Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (228)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

228. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children in the Greystones district who have not received an offer of a secondary school place for September 2020 to date; the options available to parents of such children in order that they can be assured of a place; and if the opening of the proposed secondary school planned for Greystones for 2021 will be brought forward to 2020 to accommodate such children. [29357/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The question of enrolment in individual schools is the responsibility of the managerial authority of those schools and my Department does not seek to intervene in decisions made by schools in such matters. It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018.

My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. Parents have the right to choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available, a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.

As the Deputy is aware the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, which was signed into law by the President on the 18th July 2018, is an important piece of legislation which will introduce a more parent-friendly, equitable and consistent approach to how school admissions policy operates for the almost 4,000 primary and post-primary schools in this country and a fair and balanced school admission process for all pupils.

The Deputy will also 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 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.

It is also open to existing schools in the Greystones school planning area to apply for additional temporary accommodation should this be required.