transfer of patronage of two County Clare schools to the ETB in 2019. In addition, the ETB was selected by the Department of Education to make provision for children in Glenroe, County Limerick, to enrol in the county’s first Community National School experience for Limerick.”
Glenroe opened in September 2020 following a collective effort and partnership between the local working group from Glenroe/Ballyorgan Community Council, the Diocese of Limerick, Department officials and the ETB. Julie O’Connor was appointed as Head Teacher of the school. She said: “The broad range of supports both personally and professionally available to our school community from our patron, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, has been phenomenal and has played a significant part in the success of this school.” Shelagh Graham is Director of Organisation Support and Development with Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board. She said: “The supports and administration functions that the organisation provides for ETB schools covers a range of services including Capital Building Projects, Human Resources, Finance, Governance, ICT, and corporate services.”
Ciarán Crowe is the former principal of Patrickswell National School. He currently provides support to the growing network of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board Community National Schools. He said: “I am very impressed with the structures and procedures in place from the ETB to provide support and advice to CNS school principals, staff, pupils and Boards of Management.”
School communities that may be interested in exploring a transfer of patronage should engage with their school patron in the first instance. Primary school principals or school communities in Limerick and Clare who are interested in further information can contact Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board through [email protected].
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