Clare Fianna Fáil TD, Timmy Dooley, has called on the Minister for Education to recognise the Steiner model of education and offer schools that pursue this model full recognition.

Deputy Dooley was speaking after a Topical Issue debate in the Dáil today where he asked the Minister to grant Mol an Óige Steiner National School, Ennistymon and Raheen Wood Steiner National School in Tuamgraney full recognition.

“The Department has failed to recognise the Steiner approach to education and the benefits it provides to certain children. I have visited these schools and observed the benefits to children and families in the community. The system approaches children’s education in a holistic manner, where learning is not just confined to books but there is an applied element. Raheen Wood School has been operating in east County Clare for 20 years, which proves its viability. The benefits of these schools outstrip any rules or procedures that may appear in rulebooks or Departmental guidelines.

“The concept of pluralism must be adhered to for these schools. The Educate Together movement is based on a different model and has proved very successful, the Steiner schools are just looking for similar recognition.

“The Government needs to commence an immediate review of the Steiner model of education and offer students and parents another alternative model of learning.

“I sincerely hope the review does not seek to marry the Steiner model with the existing Irish system. This would defeat the purpose of the Steiner school model and children would lose out on the benefits of the system.”