Community National Schools provide solution for pluralism

County Dublin VEC, the multi-denominational patron body managing a number of new State operated Community National Schools, has stated strongly that these new primary schools are proving very satisfactory for parents, children and their entire communities.

This is in terms of educational excellence, community service and the total respect and inclusion that is afforded to children of all faiths and none, on a multi-denominational basis.

County Dublin VEC also said it is confident that the forthcoming Report of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism will acknowledge that, in respect of education in faiths, the Community National School model provides an effective and inclusive programme of optional religious education and instruction as part of the school programme and curriculum.

The major patron body also said that current media reports (arising from FOI information obtained from the Department of Education) are outlining concerns that were originally expressed around faith based education over four years ago. These concerns (as highlighted now in media) are largely historical in nature in terms of the new schools now already having been successfully established.

County Dublin VEC itself made submissions and recommendations in relation to faith aspects within the new schools and is satisfied that these were adopted. That process is also still evolving.

“As school patron, County Dublin VEC is a multidenominational school manager serving the educational needs of the entire community and catering for children of all faiths and none. In full realisation of our obligatory and vocational remit to cater for all pupils equally, the Community National Schools do not and will never espouse any one faith over another,” said County Dublin VEC Chief Executive, Dr. Marie Griffin.

“As regards the establishment of Boards of Management for the New Community Schools, we are awaiting this. We have wanted Boards of Management from the very outset to provide an inclusive voice to parents, teachers and the community. That is part of our community partnership approach and we are hopeful that the Minister will establish Boards in the near future,” said Dr. Griffin.

County Dublin VEC also said it is confident that some concerns expressed by a small number of parents at Scoil Choilm CNS, Porterstown, from a specific faith background, are close to resolution and that it is working tirelessly with all parents to ensure that their faith related viewpoints can be respected.

Community National Schools provide a multi-belief education programme called ‘Goodness Me!, Goodness You!’. These multi-faith schools operate through an ethos of inclusivity and respect for all beliefs both religious and non-religious. They provide an innovative approach in meeting the wishes of parents or guardians, within the school setting and within the school day.

Community National Schools recognise the wishes of parents to have their children receive religious education as an integral part of the school curriculum.

The school patron body County Dublin VEC manages 26 Community Colleges and 3 Community National Schools throughout the County Dublin region, a large area spanning from Balbriggan in the North, to Shankill in the South and to Lucan in the West. County Dublin VEC has been appointed patron of a further three Community National Schools to be opened in County Dublin in 2012 and 2013.