Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (391)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

391. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the provisions in place to deal with the shortage of first-year secondary places for those who are on waiting lists in the Kilcoole and Greystones area in County Wicklow; the status of the provision of a new secondary school in Greystones; if the process will be accelerated in view of the high demand for places and the stress placed on parents who do not have a place for their child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20025/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government announced plans in April 2018 for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022) including a new 800 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2021 to serve the Kilcoole and Greystones school planning areas as a regional solution.

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 the remaining schools, including the new post-primary school referred to by the Deputy, 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 (http://patronage.education.gov.ie/) and my Department’s website (www.education.ie).

My Department is currently examining potential site options and discussions with the landowner in respect of a potential site acquisition are currently ongoing. Due to commercial sensitivities relating to site acquisitions generally, I am not in a position to provide further details at this time. Once a suitable site has been acquired my Department will be in a position to progress the project concerned into the architectural planning process.

As the Deputy may be aware, a major building project for St. David's Holy Faith Secondary School in Greystones is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning and will provide an extension and refurbishment to the existing school along with a new two-storey Physical Education Hall and ancillary accommodation to accommodate a long term projected enrolment of 750 pupils. This will provide an additional 180 post-primary places in the Greystones school planning area.

In addition, a major building project for Coláiste Craobh Abhann in Kilcoole will provide an extension and refurbishment to the existing school to accommodate a long term projected enrolment of 800 pupils, providing an additional 85 post-primary places in the Kilcoole school planning area.