Transferring School Patronage to the CNS Model

What does it mean to transfer school patronage to the CNS Model?

All schools in Ireland are run by patrons. Patrons are responsible for establishing the ethos of their schools. Education and Training Boards (ETBs) are the patrons of Community National Schools (CNSs), which have a multi-denominational ethos. When a school transfers patronage to CNS, the ETB takes over the running of the school and supports the school community with establishing a multi-denominational ethos. Transferring School Patronage is part of the Government’s plan to achieve 400 Community National Schools in Ireland by 2030. Recognising that the opening of new schools in areas of demographic growth could account for only a fraction of this number, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) commenced the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process in May 2018 to support the transfer of denominational schools to multi-denominational patronage.

Why is there a need for schools to transfer patronage?  

Recent census data has shown that Irish society is becoming increasingly diverse. With a primary school system that is predominately denominational, the need to increase the availability of multi-denominational schools is apparent. Through the transfer of denominational schools to multi-denominational patronage, greater diversity of school choice becomes available to families living in communities where demand for such choice exists. 

What does transfer of patronage to a Community National School involve?

Transfer of school patronage to CNS is a transformative process which involves both cultural and systematic changes to school life. Through the process, schools transform their existing ethos to a multi-denominational one. Changes to school governance procedures also occur. Transfer of school patronage to a Community National School requires time, professional learning and meaningful engagement from the school community. All of this is directly supported by the local Education and Training Board (ETB) and Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI).

What do teachers from CNSs that have transferred patronage say about the process?  

“We are now part of a school community, a groups of CNSs, everything is done correctly and by the book as such. I feel calmer since joining the CNS family as I now know that we are being guided to give our pupils the very best education we can.” 

“The network of principals is fantastic and it helps to be part of that group. Also, the characteristic spirit of our school is clearly defined and easily explained.” 

What is an ETB and what are the benefits of having them as patron?  

ETBs are statutory authorities with responsibility for Community National Schools, over 250 Community Colleges, and a wide range of further education and training centres and services. They have developed an excellent reputation for their provision of inclusive, innovative, high quality education that meets the needs of the entire community. 

Having ETBs as patrons is significant for Community National Schools, as ETB schools benefit greatly from a broad range of supports and services that are not available to other schools. ETBs provide governance, educational, administrative, financial, Human Resources and Information Technology (IT) supports to schools. This has a direct impact on the children and families attending these schools, as it allows school leadership to focus on their primary task of caring for the children and leading teaching and learning. This ensures the highest standard of excellence in our schools.

To find out more information about transferring patronage to the CNS model, please view the resources below.    



  1. FAQ for Parents
  2. Reconfiguation Explained to Parents
  3. Reconfiguration Explained to School Authorities
Becoming a CNS – Information For Parents
Becoming a CNS – Infromation for BOM and Staff

CNSs that have Transferred Patronage

Two Mile CNS
Scoil an Ghleanna SNP
Glenroe CNS
Brannoxtown CNS
Lecarrow CNS
Kilnamanagh CNS
Faughart CNS
Scoil Aonghusa CNS
Mol an Óige CNS
Tahilla CNS
Tallaght CNS
Raheen Wood CNS
Cuan na Gallimhe CNS