A national school in Co Westmeath has become the first primary school in a Department of Education pilot scheme to transfer from Catholic patronage.

Cornamaddy National School in Athlone, which has 290 pupils, will come under the patronage of the Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board as part of a scheme to widen educational choice in areas without multi-denominational schools.

The Government aims to transfer at least 400 primary schools from Catholic control by 2030, but the number so far is just 14.

Principal of Cornamaddy school Carmel Garvey said it was "no surprise" that the proposed transfer received broad support, because the school "caters for a hugely diverse population".

First Holy Communion will still happen in school time this year. From September, the ethos will be multi-denominational.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, Ms Garvey explained how the transfer of patronage came about.

"When the pilot scheme happened, Athlone was identified as one of the towns and our school was identified then as a possibility for reconfiguration and that's where the process would have begun," she said.

"A facilitator was appointed, I think it was last May."

She said the school has a "long and happy and proud tradition" of working with the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise and at every stage of the process the school and Diocese worked closely.

Meetings were set up in June and the case for the transfer was presented to the Board of Management, the staff and the parents.

The facilitator then produced a report that dealt with the issues raised during these meetings.