Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (136)

Duncan Smith


136. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Education the secondary school catchment areas into which housing estates (details supplied) in County Dublin fall; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7509/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data in a way that takes account of the significant local and regional variations in demographic trends and enrolment projections, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas (SPAs).

Using school planning area boundaries within my Department’s Geographic Information System (GIS) allows data within those boundaries, including data for enrolments in schools, child benefit and other relevant data to be added to the mapping information, grouped and analysed.

The school planning areas are used in the demographic exercise as a basis for the assessment of areas of growth and to inform recommendations on the establishment of any new schools required in that school planning area. In urban areas, in particular, data relating to adjacent school planning areas is also used to inform our consideration of requirements. There are no current plans to revise school planning areas.

For school planning purposes, St Doolaghs, St Samsons & Castlemoyne Balgriffin housing estates are located in the Portmarnock school planning area.

All new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required to prioritise the enrolment of children from within the designated school planning areas which the school is being established to serve. Malahide Portmarnock ETSS is one such school and was established to serve both the Malahide_Nevinstown and Portmarnock school planning areas. However, it is important to note that this does not preclude these schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area(s), rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established. Parents may apply directly to the school in relation to their child’s enrolment in the normal way.

Furthermore, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including those in the Portmarnock school planning area, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action. In respect of Malahide Portmarnock ETSS, my Department is liaising with the school and will be providing all necessary interim accommodation for September 2021 pending the delivery of the permanent project.