Oranmore venue for next Educate Together meeting in bid for second-level school
The Maldron Hotel in Oranmore is the venue for a public meeting, at 8pm on Monday 9th July, about the campaign to secure a second-level Educate Together school for the Galway/Oranmore area, as part of a patronage competition currently being run by the Department of Education and Skills (DES).
Following the launch of the parental preference survey by the DES in late-June, the Educate Together campaign run by local parent volunteers, dubbed GET2LS, has been urging eligible parents to vote, and providing opportunities for parents to learn about the opportunities offered by the Educate Together model.
“This competition offers an opportunity for us to diversify the options available to Galway families, and to open the first second-level Educate Together in the west of Ireland,” says GET2LS chair Roisin McManus. “With parental preference a key element in deciding which organisation is granted patronage, is it vital that parents take the time to register their support fro Educate Together.”
The group’s last public meeting, on Monday 25th June, was addressed by Educate Together’s Regional Development Officer Jennifer Buttner, with MCs including current pupils in Galway-area Educate Together primary-level schools.
The GET2LS campaign has the support of local representatives from across the spectrum, and the NUI Galway meeting was addressed by numerous local representatives, including Mayor Níall McNelis, Ministers Ciaran Cannon and Sean Kyne, TD Hildegard Naughton, and Cllr Frank Fahy. Apologies had also been received from others, including TDs Sean Canney, Noel Grealish, and Catherine Connolly. Various declared candidates for the next election were also in attendance.
Mayor McNelis, who had indicated his support for a second level Educate Together in his speech on being elected mayor, has stressed the need for parents to vote in the current survey process. Similarly, Deputy Kyne, arguing for increased diversity of options, urged all parents, whatever their plans for their own children’s schooling, to vote for Educate Together in the current competition, in order that that option be available to those parents who desire it.
All are welcome to attend the Oranmore meeting, and learn about what makes the Educate Together model distinctive and rewarding for students and their families.
“Educate Together offers an ethos that is inclusive and child-centred,” according to GET2LS PRO Maggie Hall. “It offers an approach to education that is democratic and nurturing. Many Galway parents are already familiar with it at primary level, but despite having five schools across the county, Galway still does not have an Educate Together school available at second level.”
The new school, due to open in 2019, is a ‘regional solution’ aimed primarily at the Galway city and Oranmore school planning areas, and is intended to meet the increasing demand for second-level education in Galway, with an anticipated enrolment of 1,000. Educate Together is committed to including an Aonad (Irish-language stream) in the school if there is sufficient parental demand. The location of the school will be decided at a later date by the Department.
“Students need a breadth of skills and attributes to succeed in today’s diverse world and changing workplace,” notes Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe. “They need to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn throughout their lives. Our second level schools aim to provide an education that will enable all students to contribute meaningfully to their communities, embrace the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to live their lives and to build their careers in the 21st century.”
GET2LS has been campaigning for an Educate Together second level school for six years, with over 1600 parents already expressing their support for this model over the course of the campaign. Galway has no multi denominational voluntary secondary school, and this bid offers the only opportunity to fill that gap and diversify school patronage in Galway.
“This final stage of the patronage process will only take account of expressions of interest (EOIs) registered through the Department’s own web service,” notes GET2LS secretary Marguerite Hughes. “We are reaching out to our existing supporters to remind them to register their support online. However, it is also important for us to reach out to all parents within the region, so that they understand the Educate Together model, and register an informed preference online.”
The deadline for parents to vote in the online survey is 31st July. Further information, including a direct link to the survey, is available from GET2LS.org/VOTE.
Voting in the DES survey is open to parents of pupils who have recently completed 1st through 5th class (anticipated second-level entry of 2019 to 2023), who live in the Galway city and Oranmore areas.
The Educate Together public meeting is 9 July at 8pm in the Maldron Hotel in Oranmore.