The Dublin 6 School Of Hard Knocks



A Portobello Educate Together protest outside Leinster House


Have you no schools to go to?

Nicola Murphy writes:

As the chairwoman of the Terenure Educate Together Start-Up Committee, and a parent of two young children, I feel it necessary to address Rev Patrick G Burke’s question (July 20th) as to whether the parents in Dublin 6 really want an Educate Together or are desperate for more school places.

There is no question that the schools in the area are heavily oversubscribed.

However, it is clear to us from our ongoing interaction with parents that the Educate Together model is the first choice of school for a significant number of parents in our area. It is also worth noting that our parents are a diverse group made up of people of all religions and none.

We are all committed to the ethos of equality-based education for our children.

We are also committed to working with the Department of Education on the delivery of such a school, whether this is a new school, or an existing school which transfers patronage under the divestment process.

In an area which has a number of national schools under the patronage of various religions, the response to our campaign has been overwhelming.

With more than 500 expressions of interest in such a short space of time, the parents of Dublin 6 and Dublin 6W are clearly stating that their preference is for a co-educational, child-centred, democratically run and equality-based school, which is a school reflective of the modern Ireland in which we live and the values we embrace….

Irish Times Letters


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89 thoughts on “The Dublin 6 School Of Hard Knocks

  1. 15 cents

    educate together schools are great if you never want your kid to have a basic understanding of how the world works.

    1. ahjayzis


      Teaching kids that they don’t need to go to separate schools because of the fairy tales their parents happen to believe in is the first step in *changing* how the world works.

      Also, let’s stop sponsoring church recruitment with our taxes.

      1. Smellyer

        Randy, clearly a fan of the auld scoil discipling the priests used to dish out? Educate together is how the real world works. Not separating children by gender and teaching them that a sun god died for their original sin. Go suck a lemon. I can’t wait for your ilk to expire.

        1. Paolo

          The alternative to faith-based schools is not restricted to Educate Together. Some ET schools actually seem to have an ethos that is non-democratic and ignore the rich culture of Ireland.

          p.s. I’m an atheist

    2. Caroline

      Couldn’t agree more. If you don’t send your child to a Catholic school, irrespective of whether you are a practising Catholic and are at best ambivalent about them becoming one, how will they learn that Ireland operates on a system of passive conformity, encourages tokenism with plenty of ah-sure-you-know-yourself, despises anyone advocating change as a poseur with a superiority complex, and desperately clings to the status quo to avoid any potential admission of culpability in the mistakes of the past.

      1. Laughter Tack.

        Most Irish people are lazy cowards or are paralyzed by fear.

        My own sister gives brown envelopes to the local priest after a mass for the deceased father and mother, before a baptism she doesn’t believe in etc etc etc.

        “it’s the done thing”

        Living outside a town or city brings your level of choice down.

        Time to alienate the Catholic Church and make parents pay for indoctrination services.

        1. Rob_G

          If the priest is performing a mass or a baptism at her behest, she should make some sort of a token contribution – that’s more a manners thing than a religion thing.

          1. newsjustin

            And she’s likely asking for the mass to be said for them because she feels that’s what her parents would have wanted/expected her to do. Maybe she just sees it as doing right by them.

    3. case

      Yeah, absolutely thats exactly why my children are in one of those ‘crazy concept schools’ its obviously what all us Educate Together parents strive for with our children:) Must take them out of it immediately so I can get them a proper education . Would you care to elaborate on what you believe is going on in these Educate Together schools that is apparently sending our children doe-eyed into the world??

        1. newsjustin

          Says the person who didn’t ignore them and made the trolltastic “St Pius Rape Academy remark.


    4. realPolithicks

      Here in the US all schools are public and secular. There are many private schools which cater to whatever your religious preference happens to be, this is what Ireland should strive for.

          1. Frilly Keane

            The fact that kids ‘Graduate’ High School.
            And most have to go to “College’ to get ‘Credits’,(which in effect, are no different to Leaving Cert points,) to get to Law School, Medical School, Nursing School, etc etc

            Have a niece n’nephew currently in ‘College’
            Circa us$25k pa
            They couldn’t point out Oslo on a map ffs

            Yer man is 20
            And can’t string more than 3 syllables together ffs

            A lad going from NS 6th class inta 1st year has better reading writing vocab and sums than the poor sod

          2. Lilly

            Frilly! Welcome back. I thought you were dead, or in jail. But you were probably just sunning yourself by the pool at the Puente Romano.

          3. Frilly Keane

            How’a’ya Liiy

            This time of year you’ll find me wringing out me thermals in the Brittas Bay colonies.

            If I’m dead or in prison I’m pretty sure Niamh Horan will keep ye informed.

  2. newsjustin

    If schools are (as Ms Murphy) says “heavily oversubscribed” in the area then they’re both right (her and the priest) – new school(s) are needed. And if parents want Educate Together schools that should be apparent. Was Terenure one of those areas that the Dept of Education did their consultation exercise on a few years back?

    1. steve white

      yes and they said because the population isn’t increasing they don’t need an extra school ( screw non-religious choice)

      1. Paolo

        This idea of non-religious choice is interesting. I went to a CBS and my education had precisely zero religion in it.

        1. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

          Just because you daydreamed your way through every class, don’t blame the teachers!

  3. ahjayzis

    With over 90% of schools being run by the RCC, there’s a legitimate argument to ban them from competing for new ones until that rebalances – boo-hoo you want a new catholic school, go to one of the other thousand available.

    Plus obviously we should kick all sky worshipping mystics out of the running of education, give them facilities after school, it’s the 21st century and the f*ckers are getting a free ride to peddle their dying superstition on our euro.

    1. newsjustin

      I agree entirely with point 1.

      Point 2 lets you down, of course. “our euro” – last time I checked (most) religious people pay income tax too.

      1. pedeyw

        Meh, religion can be taught at home. If you want a religious school it means you’re too lazy to teach your kids yourself. I don’t want to have to pay for lazy religious people.

        1. newsjustin

          That’s true for some and not for others. Some people want to (or are simply content to) outsource the religious education of their children…the same as other aspects of their education. Other people want to send their children to a school with a religious ethos because that’s what they want. The constitution affirms that right – as it does the right to send children to a school with a different ethos.

          You could say the same about the Irish language. “Gaelscoils are for bone-idle people who can’t be bothered teaching their kids Irish.” It would miss the mark just the same.

          1. newsjustin

            Yes. They can. That’s a really good idea. I’d be very much in favour of that.

            But it still doesn’t mean that the right of a community to establish a school with a religious ethos of its own is any less. Or that the right of a person to send their children to that school and expect that they be informed in the articles of their faith there is any less.

      2. ahjayzis

        It’s grandfathering at it’s worst.

        You don’t get a faith-based ambulance, fire or police service. You don’t get your choice of HSE hospital based on faith

        A secular, neutral state school system with optional free add-ons for whatever bronze age apocalypse cult of self flagellation you have a constitutional right to inflict on an innocent child serves everyone. Apart from the child who’s head you’re filling with repugnant nonsense of course.

        51% of a community wanting the Roman Church in charge of schooling disenfranchises every other family in that district. 51% wanting an Educate Together school or similar serves everyone equally.

        1. newsjustin

          It’s hard to take your sensible points seriously when your posts are peppered with religion hating smarm.

          1. ahjayzis

            It’s hard to take your conservatism seriously because you pepper everything with “I’m only a devils advocate and totally for X but “

          2. ahjayzis

            It’s hard to take your conservatism seriously because you pepper everything with “I’m only a devils advocate and totally for X but *IONA INSTITUTE PRESS RELEASE*“

          3. newsjustin

            Please forgive me for having a different and less hardline view than you ahjayzis.

  4. Caroline

    I actually saw a Junior Infants Catholic religion book recently. It’s kind of more eye-popping now because they’ve made Jesus really relatable. He’s this friendly cartoon figure rather than the slightly preachy but essentially sound renegade-authority figure of old. So (spoiler alert) when you get to page 28 and BAM! – hey kids, time to colour in this picture of our old friend Jesus nailed to the cross, it does seem a bit mean. (Why’s he nailed to the cross? Oh you know. Because of you. And everyone across space and time. Including you.) But hey, that’s how the world works, right.

    1. Paolo

      Your kids DO NOT have to be involved with religious classes in school. They can use the time to study something more useful.

      Religion should be removed from schools altogether but pretending that the current system equates to religious dogma is just wrong.

      1. Caroline

        You assume they can even get into the school in the first place. Anyway, there’s no standard way for religious schools to deal with pupils who are to be excused from religion classes. Particularly at very young ages, it could be difficult. Some five year-olds might be fine with the exclusion, others not. The thing is you have no idea, and you can assume it’s dealt with on an ad hoc basis. Some schools have lots of religious add-ons permeating the school, others close the religion book and forget about it. But there’s no point in pretending it can always be neatly sliced out of a child’s schoolday.

        And of course it’s religious dogma. It’s still dogma even if the recipients are willing. That’s kind of the thing about dogma.

      2. well

        “Your kids DO NOT have to be involved with religious classes in school. They can use the time to study something more useful.”

        most schools with an “ethos” generally make the difficult.

      3. dereviled

        Quite wrong Paolo.
        The first thing junior infants are taught is that they are bad and they must pray for forgiveness.

          1. dereviled

            Easily verifiable.
            Our friendly neighbour assured us that the local Catholic School “wasn’t like that” and that things “had moved on”.
            Not so. Week one saw a priest in the classroom explaining Original Sin.
            We were lucky and moved our child.
            I spoke to the neighbour after and she was dismissive, apparently she is Catholic but doesn’t actually go to mass or pay attention to indoctrination.

          2. newsjustin

            It’s not easily verifiable is it though? Its just something you’re claiming. I don’t buy it – especially when it’s rounded off with a delicious “the neighbour’s a hypocrite aswell” just for fun.

          3. Caroline

            Why would he bother making it up? It’s also entirely plausible. After all, why wouldn’t you expect Catholic schools to teach the tenets of Catholicism to children?

          4. newsjustin

            The notion that a priest (or anyone else for that matter) teaches the concept of original sin to junior infants in their first week of school is hilariously unlikely. C’mon, pull the other one.

          5. Caroline

            Frankly, I doubt it’s common, but I also doubt it has never happened. They’ll have to learn about it before they get to the end of that religion book anyway, because without the concept of original sin, the crucifixion is just a horror story.

        1. Bacchus

          I know quite a few in D8 and none of them like to think it’s D2. Maybe you’re an idiot?

  5. Mr. T.

    They had to close Kildare Street because of all the articulated bicycle road trains taking up the road.

  6. Gavin

    I would love to hear a reasoned explanation as to why Educate Together schools are ……”great if you never want your kid to have a basic understanding of how the world works”. Please do explain

    1. 15 cents

      i visited one to check it out while on hunt for a school for my lass, and kids were strollin in ‘n out of class as they pleased, taking out toys whenever, calling the teachers by their first names, and generally operating in a lawless environment. which is something i’d see more fit for a college/university scenario. unfortunately, the world does operate using laws and boundaries, and most of us will have to answer to bosses, authorities etc., and i didn’t feel the educate together system was going to prepare any kid for that.. especially at such a young age. we all still need the basic knowledge of how to navigate around the society we live in. and once you can do that, then feel free to break away from the norm, but know to not stroll into your bosses office, kick your feet up on his table and call him Jim.

      1. Kennysmells

        How old is your “lass”? if she is under 6 then its actually ok for kids to go to school and play and do some learning. Shoving “knowledge” down there throat when the kids are too young can turn them off it altogether.

        1. 15 cents

          its nothing about knowledge .. it’s about knowing there are authorities in life and in general you’ll get along better if you know how to respect them.

      2. Caroline

        In fairness most Educate Together schools cater almost exclusively to the children of white middle class dual income professionals, as such they are busy producing the bosses of tomorrow and it’s probably as well there be a few plebs left who know their place for them to crack the whip over.

      3. scottser

        i have never, ever called a senior work colleague by anything other than their first name. and if anyone at work referred to me by anything other than my first name, i’d quick to remind them of what i prefer to be called.

        1. Joe the Lion

          Haha it would be revolutionary for some of course if they had to learn how to command authority using respect instead of by reliance on patriarchy and or a class structure

      4. case

        What??? Lawless society! Calm down 15 cent……The kids in JI are allowed to take toys in to class, that is standard throughout most schools. It is a way of easing the kids into a new environment and helps them socialise. You were possibly there on an open day ? The children in ET schools are asked to get involved with the introduction of new children and their parents. It helps to build the children’s confidence and gives them a sense of community. Kids don’t wander in and out of classes on a normal school day! Thats just silly to suggest that it is “just grand’ for the teachers trying to do their job. Yes they do call their teachers by their first names, I’m fine with that, I haven’t noticed my kids or any of the other pupils being disrespectful of authority it’s ridiculous to suggest that is what is promoted by any Principal. Our kids are taught to treat all people equally and to treat all people and their views with respect. However our kids are well able to have a back and forth conversation with an adult and don’t go unquestioning into the world. I hope that we as parents and parents who chose Educate Together schools have done enough to ensure that our kids won’t just bow to authority if the authority in question is unjust and needs to be scrutinised.
        Now I’m off for some Quinoa and some kefir:)

  7. follow me, silently

    Send some of the Terenure boys to Synge Street CBS, that’s Educate Together.

  8. meadowlark

    I’m from a non religious family. Both of my parents are non practicing Catholic but I never heard a single word for or against religion of any kind from them. They allowed me and my brother to make our own decision. We both attended a Catholic primary scool due to lack of choice and then supposed non denominational secondary school. Every morning there was a prayer over the intercom and there were routine confession etc. It was a dreadful hypocrisy. If I send my daughter to a Catholic school at least I know what she’s in for. But I’d much prefer to send her to an educate together and not have religion take any part at all in her life.

      1. Kieran NYC

        How illuminating.

        But be sure to base your opinion of this subject solely on your miraculous upbringing and ignore stories and opinions of others.

  9. Tralala

    My son goes to an Educate Together school because we are not religious and luckily there was a modern progressive school within easy access of us. Otherwise we’d be paying for a private education.

    One of my son’s teachers attends school events with her girlfriend, and thanks to referendum, soon to be spouse. My lad’s friends who go to the Catholic school were told they must tell their parents to vote “No” to gay marriage. Some of the older Educate Together kids went around pulling down the No posters in disgust.

    The old guard had their day but times have changed. They won’t last much longer.

    1. newsjustin

      Are you blaming the Educate Together school for producing young tearaways with no respect for freedom of speech and democracy? Seems a little harsh. The parents must take some of the responsibility as well.

  10. Tralala

    That’s very witty. But seriously, you may be happy knowing that institutions funded by the state are instructing children to preach outdated inequality to their parents, the very taxpayers who are coughing up to pay the teachers their salaries, but I am not happy about it. I thought it was a joke that you were Iona but obviously not.

    1. newsjustin

      Relax Tralala, I was (quite obviously) joking.

      A serious point/query though – you mentioned paying for private education. Are there non-religious-patron private primary schools in Ireland?

    2. Paolo

      That is simply not true and if the teachers are doing that then they should be reported because they are in breach of their terms of employment. Just like if a teacher started campaigning for a local candidate in class. I just don’t believe any of your anecdotes btl.

  11. Tralala

    You don’t believe my anecdotes? Boo hoo I’m crying… You won’t believe my father and uncle were abused, beaten and starved in a Christian Brothers industrial school in Cork either, but that’s a matter of public record, all printed up (at great expense to the taxpayer as usual) in the Redress Board reports.

    You don’t believe narrow minded Catholics are being paid to teach 21st century children a load of fairy tales and nasty hate-based discriminatory rubbish – well it does seem unbelievable, I’ll give you that, but it is true. Complaints have been made, but complaining to a Catholic school about teaching Catholic beliefs, what’s going to be the outcome of that one I wonder?

    1. newsjustin

      Why would you expect a catholic ethos school to not teach and encourage a catholic ethos. That would be weird.

  12. Frilly Keane

    They’d make ya laugh
    All these Muuummmiees

    When the time comes, and the offers come in for Belvo and LSG, Christ the same whingy ones here are wetting themselves

    This D6 ET brigade
    Are cribbing because they want Rathgar.
    But can’t manage the fees

    The last thing you need running a school
    Is the Parents.

    1. Lilly

      Jesuits… perish the thought. Unless you want your offspring to turn into cardboard cutout bores.

      1. Frilly Keane

        Not that so much tbh

        By the time yer’wan has made her mark in the schoolyard
        The student is in 2nd class
        By 4th class another crew have canvassed and taking over

        There is no stability or long term planning
        Which is not ideal

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