There are approximately 3,000 primary schools in Ireland. Although all these schools teach the National Primary School Curriculum (NCCA, 1999) and are funded by the Department of Education, the majority are run by private patron bodies who determine the ethos of the schools. There are only a small number of state-run, state-funded primary schools in Ireland. These schools are called Community National Schools, and they are under the patronage of the Education and Training Boards (ETBs).

Community National Schools (CNSs) were established in 2008 as a new model of primary school patronage. The model was established in recognition of the changing face of modern Ireland (DES, 2007). As such, Community National Schools have a multi-denominational ethos which is underpinned by five core values; Excellence in Education, Care, Equality, Community and Respect.

The Community National School model has grown over the last number of years through the establishment of new schools in areas of demographic growth as well as the reconfiguration of existing schools to Community National Schools through a transfer of school patronage process.