Multi-denominational enrolment limit must be reversed

Demand in Castlebar far exceeds school places

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers has called on the Education Minister to abolish the 13 pupil limit he has implemented in a number of Educate Together Schools, including one in Castlebar.

The Department’s current position to limit enrolment to a half stream, or 13 students, in certain schools from September has led to an outcry from parents in the town who want to send their children to a multi-denominational school.

Deputy Chambers explained, “I have been contacted by parents who are extremely angry and frustrated by the Ministers decision to limit enrolment numbers at the Educate Together School in Castlebar to 13. This is a completely ridiculous situation and is denying parents the choice as to how they want their children educated.

“The Department sanctioned the opening of the school, but now appears to be attempting to stifle its success by imposing enrolment restrictions. Demand for places in Educate Together schools is high and the Minister should be embracing their popularity and increasing places to give parents a range of educational options.

“Despite publically advocating for multi-denominational schools, the actions of Minister Bruton’s Department appear to be telling a different story. The Programme for Government commits to 400 new multi denominational schools but the reality of the situation is very different.

“I raised this issue at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil front bench earlier today and all TDs, including the party leader Micheál Martin, were in agreement that the affected schools in New Ross, Trim, Tramore, Tuam and Castlebar should be allowed to take a full stream.

“Fianna Fáil is calling on Minister Bruton to ensure that these schools are given the resources to offer the full allocation of class places, and not be stymied by a flawed government policy. This would offer parents a basic choice of school for their children”.