Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (366, 367)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

507 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason national schools in County Wexford were excluded from the catchment area for a community school (details supplied) in County Wexford; the action which can be taken for the schools and families who have a long-standing tradition of sending their children to this school and now will have no adequate choice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25078/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

For the purposes of post-primary education provision, the country is divided into catchment areas, each of which has its own post-primary education centre. The catchment boundaries were determined following consultation with local educational interests and the intention was that certain primary schools would feed exclusively into each centre. My Department provides accommodation to meet the educational needs of an area on this basis. Allowing pupils from outside the catchment area to enrol in the community school to which the Deputy refers can impact negatively on those who reside within the area and who are entitled, as of right, to a place. It invariably also impacts negatively on the school or schools to which these pupils should rightly attend and in which considerable capital investment has been made for this purpose.

It is a matter for all school authorities, in the context of their enrolment policies, to limit enrolment to within their catchment area to ensure that this situation does not arise. The school authority may offer places to pupils from outside the catchment area only it does not have repercussions for additional accommodation and transport costs.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

508 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the fact that six primary schools in the Gorey area have been excluded from the official catchment area map for a community school (details supplied) in County Wexford; the alternative choices proposed in relation to second level education for children attending these primary schools; the reason for this exclusion; if a review of the official catchment area map in order to include these schools will be carried out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25092/04]

View answer

For the purposes of post-primary education provision, the country is divided into catchment areas, each of which has its own post-primary education centre. The catchment boundaries were determined following consultation with local educational interests and the intention was that certain primary schools would feed exclusively into each centre. My Department provides accommodation to meet educational needs of an area on this basis. Allowing pupils from outside the catchment area to enrol in the community school to which the Deputy refers can impact negatively on those who reside within the area and who are entitled, as of right, to a place. It invariably also impacts negatively on the school or schools to which these pupils should rightly attend and in which considerable capital investment has been made for this purpose.

It is a matter for all school authorities, in the context of their enrolment policies, to limit enrolment to within their catchment area to ensure that this situation does not arise. The school authority may offer places to pupils from outside the catchment area only it does not have repercussions for additional accommodation and transport costs. There are no plans in my Department to review the catchment area in question.