Minister for Education: Ruari Quinn
Survey results published yesterday show a high demand by parents to see the patronage of primary schools taken away from the Church.
The surveys commissioned by Minister for Education and Skills, Ruari Quinn show that there is sufficient parental demand in 23 out of the 38 areas assessed to support an immediate change in the existing school patronage system.
Twenty-two of the areas will see the establishment of an English language, multi-denominational school and one area will see an Irish language school established.
Parents expressed a preference for an Educate Together patron in 20 of the areas and the other two towns will see Community National Schools established, run by the local VEC.
Thirty of the 38 areas surveyed already have a gaelscoil option available for parents.
Minister Quinn said the results were a significant step on the road to providing real choice for parents in relation to their children's primary education.
"We are confident of a generous response from the existing patrons to the clear demand for change in more than 60 per cent of the areas surveyed this year," the Minister said.
"But there is also a strong demonstration through the surveys that many parents are happy with the current schools on offer and I think this reflects well on the education services provided by our existing patrons,” he added.
The surveys were undertaken over a four week period during January and parents of children up to the age of twelve-year-old were invited to participate.
Just over ten thousand valid survey responses were received, the vast majority of which were processed on-line.
Selected towns chosen were chosen because they had a stable population of between 5,000 and 20,000.
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