MAYO Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has called on the Minister for Education to clarify the announced restrictions due to be imposed on Castlebar Educate Together National School (ETNS), thus rolling back on commitments made in the Programme for Government.
Educate Together schools in Tuam, Tramore, New Ross and Trim are also included in the decision which entails the department restricting enrolment at five ETNSs to a half-stream limit, meaning just 13 new pupils will be enrolled in each school next September.
Raising the issue in the Seanad last week, the Sinn Féin senator said: “Over the past number of weeks I have been contacted by numerous parents who are deeply concerned about the recently imposed restrictions on the number of pupils allowed to attend Educate Together Schools.”
She said she wants Minister Richard Bruton ‘to provide clarity to, and reassure these parents that their choice to send their children to non-denominational Educate Together Schools would be respected. Castlebar and the other Educate Together schools similarly affected, never opened to remain as half-stream schools. Indeed, some opened with more than 13 students including Castlebar and New Ross ETNS’.
Fianna Fáil’s Deputy Lisa Chambers has also called on Minister Bruton to abolish the 13-pupil limit. She confirmed the department’s decision has led to an outcry from parents in Castlebar who want to send their children to a multi-denominational school.
A statement by the Department of Education said Educate Together had been made aware that the five schools would begin as half-stream schools, with an intake of 13 pupils as it didn’t have the money to build new schools.