Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (272)

Catherine Martin

Question:

272. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the policy on opening new schools without first identifying permanent locations for them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21969/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Where the provision of a new school or schools requires the acquisition of a site, securing school sites in highly developed urban areas, can present particular challenges for my Department.  To ensure that school accommodation is in place when required, the need for temporary accommodation may therefore be necessary.

In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). 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.