The need for the Minister for Education and Skills to outline the process which Mol an Oige Steiner National School in Ennistymon Co. Clare is going through in order to have the school granted permanent recognition

05/14/2013
Question Posed To: 
Minister for Education and Skills

I wish to thank the Senator for raising the matter as it provides me with the opportunity to outline the current position
in relation to the recognition status of Mol an Óige Steiner National School, Ennistymon.
Mol an Óige Steiner National School,which implements the Steiner approach to education, was initially awarded
provisional recognition in 2008 and this was extended year,on year until October 2012 when a three year extension was
granted. Therefore, its current position is that it has provisional recognition until 31 August 2015. This extension is
designed to provide the school with sufficient opportunities to satisfactorily meet the criteria for recognition agreed
back in 2008. This extension will not impede the Mol an Óige Steiner National School receiving permanent recognition in
the interim if the criteria for recognition are met.
As you are aware, all recognised schools, regardless of their philosophy or ethos, are required to comply with the
Education Act 1998 and the Rules for National Schools. Schools seeking permanent recognition must also satisfy specific
criteria in relation to patronage, board of management, implementation of the curriculum, admissions policy and
procedures for the appointment of teaching staff. Permanent recognition is contingent on schools demonstrating that
they meet these requirements satisfactorily.
A process is underway in relation to the request for permanent recognition from Mol an Oige Steiner National School,
the school referred to by the Senator. This process is based on the school’s progress in fulfilling ten undertakings
committed to by the school’s Patron in 2008. These undertakings were based on requirements outlined in the Education
Act 1998 and the Rules for National Schools which all recognised schools must meet as well as the aforementioned
criteria which all schools applying for permanent recognition must satisfy. One of the undertakings is that the school will
follow the Primary School CurrIculum (1999). It is important to note that the decision regarding full recognition depends
upon the satisfactory implementation of all the undertakings.
The Department met with the school authorities in October last to discuss the school’s current position in relation to the
undertakings and to its application for permanent recognition. I understand substantial progress has been made.
However, significant issues do remain to be resolved particularly in relation to curricular provision for pupils in the
infant classes, I understand also that the Department and Mol an Óige Steiner National School have committed to
ongoing engagement with the objective of enabling the school to meet the permanent recognition criteria as soon as
possible.
In general, to be considered for permanent recognition a school must make an application stating that they have met
the Criteria for Recognition of New Primary Schools, which include the requirement to follow the Primary School
Curriculum (1999), to comply with the Rules for National Schools and to demonstate that enrolments, usually but not
confined to a period of 3 years, are sufficient for the long-term viability of the school.
The Department has granted permanent recognition to 45 schools since 2008, the majority of these being in developing
school areas. The recognition process for each of the schools was undertaken on a case by case basis and in that context
varied in duration. All of the 45 schools granted permanent recognition met all of the criteria required satisfactorily.
There are a number of schools that have been granted provisional recognition prior to 2008 that are still awaiting
permanent recognition as they do not meet all of the criteria required.
I wish to thank the Senator again for allowing me the opportunity to outline the position regarding the application for
permanent recognition from Mol an Óige Steiner National School.