According to a new survey, 78% of parents in Ireland support the Church having a role in Catholic school ethos.
The survey, entitled Articulating A New Positioning For Catholic Education In Ireland, included 500 parents. It was comissioned by the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA), the Catholic Education Partnership (CEP) and the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools.
It was conducted by Irish consulting firm Genesis, which has done work with SuperValu, AIB, the ESB, An Post and more.
In an interview with the Irish Catholic, CPSMA General Secretary Séamus Mulconry said that an “awful lot” of people in Ireland want to send their children to Catholic schools.
“There are a cohort of people out there who do want divestment, but I also think there are an awful lot of people who want to keep the Church in education and to keep their local school Catholic. And I think it’s about time their voices were heard as well,” he said.
“We are all committed and would all like to see a pluralist education system which is determined by the desires of parents, but I think we do need to listen to those who want to keep their local Catholic schools as well,” he added.
In addition, the survey found that 79% of parents were satisfied with the school their child was attending.
“There is a very high level of satisfaction with local Catholic schools and I would attribute that to the quality and the commitment of the people who work in our schools, who lead them and who support them,” said Mulconry.
“It’s part of a strange dichotomy where people are often very critical of the institutional Church, but when you ask them about their local church and their local parish priest or the local religious they know and are familiar with, their attitudes are very different and I think it’s a reflection of that. But I think it is a reflection of the contribution that priests are making to schools locally as well,” he said.
Asked about their choice of school, the survey revealed that 72% of parents – the vast majority – said they felt they had a choice of schools to pick from, an that they sent their child to the one they preferred. 24% said that they only had one school to choose from, and 4% said they had a choice of schools, but did not get to send their child to their preferred school.
Genesis said following the survey’s findings: “It is clear that Irish parents prize highly the holistic development of their children. Parents cited a focus on respect, community, and faith formation as the three leading advantages of Catholic schools.”