What is Education and Training Boards Ireland?

Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) is the national representative body established to collectively represent the sixteen ETBs and promote their interests. ETBI also plays an active role in supporting schools which reconfigure (change patronage) to an ETB. For more information on ETBs and ETBI, visit www.etbi.ie.

Download the full brochure, ‘Becoming a Community National School‘ at this link

I would like to see a CNS in my area

The similarities between your school now and a Community National School

Many aspects of school life remain the same when a school becomes a Community National School (CNS). The below outlines the main similarities between your school today and a CNS:


Like all primary schools in Ireland, CNSs teach the national curriculum as prescribed by the Department of Education (DE) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). CNSs have access to the same national support services as all other schools.

Staffing All staff remain the same if your school becomes a CNS. However, teachers (including the principal) who wish to continue working in a school with the same religious ethos as their existing school can do so via  the main panel of the outgoing patron of the school. The DE has developed guidelines on how this can be facilitated. These are available on the department’s website.

Boards of Management Like all primary schools in Ireland, CNSs have a BoM and follow the most recent Governance Manual for Primary Schools as developed by the DE. There are some differences in the role of the BoM in CNSs which will be outlined in the next section. ETBI has developed a Handbook on the Governance Manual for Community National Schools which provides clarity to members of BoMs on their governance roles and responsibilities. For an entire break down of similarities between your current school and a community national school, visit this link.

What are the key difference between your school and a CNS?

Teaching working with small children in classroom

Becoming a CNS will bring changes to how your school currently operates. The below outlines the main differences between your school today and a CNS:

Ethos Your school, like the vast majority of schools in Ireland, currently has a religious ethos. CNSs have a multi-denominational ethos underpinned by the core values of excellence in education, care, equality, community and respect. The ETBI Patrons’ Framework on Ethos has been developed to support schools in living out the CNS ethos.

State-funded and state-run

Community National Schools are Ireland’s only state-funded and state-run primary schools as they are under the patronage of ETBs. Primary schools under any other patron e.g., a Bishop, Educate Together, An Foras Pátrúnachta are state-funded, but privately-run.


Some schools may decide to use a transfer of patronage as an opportunity to change the school’s uniform or uniform policy. This can be done over time in consultation with the school community. It is important

that parents incur no additional costs in terms of uniform as a result of any changes made.

Support from ETBs

As CNSs are under the patronage of ETBs, they receive a broad range of supports and services which may not be available to other schools. ETBs provide ethos, governance, educational, administrative, financial, human resources (HR) and information technology (IT), capital and building supports to schools.

For more information on how your school differs to a Community National School, visit this link.

Employment Related Matters

Teachers and SNA’s

Terms & Conditions

The terms and conditions of teachers and SNAs remain the same as they are currently, in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Act 1998 (as amended) including their appointment, promotion and pension arrangements, which will remain the same subject to the following exceptions:Cover of information booklet for becoming a community national school

• The ETB will become the employer of all teachers and SNAs with effect from the date of transfer of patronage.

• The following nationally agreed policies and procedures will be applicable to Teachers and SNAs employed by an ETB (which are different to the policies of your current school):

» Bullying Prevention Policy

» Harassment/Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

» Grievance Procedures for staff employed by ETBs

» ETB Complaint Procedure All the above policies are available on the ETBI website and will also be available from the relevant ETB.

For more information on terms and conditions for SNAs and teachers, visit this link. 

Secretaries, Cleaners, Caretakers

If the school becomes a CNS, staff other than teachers and SNAs have the choice of either retaining their existing terms and conditions or they can become public-sector employees and benefit from the terms and conditions associated with same. They can decide on the option that suits them best after discussing it further with the HR section in the local ETB. In either case, secretaries, caretakers and cleaners will be paid directly by the ETB. If ancillary staff decide to transfer onto the ETB pay-scale, they will transfer to the appropriate point on the scale relative to what they were being paid pre-reconfiguration. However, new ancillary staff employed after the transfer of patronage will be put on the ETB pay-scale at Point 1.

Download the full brochure, ‘Becoming a Community National School‘ at this link

I would like to see a CNS in my area