Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (247)

Thomas Byrne


247. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his policy on playing pitches and other recreational facilities at schools. [27539/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the provision of play space, where site conditions and circumstances allow, is one of the issues considered in the architectural design of new schools and major extensions.

My Department's design guidelines for schools include guidance in the provision of P.E. Halls, general purpose rooms and outdoor hard play areas such as basketball courts. Other P.E. facilities e.g. pitches are provided, where appropriate and in the context of available resources and site conditions, under my Department’s school building programme to be delivered as part of the National Development Plan. The provision of playing pitches is not part of the specification for primary schools. However, in certain circumstances and where the site conditions allow, the project scope may include the levelling and grassing of an area which schools may decide to use for playing fields. At post primary level, an area may be developed as a practice playing field where site conditions and resources permit.

As the Deputy is aware my Department is committed to a PE Hall build and modernisation programme, starting in the second half of the Project Ireland 2040 period (2018 -2027), that ensures that students in all post-primary schools have access to state of the art facilities to support PE provision, particularly also in the context of the roll-out of P.E. as a leaving certificate subject.