Parents of primary school children in the Ballinasloe and Roscommon areas have expressed mixed wishes when it comes to changing the patronage of their primary schools.
A report published this week, based on a survey carried out by the Department of Education earlier this year, found that there does not seem to be “viable demand” for new patron provision in either Roscommon or Ballinasloe at this time.
Of the 363 valid responses to the Department of Education survey from the Ballinasloe area, 102 parents stated that they would welcome a wider choice of patronage, with 63 stating that they would avail of that choice. Of these 63, 25 were parents of pre-school children and 38 of school-going children.
When asked which patrons they would like to see running local schools, there were 30 first preferences for Educate Together, 30 for An Foras Pátrúnachta, and 16 for the VEC which is also proposing an English-speaking multi-denominational school.
In Roscommon, 176 of the 565 preferences stated that they would welcome a wider choice of patronage, while 120 said they would avail of that choice. Of these 120 there were 34 parents of pre-school children and 86 of school-going children.
There were 52 first preferences for Educate Together, 42 for An Foras Pátrúnachta, and 11 for Roscommon VEC.
Of those who stated that they would not avail of the option of a new patron in the town, the majority of parents in both areas stated that they would like to see the current schools restructured as they would prefer co-education to single-sex education.
The full results of the survey, which was carried out in 38 areas across the country, are available to view on www.education.ie
The surveys shows that there is sufficient parental demand in 23 out of the 38 areas to support an immediate change in the existing school patronage. Some 22 of the areas will see the establishment of an English-language multi-denominational school and one area will see an Irish-language school established.
“There is also a strong demonstration through the surveys that many parents are happy with the current schools on offer and I think this reflects well on the education services provided by our existing patrons,” said Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.