Seanad debates

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Adjournment Matters

Schools Recognition

5:25 pm

Photo of Martin ConwayMartin Conway (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

This is the second time in the past 12 months that I have raised this issue on the Adjournment. I am frequently approached by teachers and parents frustrated by the failure of the Department to grant permanent recognition to Mol an Óige national school in Ennistymon, County Clare.

The school has been in existence for a number of years and its population is well in excess of 100. According to the latest figures, some 126 children are enrolled in the school, which probably makes it one of the biggest schools of this type in the country. The teaching quality at the school is of a very high standard. Teaching quality throughout County Clare is of a very high standard.

Many parents are choosing to bring their children to Mol an Óige national school which has received temporary recognition and I have no reason to believe it will not continue to receive such recognition. However, the parents want permanent recognition for a number of reasons, the overriding reason being that they want to send their children to a school that is recognised by the State. Temporary recognition is far from permanent recognition and I would like the Minister of State to outline the criteria used in seeking and granting permanent recognition. At what stage of the process is Mol an Óige national school at? Is it on the radar? Within what timeframe can the parents of the children attending the school realistically expect permanent recognition to be granted? Is there a reason such recognition is not being granted? Perhaps some personnel within the Department are in favour of an ethos that differs from the teaching principles used in the school. These principles are mainstream, in effect. It is unfair that some children have almost gone through the entire primary school cycle - I have mentioned that the school has been in existence for a number of years - while the school has continued to operate on the basis of temporary recognition. Given that it has gone through the process mentioned and that the parents and teachers have put a serious effort into meeting all the criteria required for permanent recognition, perhaps it is time for the Department to meet them more than halfway.


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