Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Department of Education and Science

School Management

12:00 pm

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Question 51: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if he has completed his review of the legal and related issues surrounding the application by Educate Together to be recognised as a patron for a post-primary school; the reason his officials raised concerns recently at a meeting (details supplied) regarding Educate Together's proposal not to stream students at second level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44084/09]

Photo of Batt O'KeeffeBatt O'Keeffe (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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My Department is considering a number of broad policy issues relating to the recognition process for second level schools and the application from Educate Together to be recognised as a patron body at second level is being fully examined within the context of the relevant legal, financial and other factors.

In recent talks between officials from my Department and representatives from Educate Together, there was a wide-ranging and constructive discussion about the issues associated with Educate Together's application to become a patron at second level. The discussion also focussed on the blueprint for post-primary education published by Educate Together in June of this year. This blueprint outlines the approach by Educate Together to providing an inclusive education where all young people, whatever their ability, will be provided with learning opportunities and classroom practices that explicitly take account of the different ways students learn.

Educate Together's proposal not to stream students at second level was one of a wide range of issues discussed at the meeting with them. The main focus of the discussion related to the potential enrolments in any school given recognition by the Department, the necessity to cater for as wide a range as possible of the community served by the school and the extent of curricular range that would be available in an Educate Together school. My Department does not oppose the principle of mixed ability classes. The purpose of raising the issue was to seek clarification on how a policy of not streaming pupils would be implemented in practice.

In view of the range of issues involved, it has not been possible to bring this matter to a conclusion as quickly as I would have liked. However, it is my intention to finalise this matter and convey a decision to Educate Together at the earliest date possible.


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