Every parent wants the best education for their child. Most parents want to send their child to school locally. A failure to reform school admission policies, abolition of dedicated career guidance, school completion and DEIS programmes is limiting access to and damaging the quality of education being delivered in Dublin Central. It is preventing young people in Dublin Central from reaching their full potential and must be urgently addressed by the next Dáil.
I believe a more pragmatic approach is required to successfully address the admissions issue. In 2011 the Labour Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn promised to divest 1,500 primary schools yet to date only six have been divested from religious orders. By way of contrast Educate Together, which I have supported for more than ten years, is targeting 300 schools by 2030.
I recently launched Fianna Fáils primary and secondary education policy which proposes a pragmatic approach to address admissions. Our proposal is that admission policies for oversubscribed primary schools will give priority to siblings and children living in the local catchment area first. You can read the full policy document here. It also addresses other important policy issues like class size, equal pay for teachers, physical education, early intervention, special needs, curriculum proposals for languages and computing. For the first time it proposes to give the department of Education responsibility for educating young people on the problems of substance abuse.