Research suggests evidence of migrant segregation in primary schools in Ireland

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 13:45

Parents’ choice of school for their child can lead to poor outcomes for some migrant groups according to new research by NUIG’s Dr Valerie Ledwith. “Putting parental choice at the centre of school attendance policy supports a system of education that allows the segregation of children at school,” stated Dr Ledwith. Her work is being presented as part of the 50th annual Conference of Irish Geographers. The conference, one of the largest ever gatherings of professional and academic geographers in Ireland, is being held over the next three days at Maynooth University.

“Seven years ago, the Minister for Education established the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector with an emphasis on increasing school choices available to parents and families,” said Dr Ledwith. “While ensuring that schools cater for students from a range of religious or non-religious backgrounds is positive, an unintended consequence of this policy may be school segregation,” she continued. Her research is informed by the educational experiences of young migrant students living in Galway City and its urban fringe.

Over 200 speakers travelling from 16 different countries will present their work in Maynooth, including Prof Ayona Datta, Reader in Urban Futures at King’s College London, one of three keynote speakers. Geographers will showcase their work on such diverse topics as abortion rights, climate change adaptation, housing policies, energy efficiency and the new National Planning framework.

  • The conference (organised by the Geographical Society of Ireland and Maynooth University Department of Geography) runs from 10 - 12 May at Maynooth University.
  • In August 2024, the GSI will host the International Geographical Congress in Dublin City University, attracting over 4,000 delegates to Dublin.
  • In 2019, the GSI will host the EUGEO (European Association of Geography Societies) biannual Congress in NUIG  incorporating the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers.
  • The International Union for Quaternary Research Congress will be held in Dublin, Ireland from 25 Jul 2019 - 31 Jul 2019.
  • The Geographical Society of Ireland, founded in 1934, is the professional organisation and representative body of geographers in Ireland. ().
  • The full conference programme is available here.