Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Questions (299)

Cian O'Callaghan


299. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if funding will be provided to a school (details supplied) to create additional classes to meet the needs of the 150 applications that have applied for the 48 available places for the upcoming school year; if his attention has been drawn to the number of families living very close by including in Balgriffin, Dublin 13 that are considered outside the catchment area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5210/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The school to which the Deputy refers is currently in interim accommodation on the Grange Community College site pending delivery, when easing of the Covid-19 restrictions allow, of its intended interim accommodation on its permanent site on Belmayne Avenue, Belmayne.

In addition to the interim accommodation for the post-primary school that site will also facilitate interim accommodation for a primary school and construction of the permanent building for the post-primary school. In that regard, there are restrictions on the amount of temporary accommodation that can be placed on the permanent site.

Therefore it will not be possible for the school referred to by the Deputy to increase its enrolment intake beyond the current intake level (which is up to 48 pupils for its 1st year intake) for 2020/2021 academic year.

In relation to School Planning Areas, 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 1,000 pupil post-primary school which was established in 2019 to serve the Donaghmede_Howth_D13/Belmayne/Clongriffin school planning area. Patronage of the new school was awarded to Educate Together and the school opened in suitable interim accommodation in September 2019 pending delivery of the permanent accommodation for the school.

For school planning purposes, Balgriffin is located in the adjacent Portmarnock school planning area. As the Deputy may be aware, a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school was established in 2018 to serve the Malahide and Portmarnock school planning areas as a regional solution and has just under 70 pupils enrolled in the 2019/20 school year.

New schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required, in the first instance, to prioritise pupil applications from within the designated school planning area(s) which the school was established to serve. This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area where they have sufficient places.

In relation to school admissions, it is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils in the area seeking school places.