Fine Gael Election candidate Garret Ahearn
Fine Gael General Election Candidate Garret Ahearn said that reforms announced today by the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton will have a major impact on how a child accesses their local school.
The first of these changes will remove the role of religion in school admissions for virtually all primary schools in Tipperary.
Garret Ahearn said, “Fine Gael in government have prioritised education. We have set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.
“It is unfair that a local child of no religion is passed over in favour of a child of religion, living some distance away for access to their local school. Parents should not feel pressured to baptise their child to get access to education locally.
“The amendment being published by the Minister will remove religion as a criterion which can be used in school admissions in over 95% of our primary schools.
“Under the proposed new law, there will be a protection to ensure that a child of minority faith, can still access a school of their faith. This change balances the rights of three different groups: minority religion families, catholic families, and non-denominational families.
“Our education system needs to be open to everyone. Families need to have an equal opportunity to get their child educated in their own community here in Tipperary, regardless of their religious beliefs.
“The proposed changes will allow Irish language schools (where it is their policy to do so) to give priority in admission to students who have a reasonable age appropriate level of oral fluency in the Irish language, taking account of any special educational need a child might have.
“Education is key to our ambitions as a nation. It helps us to grow a strong economy and gives everyone the opportunity to fulfil their full potential. This government has set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.
“We are investing more in education than ever before to help us deliver on this ambition – over €10 billion in 2018, the biggest ever budget for education. Our capital budget has increased by 56% since 2012,” Garret Ahearn said.