Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (243)

John McGuinness


243. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he is taking to ensure that overcrowding of primary and secondary schools in Kilkenny city and county is ended; his plans for the provision of new schools in the county and updated facilities where needed in existing schools; if another secondary school will be provided for eastern areas (details supplied); if audits have been conducted to establish future enrolment numbers for both levels and to inform capital funding needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27453/19]

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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 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 2021 to serve the Kilkenny school planning area/Western Environs. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country.

While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for Kilkenny City, the requirement for new schools in Kilkenny is being kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard to the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

Officials from my Department recently met with personnel from Kilkenny County Council where the Council’s plans for housing in the Kilkenny area in the coming years were outlined, and further engagement is planned in this regard.

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.