All National Schools, whether Roman Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Jewish or Educate Together schools, are funded by the State on an equal basis. They operate the same National Curriculum, follow the same rules for Boards of Management and are staffed by teachers who have the same level of professional qualifications and recognition.
Where schools differ from each other is in their “ethos”. The ethos of a school describes its spirit and character. This is built upon its aims and objectives and its policies and procedures and should be reflected in all interactions within the school community. Thus, the ethos of a school impacts strongly on the kind of education delivered to its pupils.
Educate Together schools are run on the following principles:
- Equality-based i.e. all children having equal rights of access to the school, and children of all social, cultural and religious backgrounds being equally respected
- Co-educational and committed to encouraging all children to explore their full range of abilities and opportunities
- Child-centred in their approach to education
- Democratically run with active participation by parents in the daily life of the school, whilst positively affirming the professional role of the teachers
In an Educate Together school, the daily period of time set aside for the patron’s religious education programme is used to deliver our Ethical Education Curriculum. This programme is called the “Learn Together” curriculum and is published by Educate Together. The programme is divided into four strands: Moral and Spiritual Development, Equality and Justice, Belief Systems and Ethics and the Environment.
In the strand called Belief Systems, the programme explains and explores the major belief systems in the world in an educational manner, teaching children about these faiths and beliefs without endorsing any particular one as religious truth. During the year, an Educate Together school may
mark – in an age appropriate way – festivals such as Chinese New Year, Easter, Bealtaine, Hindu Festival of Lights (Diwali), Harvest Festivals, Samhain (Halloween), Ramadan and Eid, Hannuka and Christmas.
Adapted from the Educate Together website.