My Department is taking an integrated approach with the Prefab Replacement Programme through the replacement of prefabs as part of large-scale and devolved projects or as part of new projects approved under the Additional Accommodation Scheme. This integrated approach helps to streamline the delivery of projects for schools.
In terms of progress being made on replacing temporary accommodation, construction work on large-scale and devolved projects in 2018 and 2019 is expected to facilitate the replacement of over 600 prefabs. This reflects the priority being placed on this as part of the roll-out of Project Ireland 2040.
In addition, since mid-2018 all schools approved for additional accommodation under my Department's Additional School Accommodation Scheme are also having necessary prefabs replaced as part of their additional accommodation project. To date approval has been granted to replace in excess of 128 prefabs with permanent accommodation and this number will continue to increase as further additional accommodation projects are approved.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the overall policy goal of my Department is to ensure the highest standard of permanent accommodation for all schools. However, it is sometimes necessary to make use of temporary accommodation in order to meet urgent accommodation needs of schools.
The Deputy will also be aware of my Department’s announcement in April 2018 regarding the establishment of 42 new schools over the 4 year period 2019 to 2022. This 4 year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure which will also help to reduce the need for temporary accommodation in the future.