Poll Finds Majority Favour Non Church Run Schools

A new poll has found that three out of four parents would prefer to send children to primary schools run by patron bodies other than churches, although a majority of parents surveyed still want religion taught in schools.

The Red C poll, carried out for the Irish Primary Principals Network, found that 30 per cent of parents would prefer to send children to a primary school run by Vocational Education Committees on behalf of the State.

Some 27 per cent would opt for church-run primary schools, 24 per cent would choose multi-denominational primary schools and 20 per cent would opt for state-run primary schools.

Asked about when religious instruction and preparation for the sacraments should be taught, 67 per cent of parents with dependent children who took part in the poll said they wanted the teaching to take place during the school day.

Seán Cottrell, director of the network that represents principals in primary schools of all patronage types, said the poll was “a snapshot of the preferences of broad Irish society, which included parents with and without dependent children, on the type of school they want for their children”.

The network commissioned the research to “gauge parental and wider public opinion on the type of patronage, ethos, religious or otherwise, that should inform primary school education as we embrace changing societal demographics.”


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