Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (206)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

206. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for further provision of second-level places in Ashbourne, County Meath. [25298/19]

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.

In 2014, a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school, De Lacy College, was established under the patronage of Louth and Meath ETB to serve the Ashbourne school planning area. The school has a current enrolment of some 400 pupils in the 2018/19 school year.

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). The announcement followed nationwide, demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country.

Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools;

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools;

- Provision of a new school or schools.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing schools.

While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for the Ashbourne school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and will have regard for the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.