Written Answers. - Schools Amalgamation.

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

171 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding suggestions to amalgamate the junior and senior comprehensive schools in Ballymun; the source of the idea; if pupil numbers justify this suggestion; if objections have been received from the local community; if agreement has been reached with all parties in handing over one school to the VEC; if a summary of additional services or courses to be provided by the VEC can be supplied; and if a target date for different stages of the amalgamation is available. [10359/00]

As the Deputy is aware, the question of amalgamating the three comprehensive schools in Ballymun has been the subject of discussion between the board of management of the schools and my Department on a number of occasions over the last decade. The most recent proposal in that regard came from the board last year, following consultation with the trustees and with staff.

What is now envisaged is that the schools would amalgamate in the junior schools complex, which can accommodate approximately 1,500 students. The amalgamation could take place as soon as those buildings are refurbished, possibly by September 2001.

It is intended that the senior school building will be retained for educational purposes, and my officials will submit proposals to me in that regard in due course.