Educate Together

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Educate Together
Educate Together Logo.jpg
The current logo, in use since 2013
MottoLearn Together to Live Together - No Child an Outsider
Founded1984; 35 years ago (1984)[1]
Registration no.CHY 11816
  • Ireland
Key people

Educate Together is an educational charity in the Republic of Ireland which is the patron body to "equality-based, co-educational, child centred, and democratically run" schools.[2] It was founded in 1984 to act as the patron body for the new multidenominational schools that opened after the establishment of the Dalkey School Project;[1] as of September 2018, Educate Together is the patron of 84 national schools in the Republic of Ireland.[3] In 2014 three Educate Together Second Level Schools opened in Dublin 15, Drogheda and Lucan along with the first Educate Together school outside Ireland, in Bristol in the United Kingdom.[3] In joint patronage with Kildare and Wicklow ETB, Educate Together opened another second-level school, Celbridge Community School, in 2015.[4]


Educate Together has its roots in the Dalkey School Project founded in the 1970s.[1][5] Before multi-denominational education, some of those involved in education in Ireland, such as Aine Hyland, Michael Johnston and Florrie Armstrong, questioned the denominational nature of the system and the need to have students of different faiths in different schools;[6] this group of educationalists and parents established the organisation with the stated aim:

“To develop and support in Ireland the establishment of schools which are multi-denominational (i.e. with equal right of access for the children of Catholic, Protestant and other parents, and with the cultural and social background of each child held in equal respect), co-educational and managed under a system which is predominantly democratic in character, wherever and whenever there is viable local support for such a school.”

The organisers of the school met opposition from a conservative Catholic group that circulated a leaflet in the Dalkey area alleging that the new school was "atheistic", "divisive", "hostile to religion" and "a precedent for major trouble in other areas".[7]

As of 2016, the majority of primary schools in the Republic of Ireland are owned by religious communities (or boards of governors).[8] Of the 3,200 primary schools in Ireland, only 2% are multidenominational.[citation needed]

The Dalkey School Project was founded in 1975;[7] the school opened at the start of the 1978–79 school year in temporary premises with Florrie Armstrong as the school principal.[6]

By 1984 two other multi-denominational schools had been started and Educate Together was established as a co-ordinating umbrella body;[9] the organisation became a company limited by guarantee in 1998,[10] and from the year 2000, all new Educate Together schools operate with the patronage of the national company.[citation needed] Educate Together has charitable status in Ireland.[10]

In 2016, Educate Together was awarded Secularist of the Year by the UK's National Secular Society, for putting "secularist principles into action and [demonstrating] what a 21st century secular education system should look like – children and young people educated together, taught an ethical education curriculum in a school with an inclusive ethos without any imposition of religion".[11]


The number of schools run by the organisation has grown: in 2007 it was 40, in 2008 it was 44 and by 2018 this number had risen to over 100 including its second level schools and its schools in the UK. In terms of pupil numbers, 2018 was the first year in which there were over 25,000 students attending an Educate Together school.[citation needed] By 2009 Educate Together had become the fastest-growing patron of schools in the Republic of Ireland.[12] In 2015, three new schools opened in Tuam, Co. Galway, Pelletstown, Dublin and New Ross, County Wexford and one in Kildare.[13]


Educate Together schools seek to "guarantee equality of access and esteem" to children irrespective of their social, cultural or religious background.[14] Educate Together schools seek to be "learner centred" in their approach to education, and are intended to be run as "participatory democracies, with respectful partnership between parents, pupils and teachers".[14][15]


Educate Together schools teach the Irish Primary School Curriculum, which includes 30 minutes a day (2 hours 30 minutes per week) to be spent on faith formation.[16][17] In an Educate Together school this time is spent teaching their Learn Together Ethical Education Curriculum rather than the religious instructions programmes taught in denominational schools.[18] There are four strands to this programme.

  • Moral and Spiritual: children learn about feelings and values, the development of conscience, choices and consequences, stillness and meditation.
  • Equality and Justice: children learn about wants and needs, rights and responsibilities; the promotion of equality and the nature of democracy locally (student councils are encouraged), nationally and globally.
  • Belief Systems: children learn about the rites and ceremonies, celebrations, key figure and beliefs and values of the six main world religions: Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Sikhism. Schools also address Atheism, Agnosticism and Humanism.
  • Ethics and the Environment: children learn about appreciation and stewardship of the natural world. Educate Together schools have an ethos of respect, diversity & inclusion.

Primary schools[edit]

As of 2018, there are 84 Educate Together primary schools in Ireland,[1] in 18 different counties.[19] In addition, the body is patron to four schools in the UK.[citation needed]

Second level schools[edit]

As of 2018, there are 13 second-level schools operating with Educate Together involved as either patron, co-patron or partner;[20] these second-level schools aim not to 'teach to the test' but to instead develop their students' skills in creative and critical thinking, communication, teamwork, research and leadership.[20]

Research published by Trinity College in 2008 showed that 90 per cent of parents who sent their children to an Educate Together school would send their children to a secondary school based on the same model if it was available.

Educate Together’s first second-level school - Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School - welcomed its first group of first-year students in August 2014. Educate Together is also joint patron of Kishoge Community School in Lucan and Ballymakenny College in Drogheda, it opened Celbridge Community School in August 2015 with Kildare and Wicklow Educational Training Board.

Colleges of education[edit]

In the Irish system, student teachers complete their initial teacher education in state-funded, religiously-run Colleges of Education,[21] where time is set aside for Religious Education and the study of either the Catholic or Church of Ireland religious instruction programmes.[22][23] At present,[when?] Educate Together is working in four of the five state-funded Colleges of Education. Educate Together is currently[when?] lobbying for sustained access to full-year groupings at least twice in the undergraduate and post-graduate cycle.[citation needed]

Educate Together offers a one year, part-time postgraduate Certificate in Ethical and Multi-denominational Education in partnership with St Patrick’s College of Education, Dublin.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Áine Hyland - Biography". Irish Times. 21 November 2016. [the establishment of] one of the first multidenominational schools in Ireland, the Dalkey School Project, in the mid-1970s, [...] led to the creation of Educate Together
  2. ^ "About Us - Core Principles". Educate Together. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Educate Together Schools". Educate Together. Retrieved 3 September 2018. Educate Together has a network of 84 primary schools and 13 second-level schools nationwide
  4. ^ "Celbridge Community School". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Lack of cross-cultural education 'depressing', says President". Irish Times. 21 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Pioneer of Irish multi-denominational education". The Irish Times. 9 January 2010.
  7. ^ a b Denis O'Sullivan. Cultural politics and Irish education since the 1950s. Institute of Public Administration. p. 200.
  8. ^ "Overview of the Irish education system". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  9. ^ "A brief history of the organisation". Educate Together. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Nine new Educate Together schools to open this year". Irish Times. 25 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Educate Together awarded 'Secularist of the Year' prize". National Secular Society. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Regulation of school patronage urged". The Irish Times. 4 December 2009.
  13. ^ "Educate Together Opens Four Schools in Dublin, Galway, Kildare and Wexford" (Press release). Educate Together. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  14. ^ a b "What is Educate Together?". Educate Together. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  15. ^ "For Parents". Educate Together. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  16. ^ "How much time is spent teaching subjects in primary schools? (1999 Primary School Curriculum)" (PDF). INTO. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Major changes to primary school day proposed". Irish Times. 29 November 2016. At present most primary schools typically spend up to 2½ hours teaching religion – or faith formation – each week
  18. ^ "What is Educate Together? - Ethical Education". Educate Together. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Our Network - Primary". Educate Together. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Our Network - Second-level schools". Educate Together. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Religion, nursing and teacher training - what's the connection?". RTÉ. 24 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Merger of Catholic and Protestant Colleges of Education may be finalised by 2016". Irish Times. 9 May 2014.
  23. ^ "College Choices: Colleges of Education". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Colleges of Education". Educate Together. 9 December 2016.

External links[edit]