Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (234, 254)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

234. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason he will not provide an additional teacher to accommodate the new junior infants class in a school (details supplied) in County Dublin, in view of the increase in numbers of children in the local area; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the lack of school places means that some families have had to include children in three different schools and the hardship this is causing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24493/14]

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Clare Daly

Question:

254. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 37 of 29 May 2014, regarding two other schools in the areas accepting additional stream of junior infants, that a school (details supplied) is not offering places to parents of children from another school despite this; the remedies open to these families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24662/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 234 and 254 together. I wish to advise the Deputies that my Department has examined the level of demand for junior infant places in the Swords area and in that regard has also been in contact with the schools concerned. Following on this contact, it was ascertained that there are currently two schools, with the same Patron, as the school referred to by the Deputies which have lost or are due to lose mainstream teaching posts. These schools have spare accommodation capacity within their buildings and expressed a willingness to accept an additional stream of Junior Infants each, which my Department approved, 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. Prior to that date, children may have been refused a school place in the two schools in question but this should no longer be the case. In further recent contact with the schools involved, my Department has been advised that the schools concerned are continuing to offer places. The Deputies will appreciate that in view of constraints on my Department's capital budget imposed by the need to meet demographic demand, 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 however result in children not being offered a place in their school of first choice.