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Parents involved in the campaign for a second-level Educate Together school for Galway received a boost to their campaign following cross-party expressions of support for such a school for the city, during a recent visit to Leinster House.
Equality-based education provider Educate Together held its first public meeting in Westport last Thursday night in the Castlecourt Hotel. Featuring talks by Educate Together regional development officer, Jennifer Buttner, and Castlebar ETNS principal Sarah Calvey, according to the organisers the meeting attracted a large turnout and has raised hopes that Educate Together’s Westport campaign will succeed in opening a primary school in 2018.
The notion of Galway as a growing city, a young city, a diverse city, is embedded in our psyche. Maybe it's that period we spent as the fastest-growing city in Europe. Maybe it's 18,000 students at NUIG, and thousands more at GMIT. Maybe it's in the stories we tell ourselves as we declare ourselves a cultural hub, a party town, a place to settle down.
Galway is in urgent need of a new secondary school to accommodate the year on year increase in the numbers of primary school pupils, and a case can be made that such a new school should come under the patronage of Educate Together, as increasing numbers of parents demanding such an option for their children.
Castlebar's Educate Together school has seen a rise in queries and interest from parents looking to send their children to the school in recent weeks, since the most recent controversy over the location of the new school erupted. Speaking to the Mayo Advertiser yesterday (Thursday), Jarlath Munnelly, the regional development officer for Educate Together, told us: "We have a location and there is refurbishment work going on and we're happy for Wednesday August 31, that it will be ready to go, we are still getting queries from parents and had some recent enrolments this week and we are looking solidly like 10 or 11 children starting in the school next week."
Castlebar will have an Educate Together School open for the new school year, Jaralth Munnelly, the regional devlopment officer for Educate Together, said this week. Munnelly, who is also a Fine Gael member of Mayo County Council, told the Mayo Advertiser yesterday: "We will have the school open in Castlebar for the new school year, we are looking at a number of suitable venues for the school to open in and we have two that we are looking very hard and hope to have it sorted by the end of the week. We have been in touch with parents through the whole situation which has developed, and the school should be up and running when the school term comes back."
With the new Educate Together school in Castlebar this week getting the initial approval to go ahead in Marsh House in the town for the next few years, the long term views for the school were aired by the members of the Castlebar Municipal District at their July meeting this week.
Independent councillor Frank Durcan this week disagreed with the rationale for setting up an Educate Together school in Castlebar. At the July meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District, the elected members approved the lease of Marsh House in the town to the Department of Education and Skills for a four year and nine month term for the provision of a new Educate Together school.
The opening of an Educate Together school in Castlebar this September moved a step closer this week, when the elected members of the Castlebar Municipal District agreed to a four year and nine month lease of Marsh House to the Department of Education and Skills.
The establishment of an Educate Together second level school in Galway may have taken a significant step forward now that nine Galway West candidates have pledged their support for the opening of such an institution.