MOL an Óige Steiner National School in Ennistymon was this week granted permanent recognition by the Department of Education.
School principal Una Garvey told The Clare Champion that the news is a huge boost to the school, which is the first Stenier school in Ireland to receive this recognition.
“It’s a complete validation of the Steiner approach and Steiner methodologies. It’s a recognition of all of the fantastic work that goes on in the school. This says that this school does wonderful work, does it in a different way but it delivers the curriculum to the children and gives them what they need,” Ms Garvey said.
She also believes this development validates the Steiner approach to the public.
“It puts it in the public sphere. We know what we do inside here and we know how well it works. But now it’s in the public domain that the Department of Education also recognises the good work that happens inside here,” she added.
Chairperson of the Board of Management, Bill Hamill, said the work put into establishing and running the school has been recognised by the department.
“Everybody has put a lot of work into this over the last six years and we really feel vindicated by the department. I’m very pleased that the department has been able to recognise that a Steiner school can fit into the national curriculum but keep its own identity. I think it’s a great day for choice in education both in Clare and in Ireland,” he said.
“The other thing that is very important is that the department has signalled that, in due course, they will provide us with a permanent site and a permanent school. We’re looking forward very much to moving to a new school in the not too distant future. We’re in a very small, temporary site at the moment which we’ll really outgrown. We’re hoping that the department will be able to provide us with the means to move to a new school,” Mr Hamill added.
Clare TD Michael McNamara said the announcement is positive news for education in Clare and throughout Ireland. “This is a landmark decision in Irish education, as this is the first Steiner school in the country to get permanent recognition from the department. The decision is a great step forward for parental choice and pluralism in education.”
“I am particularly delighted that all of the hard work of the parents, teachers and board of management has paid off. This collective group has worked relentlessly for almost a decade to build a school they felt the children and local community deserved. I got to know this dedicated and determined group very well during the last number of years, as we met with various ministers for education, and their commitment to their children’s education cannot be questioned,” Deputy McNamara added.
The school, which received temporary recognition in September 2008, has more than 100 pupils enrolled. There are currently two Steiner schools in the county, Mol an Óige and Raheen Woods in the east of the county.
“I will continue to work with the teachers, parents and board of management in Raheen Woods, so it too can have the security of permanent recognition. Mol an Óige’s permanent recognition sets a precedent and is therefore good news for all Steiner schools,” the Labour TD concluded.