Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 23/01/2013. Tags: Primary School News
The ethos of primary schools
that remain under Catholic control when other schools are handed over to different patron bodies needs to be respected.
This is according to Professor Eamonn Conway, head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick and a priest of the Tuam archdiocese, who was speaking in response to Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn's claims that parents are becoming increasingly demanding for a wider diversity of school patrons.
Professor Conway said that while the church welcomes greater provision of alternative school patronage, it hopes those schools that remain under Catholic control are permitted to carry on as they are.
He explained the church would like to see guarantees that the ethos of these learning institutes will be safeguarded, nor will it be "diminished or diluted by the need to accommodate those of other faiths or none".
The comments came after recent surveys in five pilot areas suggested an endorsement of denominational education, with Professor Conway noting only between five and eight per cent of parents were in favour of change in each of the different regions.
Written by Donal Walsh
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This is a copy of my letter to Prof. Conway
Dear Prof. Conway,
Personally I am not overly concerned whether I send my children to a Catholic school or not, as my main criteria for choosing a school would be based on how the children are educated and treated.
However, I am disappointed given that my children presently are attending a Catholic school which does not conform to what I would anticipate as a Catholic ethos. I would be given to understand that Catholic meant all embracing and would imply a Christian thinking that is all people are equal in the eyes of the lord, which I would interpret that all people are to be treated equally and in the context of a school everyone should be entitled to a say.
The local School Board, in my opinion, is both dishonest and abuse their position. The school is not financial transparent, doesnt comply to the 1998 Education Act with respect to Parental Entitlements, and doesnt have anti-bullying/racism policies even though I have highlighted that this is allegedly occurring at the school. Moreover the School Board, in my opinion, have gone to lengths to ensure that Parents are not listened too, and are excluded from having a say in the school.
I do think the Board, who are voluntary, are doing what they believe is in the best interest of the school and I acknowledge that the Principal has a demanding and time-consuming workload. However, what is in the best interest of the school is not necessarily in the best interest of the children and parents. One could view a school as a business and children are your customers and customers come first. So the school by taking the present line has gained a bad reputation locally and is in the process of losing their customers.
Needless to say I would fully support Minister for Education Ruair Quinn giving Parents the option of choosing the school Patronage as presently I believe this would lead to Parents and children having a greater say in the school.
I greatly appreciate the Professors prompt reply, see below:
Dear Mr Bradley
Thank you for your mail.
You will find the full text of my paper at the following link. http://www.ionainstitute.ie/assets/files/Protecting%20denom_IonaJan21Final-1.pdf In the paper I outline my understanding of a Catholic ethos. I have also stressed the important and indeed vital role of the parents and the need for close co-operation.
I am very sorry of the experience outlined below and I sincerely hope that the situation will improve.
With very best wishes
Rev Professor Eamonn Conway
Head, Department of Theology & Religious Studies
Mary Immaculate College
- University of Limerick -