Schools & Education

David Quinn debates the future of religious schools

David Quinn was on the Pat Kenny Show last week debating the future of Church-run schools. He said one reason that more Catholic schools have not been divested is because in practice there is not much demand from parents to do so. You can listen to the item here.

A big victory for the rights of parents

The right of parents to choose how to educate their children has been upheld by the Supreme Court in a major ruling published on Monday. It unanimously dismissed the appeal of the Minister of Education against two home-schooled students who were excluded from the Leaving Cert calculated grades scheme. Their exclusion interfered with the constitutional...

Denominational schools under the spotlight at UN committee

On Wednesday, Ireland’s human rights record will once again be under the scrutiny of a United Nations committee. As discussed in a previous blog, more pressure will be heaped on us to make our abortion law even more permissive. But our education system will come under scrutiny, with objections being raised to our mainly denominational...

Catholic pupils now being bullied in schools

Children who are practising Catholics are being targeted for bullying in school, according to the director of Dublin City University’s Anti-Bullying Centre. They are now a minority to be protected. Professor James O’Higgins Norman was speaking last week at the Oireachtas Committee on Education, about the topic of school bullying and the impact on mental...

Major new Irish study finds family structure matters

One of the great taboos in modern Irish debate is pointing out that family structure matters, and makes a difference to the lives of children. Such a declaration is considered to be offensive and judgemental. But suppose it is true, and suppose certain family structures do, on average, benefit children more? Does it really serve...

Should Catholic schools be allowed to teach RSE

David Quinn of The Iona Institute was on The Hard Shoulder this week discussing new sex education material published by the bishops for use in Catholic primary schools. His main point? Sex education should be in accord with the wishes of parents. If they want it taught through in school through a Catholic lens, it...

Racial equality report highlights importance of traditional family

A constant theme of The Iona Institute, indeed one of the chief reasons it was founded, is to point out that family structure matters, and specifically that when mothers and fathers raise their children together, the children are likely to do better in life. A major new report has just been published in the UK...

The nuclear family a ‘catastrophe’? No, but it needs help

Was the nuclear family more trouble than it was worth? The headline on a piece in the prestigious American monthly, The Atlantic, would give the impression that it was. More surprising is that the headline is over an article written by New York Times columnist, David Brooks who, despite writing for that newspaper, is on...

The HSE-backed researcher who wants ‘ethical’ porn taught in schools

Is ‘porn literacy’ something we should be teaching in schools? If so, at what age? What is ‘porn literacy’? Is there such a thing as ‘ethical porn’? To what extent will these things be part of the planned new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) course? For clues, we might look to Kate Dawson who is...

Funding of Church schools is commonplace across Europe

The impression is often given that there is something very and unusual, not to mention undemocratic, about religious schools receiving public funds. In fact, it is absolutely normal. What is unusual is faith schools receiving no public funds.  What is more, the Irish education system is one of the freest in the world, that is,...