My Department completed demographic analyses at primary and post-primary level late last year, using the Department's Geographical Information System, to identify the areas under increased demographic pressure nationwide. The system uses data from the Central Statistics Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and information from my Department's own databases.
The outcome of these demographic analyses was that in November 2015, the establishment of four new primary schools and nine new post-primary schools to open in 2017 and 2018, including a new post-primary school which will open in September 2017 to serve the Portlaoise school planning area, was confirmed.
I am pleased to advise the Deputy that my Department has recently issued an invitation to all school patron bodies and prospective patron bodies to apply for the patronage of the nine new post-primary schools, including the school to serve the Portlaoise area. As part of the application process, prospective patrons must submit completed parental preferences, including whether parents wish their child(ren) to be educated through the medium of Irish or of English. Details can be found on my Department of Education & Skills website at www.education.ie. The closing date for receipt of applications to my Department is Wednesday 8th June. It is open to all school patron bodies and prospective patrons to apply for the patronage of these new post-primary schools.