Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (186)

Darragh O'Brien


186. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the provision of a new primary school for the Donabate area of County Dublin as announced in April 2018; if he has identified locations for the proposed school; if the school patronage has been decide upon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16062/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 16 classroom primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Donabate school planning area. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure. 

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required.  This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons.  Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process. 

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).  Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision.  The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.

An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice about their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education. Parental preferences were previously collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

The patronage process for the new schools to be established in 2020, including the school referred to by the Deputy, will commence later in 2019. The patronage process for the remainder of the new schools will also be run at a later date, significantly ahead of their due opening. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website (https://patronage.education.gov.ie/) and the Department’s website ( www.education.ie).

It is intended that the permanent school building will be developed on the zoned school site within the  Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) residential development at Corballis, Donabate. 

The school will be delivered under the Department's Design & Build Programme. This delivery programme uses a professional external Project Manager to progress the project through the relevant stages of architectural planning and construction.  A tender competition to establish a Project Manager framework is nearing completion.