This comes following revelations that 78% of people support the Church having a role in continuing to shape and influence school ethos, according to a new survey entitled Articulating a new positioning for Catholic education in Ireland.78% back Church role in schools – The Irish Catholic
The voices of the silent majority of parents who want to send their child to a local parish school must be heard in the ongoing debate on education, the head of a group representing Catholic schools has insisted.
This comes following revelations that 78% of people support the Church having a role in continuing to shape and influence school ethos, according to a new survey entitled Articulating a new positioning for Catholic education in Ireland.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic, General Secretary of the CPSMA Séamus Mulconry insisted that there are an “awful lot” of people who want Catholic schools, and if Ireland aims to be pluralist then their voices must be respected.
On the issue of parishes handing schools over to different patron bodies where there is no longer sufficient demand for Catholic schools, he insisted that while this is an issue for school patrons this will happen and that “there are a cohort of people out there who do want divestment, but I also think there are an awful lot of people who want to keep the Church in education and to keep their local school Catholic and I think it’s about time their voices were heard as well.
“We are all committed and would all like to see a pluralist education system which is determined by the desires of parents but I think we do need to listen to those who want to keep their local Catholic schools as well,” he said.
The survey also found that 79% of parents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the school their child was attending.
Mr Mulconry said that the survey proves that “there is a very high level of satisfaction with local Catholic schools and I would attribute that to the quality and the commitment of the people who work in our schools, who lead them and who support them.
“It’s part of a strange dichotomy where people are often very critical of the institutional Church but when you ask them about their local church and their local parish priest or the local religious they know and are familiar with, their attitudes are very different and I think it’s a reflection of that. But I think it is a reflection of the contribution that priests are making to schools locally as well,” he said.
Asked about school choice, 72% of parents felt they had a choice of schools to pick from and sent their child to one of their choice. There were 24% who stated that they sent their child to the only school available in the area, while 4% did not get their first preference for their chosen school.
Some 500 parents were included in the survey commissioned by the CPSMA, the Catholic Education Partnership (CEP), and the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools (AMCSS), and conducted by external consulting firm Genesis.
In a report following the survey, Genesis stated: “It is clear that Irish parents prize highly the holistic development of their children. Parents cited a focus on respect, community, and faith formation as the three leading advantages of Catholic schools.”