Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Questions (101)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

101. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education if the attention of her Department has been drawn to waiting lists for first year post-primary school places for the 2022-2023 school term in schools in Wexford Town; if an assurance can be provided that there are sufficient places for all children within the catchment area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57849/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Department is aware of some local pressures and demand for additional post-primary school places in a number of school planning areas across the country, including Wexford Town.

However, it is important to note that where enrolment pressures arise, it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:

Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area

School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area

Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school there are not available to all pupils

External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area

My Department is working to establish the true extent of any capacity issues through ongoing discussions with the relevant school authorities. In that context, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, the Department is engaging with school patron bodies to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year 2022/23 which may necessitate action including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions. This engagement with Patrons is ongoing and is focussed on ensuring that the start of the 2022/23 school year operates as smoothly as possible for all schools and their students.

As the Deputy will be aware, a building project to provide a new 1,000 pupil school with a Special Education Needs Base is being planned for Wexford town. The new school is part of a campus development and the architectural planning process to deliver the project has commenced.