Website Schools ETBs Training Centres

ETBI Welcomes Education Minister’s Support for Community National Schools

ETBI Welcomes Education Minister’s Support for Community National Schools


Minister’s comments signify commitment to community national schools as a solution to current educational challenges –

Community national schools will play an important and ever-increasing role in the delivery of primary education.  That’s according to Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), the organisation that promotes and coordinates community national schools.

Responding today (27.01.17) to comments made by Education Minister Richard Bruton TD, Séamus Conboy, ETBI’s Primary Support Officer for Community National Schools, said: “Today, Minister Bruton gave the clearest indication to date that the Government views community national schools as integral to the future of primary education in Ireland.

“The Minister highlighted the many features of community national schools that make them relevant and attractive for parents in modern Irish society, including the fact that they are multidenominational, equality-based and responsive to the needs of local communities.

“Most people in Ireland today see the importance of children learning how to reflect on their lives in spiritual or meaningful ways.  Historically, people relied on Church-run schools to teach children how to do this.  Now, parents of children in CNS schools love that these schools make space for the spiritual part of a child’s identity while respecting all faiths and secular beliefs equally.  Speaking to parents across the country, it is obvious that they want this type of educational setting for their children.

“An important feature of community national schools is that the State itself is the patron of these schools, through the local Education and Training Boards, which are present in every county in the country.

“For the State to have direct patronage of these schools is hugely significant: by establishing community national schools, the State has taken a very appropriate and ambitious approach to pluralism.  It has chosen to deal head on with religious diversity in a meaningful way, as opposed to completely secularising schools, as has happened in many other jurisdictions.”


Ministerial Visit to Citywest and Saggart Community National SchoolCNS

Minister Bruton made his comments about community national schools at the national conference of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network in the Citywest Convention Centre today.  Following his conference address, he visited Citywest and Saggart Community National School to meet pupils, teachers and staff at the school, and to hear about the work ETBI is doing to establish additional community national schools nationwide.

There are currently 11 community national schools in Ireland, with a number of ETBs and local communities working together to establish additional schools.

“Community national schools are child-centred, inclusive, multi-belief and State-governed,” said  Séamus Conboy.  “They are reflective of the needs of Irish people and the interculturalism of 21st Century Ireland.

“The CNS model has a hugely important role to play in the establishment of new schools and in the reconfiguration of some Catholic schools to multi-denominational schools.

“We have been working closely with the Department of Education and Skills to further develop the community national school model, and we are delighted that the Minister gave such a strong demonstration of support for the CNS model today.”

Notes to Editors:

  • Séamus Conboy, ETBI’s Primary Support Officer for Community National Schools, is available for interview.
  • About ETBI: under theEducation and Training Boards Act 2013, Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) was established to collectively represent Education and Training Boards and promote their interests.  Education and Training Boards (ETBs) were statutorily established on 1st July 2013 and they are constituted from the former VECs and FÁS Training Centres.  ETBI was also established on 1st July 2013.  Further information about ETBI is available at
  • Further information about community national schools is available at, @cnsireland, #etbcns.



Back to top