Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Questions (92, 93)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

92. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason his Department refused to sanction the enrolment of a 7th junior infants class in the Holy Family School, Swords, County Dublin in September 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21811/14]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

93. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department considered the implications for families with older children already in attendance at a school (details supplied) in County Dublin of the revocation of previously offered places to children due to attend the school because of the Government's refusal to sanction the additional junior infants class; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21812/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 93 together.

I am aware of the decision by the authorities of the school concerned to advise parents of the availability of a 7th stream of junior infant places. I am also aware that this decision was taken without the approval of the school's Patron and without the prior approval of my Department. The position is that there are currently two schools in the area with the same Patron as the school, referred to by the Deputy, that have either lost or are due to lose mainstream teaching posts. These schools therefore have spare capacity within their buildings and have expressed a willingness to accept an additional stream of Junior Infants each, to alleviate any pressure on places in the area. This undertaking was given by these schools on 19th March last after contact with my Department. It is important that school size is monitored and that a balance is preserved among all schools in catchment areas to ensure that one school is not expanding at the expense or the viability of another school. This may sometimes result in children not being offered a place in their school of first choice. In light of the above, the school authority concerned has been advised that my Department is not in a position to accede to the school's request.