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 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.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 8 classroom primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Newcastle-Rathcoole and Saggart school planning area.
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 four year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.
I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department approved two temporary classrooms and a Special Education Teaching room for Scoil Chronain National School, Rathcoole in 2018 to provide for additional school places. These additional classes are currently being accommodated in Rathcoole Community Centre pending installation of the temporary classrooms at the school. The responsibility for this installation has been devolved to the Board of Management.
In addition, my Department has recently approved 2 further mainstream classrooms for Scoil Chronain to cater for additional primary school places in Rathcoole for September 2019. The responsibility for the installation of these classrooms has also been devolved to the Board of Management.
The requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular would have regard to the impact of the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040. My Department will also continue to monitor areas where the accommodation of existing schools may need to be expanded in order to meet the needs of the local population.
The Educational Welfare Services of the Child and Family Agency (EWS) can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The EWS contact details are as follows: the Educational Welfare Services of the Child and Family Agency, Ground Floor, Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8 or by telephone at 01 7718815.