Co Longford VEC has lodged an expression of interest with the Department of Education and Skills regarding the patronage of primary schools. The model of patronage proposed is the Community National School.
Community National Schools
A Community National School is just as it says. Founded in local communities, they are child centred, inclusive, multi-belief, State supported schools providing a high quality primary education for every child in line with the National Primary School Curriculum laid down by the Department of Education & Skills. Their patron is the Minister for Education and Skills, through the Vocational Education Committee (VEC).
Under a programme started in 2007, there are now a number of Community National Schools in the country.
Community national Schools have a strong community focus. They welcome all children of the appropriate age from the local community, providing high quality primary education and personal life skills development for children of all beliefs.
Community National Schools operate in exactly the same way as every other national school in Ireland, with the one main difference – they are multi-belief and multi-denominational. They operate through an ethos of inclusivity and respect for all beliefs both religious and non-religious. They provide high quality education and personal life skills development for children of all beliefs.
Community National Schools are focused on quality of service provision, good governance and accountability to their local community.
The new Community National Schools operated by VECs are of a very high quality and have met with a very favourable response from parents.
Community National Schools have a common multi-belief programme - “Goodness Me, Goodness You”.
Goodness Me, Goodness You
93% of schools in Ireland at primary level are under the patronage of the Catholic Church and provide Catholic religious instruction during the “patron’s half hour” every day. A Community National School, under the remit given to it by the Minister, has to provide for children of all faiths and none during the school day in accordance with the wishes of their parents. Because the CNS model is run by the state, because of the inclusion commitment of the VEC and because of equality legislation, CNS schools provide for all children in the same manner and do not privilege one belief group over another.
CNS schools have a common multi-belief programme - “Goodness Me, Goodness You”. The children are taught together for most of the time, using stories, songs and poems from many belief traditions. 2 or 3 times a week, those who belong to a monotheistic background (e.g. Christians and Muslims) will say a prayer to God and the polytheists, Humanists and atheists will meditate on the lesson instead. This prayer or contemplation takes place at the end of the multi-belief class and is based on the lesson for that day. Children are used to being put into different groups for English, support and other lessons so it’s a natural movement for them.
For either three or four weeks during the year, children spend all belief classes in the main faith groups (Catholic, Christian, Muslim and Other to date) and are taught faith specific material. Programmes for all four belief groups are written by the same author so the classes are all exploring the same themes and topics. Teachers of all the programmes are given in-service and on-going support by the programme author.
To date, children and their parents are very happy with the multi-belief classes, particularly parents from minority belief traditions who feel they are being valued and respected for who they are. In CNS, children are nurtured in their whole identity, including their belief identity, and they talk openly and with confidence about differences among their friends and classmates in belief practice and tradition.
What is the RIGHT CHOICE?
Community National Schools provide the Right Choice for parents and children in their own communities
R - Respectful of Diversity
I - Inclusive
G - Government funded and State operated
H - Holistic, taking everything into account
T - Together with parents, acting in the child’s best interests and wellbeing
C - Child centred
H - High quality
O - Open and accountable
I - Inspiring in their leadership of modern education
C - Community based
E - Educating for the 21st Century
Community National Schools are the Right Choice for your child’s primary education, personal growth, wellbeing and future skills development for life and living in a modern and inclusive Ireland.
For more information see: http://www.cns.ie/