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School Enrolments

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (412)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

412. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Education her plans to address the shortage of school places in south County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [61679/21]

View answer

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 South Kildare.

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 they 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/patrons. In that context, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, the Department is engaging with school patron bodies/school authorities to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions.

There are over 500 building projects in train for post primary schools around the country. This includes projects for 19 new post primary schools which have been announced to be established since 2018. Additionally, these building projects include a project to provide a new 1,000 pupil school building that will replace and expand the existing Curragh post primary school. This expansion is intended to assist in addressing the post primary school place requirements in the Kildare and Newbridge areas.

The other projects currently underway in South Kildare include projects at:

- Cross & Passion Kilcullen

- Patrician Secondary School Newbridge

- Ardscoil Rathangan

- St. Conleth’s Community College Newbridge

- St. Paul’s Secondary School, Monasterevin

- Holy Family Secondary School Newbridge (application recently received)

My Department's engagement with Patrons/school authorities 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.

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