Educate Together schools are set up and developed by groups of parents in a local area, who wish to send their children to a school that is equality-based, child-centred, co-educational and democratically run. The schools are recognised by the Department of Education & Science, are non-fee paying and operate under the same rules applying to all national schools.
Educate Together schools from the outset respect all ethical and religious traditions. The schools are legally obliged to cherish and respect the religious, cultural, social identity of every child and family that attends the school. The Board of Management cannot promote or favour any particular religious persuasion. The school organises a comprehensive programme of education about the major religions and faith systems in the world but does not teach any particular faith or creed. However, the school facilitates any group of parents who wish to do so to organise religious instruction for their children outside the main school programme. The religious education programme of an Educate Together school does not avoid issues of ethics and morality. It teaches children core values of appreciation and respect of social, cultural and other human difference; health and safety; social responsibility and rights and other features necessary to inform a child’s developing mind to live in our rapidly changing society.
While covering the curriculum set out by the Department of Education for all National Schools, the educational programme of an Educate Together school is developed creatively through genuine dialogue between teachers and parents for the common good of the children.
All Educate Together schools are co-educational and have active programmes to counter gender stereotyping and inequity in all aspects of school life.
As all Educate Together schools are set up by groups of parents, parents have unparalleled access and involvement in the running and development of the school. The ethos of the school is to promote the fullest participation by parents, teachers and students in decision-making processes and to promote a genuine creative partnership between parental involvement and the professional role of teachers. The role of the patron (a structure that is insisted upon by the state) is either carried out by Educate Together nationally or by a local company limited by guarantee. In both cases, this role is governed by a legal constitution, decisions are controlled by general meetings and officers are regularly elected.
Partnership in Education
With their unique ethos and democratic structure, Educate Together schools deliver a tremendous opportunity for parents, teachers and children to develop an educational community which provides an optimal environment for children to develop their intellectual, academic, social, cultural and physical life. Because they are so rooted in a living community, the schools can and do become important community resources making their facilities available in an appropriate way outside school hours.
There are currently 60 Educate Together schools in Ireland. 27 are in the greater Dublin region and one of the schools is a gaelscoil. Educate Together is the national representative body of these school communities. It is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. This company acts as the patron of new Educate Together schools and represents all its members in negotiations with the Department of Education and Science and other national organisations. Educate Together receives minimal government assistance and is dependent on charitable funding. It has a small national office in Dublin with paid staff and volunteer workers. The Board of Directors of Educate Together all work in a voluntary capacity and are elected annually from the school communities.
For more information go to educatetogether.ie