School Stories are a series of tales from parents and others involved in the school system, highlighting some of the joys and difficulties encountered while trying to get our children educated.
My eldest son is in 6th class. We have applied to 5 schools in Co. Galway. NONE of them are ideal, none of them are even remotely like what he is used to. The transition from Primary to Secondary is difficult for most, I have actual nightmares about how it will be for him. In his Educate Together primary he has never worn a uniform, he has always called his teachers by their first name – an environment of mutual respect. He has not been excluded from a class or activity based on his religion (or lack thereof), his uniqueness has been celebrated, and his family welcomed.
None of this will be the case in any of the schools we have applied to. His application won’t be accepted by any of them within the first three categories of their enrolment policies. Policies such as – having a sibling in the school already, living in a particular catchment area, or having gone to a particular feeder school. Those feeder schools, by the way, are all the ones that asked for his baptismal Cert.
There is no school that our children automatically feed into. So in effect there is NO school in which we are guaranteed a place for him. And even if there was, there are none that he can go to, that do not in some way require him to be something he is not. I am not even joking a little when I say that I really thought about moving to Dublin to enrol him in Hansfield Educate Together.
The Educate Together motto of ‘No child an outsider’ has particular appeal to families like mine, who are, in what is still a dominantly Catholic country, outsiders. But there is still no Second Level Educate Together in Galway, despite YEARS of work on the part of so many parents. So the children of the, now five, Educate Together National Schools in Galway cannot continue in to be educated in a secular and equality based environment.
Have your own story? Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. While we cannot guarantee that we will publish every item received, we will publish as many as possible. You don’t have to be a blogger or an experienced writer to participate, just someone who shares our objective of an Educate Together second-level school in Galway.