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Campaigners for Westport Educate Together to hold meeting

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Áine Ryan

CAMPAIGNERS hoping to open an Educate Together national school in Westport are set to hold a public meeting in the town on Friday night next. The meeting will be facilitated by Educate Together’s Regional Development Officer West, Jennifer Buttner and the principal of Castlebar’s Educate Together school,  Ms Sarah Calvey.  
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Jennifer Buttner said: “The campaign for an Educate Together national school is going from strength to strength in Westport and the enthusiasm and commitment of our supporters in the town is amazing. So far, progress on ‘reconfiguration’ has been slow and difficult and it’s high time that the Government followed through on its commitment to provide an equality-based education to the families of Westport.”
This campaign is already supported by a growing group of parents from the town and its environs.   
“I’m very supportive of Educate Together’s equality-based model of education and think it will be beneficial to families in Westport that want choice in their children’s education,” said parent Mary Horan.
Educate Together national schools are co-educational while faith formation is carried out outside school hours. Westport ETNS would be the third Educate Together school in Mayo, joining Castlebar ETNS and Newtownwhite ETNS.
Government made a commitment in 2011 to provide an Educate Together school for the families of Westport after parents from 43 areas in the country, including the west Mayo town, were consulted about their educational preferences. This was the year that the Government established the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector, with the stated aim to create more diversity and inclusiveness in the primary school system through ‘reconfiguration’ of Church buildings and schools.
After several setbacks, Co Mayo’s second Educate Together school opened in county town, Castlebar, in September 2016.

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The public meeting to progress the campaign to establish an Educate Together national school will be held at Hotel Westport at 8pm on Friday next, February 9. All welcome. www.educatetogether.ie/westport or on Facebook at Westport Educate Together.

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