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Examining the Relationship between School and Parish Segregation in Dublin Archdiocese

February 4, 2016 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location: CA110 (SAC Room), Cairnes Building, NUI Galway Galway Ireland

Speaker(s): Dr Valerie Ledwith

Affiliation: Geography

Organised by: Whitaker Institute

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In Ireland, research on school ethnic and/or racial composition has been relatively sparse, partly as a result of a lag between rapid demographic change during the past 20 years and official data gathering strategies.  In addition, school policy debates have focused on the dominance of catholic schools and ways to increase the range of primary schools available for parents to choose from rather than school composition.  However, there is evidence to suggest that when parents are empowered to choose schools, education systems tend to be more segregated by race and/or SES than would be the case without parental choice, with schools becoming more segregated than the neighborhoods in which they are located.   As such, the focus on increased school choice may well become the tool through which parents, knowingly or not, contribute to segregated school attendance in Ireland.  This paper will present evidence of segregation in Ireland’s primary education sector, using Dublin Archdiocese as a case study.  These emerging patterns of school segregation warrant attention because of evidence from many countries that segregation negatively affects the educational opportunities of migrant and minority students.

This seminar is one of a series of seminars in the 2016 Whitaker Ideas Forum.  Dr Ledwith will be representing the Population & Migration Research Cluster.