What does it mean to change school patronage to a Community National School?

All schools in Ireland are run by patrons. Patrons are responsible for running  their schools. Education and Training Boards (ETBs) are the patrons of Community National Schools (CNSs), which have a multi-denominational ethos. When a school changes patronage to a Community National School, the ETB takes over the running of the school and supports the school community with establishing a multi-denominational ethos. 

Why are schools to changing patronage to Community National Schools?

The Department of Education is currently undertaking a national campaign to transfer the patronage of religious-run schools to multi-denominational patrons in response to the wishes of school communities. This process aims to facilitate more availability of multi-denominational schools across the country. It is called  “reconfiguration”. Schools can change patronage to a Community National School through this process. 

What does changing patronage to a Community National School involve?

When a school reconfigures to a Community National School, the school stays open with the same roll number, school buildings, staff and children. Many other aspects aspects of school life remain the same also. For example,

  • the school continues to teach the national primary school curriculum
  • the school continues to receive the same amount of funding

Becoming a CNS will also bring changes to how schools currently operates. For example,

  • the school will now have a multi-denominational ethos
  • the school, if currently single sex, will become co-educational
  • sacramental preparation will be moved outside the scho0l day

We have developed information booklets for parents and school staff/boards of management on what Becoming a Community National School involves, which are available on this page.

What are the benefits for schools that change patronage to a Community National School?

Children, staff and parents all benefit from the inclusive school ethos when their school becomes a Community National School! CNSs are multi-denominational schools which treat all members of the school community equally.

School communities also benefit from the support of their patron, the local Educational Training Boards. ETBs are local education providers of primary schools, post-primary schools, special schools and further education and training. 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 may 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.

What do teachers from CNSs that have changed 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.” 

To find out more information about Becoming a Community National School, please our information books for parents and staff/boards of management on this page! 

Becoming a CNS: Information for Parents
Becoming a CNS: Information for Boards of Management and Staff



The Department of Education has also prepared information for school communities on the reconfiguration process. Some of these are available below and on the gov.ie website.

  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