More multi-denominational primary schools for Limerick

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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 with Glenroe National school pupils Mollie Mansell, Sebi Armstrong and Aoife McSweeney.

LIMERICK and Clare Education and Training Board has welcomed confirmation from the Department of Education that it will facilitate a greater number of multi-denominational schools across the country.

The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process will also support the transfer of primary schools from the patronage of the Catholic Church to multi-denominational patrons.

Education and Training Board (ETB) chief executive George O’Callaghan said they already operate 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,” Mr O’Callaghan explained.

“They also celebrate events that are important to the school community such as Christmas, Eid, and Diwali throughout the school year.”

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The reconfiguration 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 religious ethos to a multi-denominational one.

When a school transfers from one patron to another, the school retains the same roll number with staff and pupils remaining in place.

ETB Director of Schools Donncha Ó Treasaigh said there are currently 27 Community National Schools in Ireland with this figure expected to increase in future years.

“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.

“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,” he added.

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.

Glenroe CNS Head Teacher Julie O’Connor said the broad range of supports available from the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board played a significant part in the school’s ongoing success.

ETB Director of Organisation Support and Development Shelagh Graham said the supports and administration functions provided for ETB schools covers a range of services including Capital Building Projects, Human Resources, Finance, Governance, ICT, and corporate services.”

Former Patrickswell National School Principal Ciarán Crowe provides support to the growing network of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board Community National Schools.

He said he was 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, in the first instance, engage with their school patron .

Further information at [email protected]