Category Archives: Opinion

Anseo.net Predictions for 2017

Every year, I try to predict what the big stories will be in primary education in Ireland. 2016, for me, will be best remembered by being forgotten. It was a very disappointing year on all fronts with very little happening – almost as if someone had hit the pause button on the sector. Nothing seemed to happen and anything that seemed to be happening in 2015 didn’t get started in 2016, see Droichead, new Primary Language Curriculum, Divestment of Schools, etc. It Read More...

How to make denominational schools more inclusive

Around 96% of Irish primary schools are under the patronage of a religious body, with around 92-93% of schools under the the Catholic Church. This means that anyone who does not identify themselves as Catholic has very little chance of getting into a school that fully respects their religious identity. There is little appetite for change in Ireland. While most people don’t agree with stopping a child from enrolling in a school because of their faith or lack of Read More...

Primary Schools: Inclusive or Tolerant?

As most people know, there are a number of parents in Ireland who have been in the media lately claiming that they cannot enrol their children in their local school as they do not have a Baptismal Certificate. However, in the vast majority of schools, this is not the case. The Catholic church claim that most of their schools do not have a Catholics-First enrollment policy and that they welcome and include all children of all and no faiths into Read More...

Infographic of Survey on Inclusiveness

I developed an infographic based on the data received from my survey on how inclusive are Irish Catholic Primary Schools. I’ll be publishing my thoughts in the coming days. Read More...

How inclusive are Catholic Schools?

Recently, The Irish Independent carried an article with the headline, Catholic Schools are as inclusive as any other type by Father Tom Deenihan, during Catholic Schools’ Week. However, not everyone would agree with this sentiment. What does being inclusive mean in the 21st century? We surveyed Irish primary teachers to ascertain exactly what happens in their schools. The questions were based on a number of issues faced by people from minority and non-faith backgrounds and asked schools how they coped with Read More...

Is it ethical to publish League Tables?

The Irish Independent published, what they called, a definitive league table of the best schools in Ireland, based on 7 years of data. It was based on the percentage of students that went on to third level from secondary school. Schools where close to 100% of their students went on to third level over the 7 years, were deemed to be the best schools in Ireland and today’s newspaper was full of little vox pop articles from the schools explaining how they Read More...

The Mathematics of Patronage and Pluralism

Between 96% and 98% of Irish primary schools are denominational in patronage, which means that one or two particular religions are taught as truth as part of the school day. There is a lot of focus in the media about Catholic schools and non-baptised children. I believe this is very unhelpful as it pitches Catholic schools against everyone else. I do not believe the whole discussion on patronage is a Catholic vs non-Catholic debate. For me it is about the current model of Read More...

2016 Predictions

As we come to the last day of year, it is traditional at Anseo.net to make predictions for what we think will be the big stories for the following year. 2015 was the year where inequalities in the country were highlighted. The historic vote for marriage equality in Ireland has raised awareness that there are still many inequalities in Irish society and from an education point of view, the headline grabbers were the (perhaps ill-labeled) unbaptised. However, with the economy recovering, very few of the minorities Read More...

What will removing Rule 68 actually do?

One of the rules of National Schools that has been causing much debate over the last few years is Rule 68, developed in the 1960s. Last night, the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan announced she was going to repeal it in January. This announcement sparked a number of radio debates about the role of religion in primary schools. What is Rule 68 and why did Jan O’Sullivan decide to remove it? The text of Rule 68 for National Schools is Read More...

Multidenominational: A long word, long-abused

The education landscape used to be an easy one to maneuver. Between the 1920s and 1978, you could go to a primary school and it would be easy to identify it: Catholic, Church of Ireland (or some branch of Protestantism) and then there was a Jewish school. Everything changed when Educate Together came along in the form of the School Project Model and suddenly, Ireland had a new type of ethos: multidenominationalism. For Educate Together, this generally meant that their Read More...

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