Church of Ireland Schools:
- are child-centered;
- are faith based – Christian in ethos;
- are co-educational;
- are welcoming to children of all faith traditions and those with none;
- are democratically run with parents, teachers and the church community in partnership;
- provide an inclusive, effective and comprehensive curriculum with an attractive ethos that responds to the academic, cultural, personal and spiritual needs of pupils;
- are happy schools and caring communities.
Dr Ken Fennelly, Church of Ireland Education Officer
The Church of Ireland has provided primary level education in Ireland for nearly two centuries. It is currently the second largest provider of primary level education in Ireland. Its 174 primary schools employ over 700 teachers who teach over 15,000 pupils. The patron is usually the local Church of Ireland bishop with a board of management comprising nominees of parents, staff, the patron and the local community.
In Church of Ireland primary schools, religious education is taught through the Follow Me curriculum which is produced by the Church’s Board of Education. This curriculum is child-centred and seeks to bring children into contact with and seek to discover the love of God, while at the same time being respectful and inclusive of all people. Specific faith formation is taught in local parish Sunday schools rather than the school.
The aim of all Church of Ireland schools is to seek to express the beliefs and scriptural values of the Church of Ireland, among which are honesty, justice, fairness, respect, sensitivity to others and civic responsibility. Events where parents play an active role, such as Christmas carol services and plays; harvest thanksgiving and Eastertide are important in nurturing ethos in Church of Ireland primary schools.
Statement to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism at Primary Level
18th September 2012