Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Ceisteanna (134)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

134. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he expects to be in a position to continue to make adequate provision in respect of primary and second level school places throughout County Kildare, having particular regard to the emerging demography; if he expects to have to make any adjustments to meet the demand, with particular reference to towns and villages experiencing greatest growth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23107/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In identifying the requirement for additional school places, my Department uses a Geographical Information System to identify the areas under increased demographic pressure nationwide. The system uses data from the Central Statistics Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and information from my Department's own databases. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and at post-primary level. Following the 2015 demographic analyses, 13 new schools will open in 2017 and 2018 to cater for increased demographic needs nationwide.

A range of areas are experiencing increased demographic pressure and these are being kept under review by my Department to take account of updated data and the impact of capacity increases in these areas.

The school planning areas in County Kildare are experiencing some demographic growth. However, the level of growth and the rate of year-on-year increase are not to such an extent that would currently warrant the provision of additional new schools at this point.

The Deputy will be aware that in recent years four new schools have opened in County Kildare, comprising two new primary schools which opened in 2012 and 2013 and two new post-primary schools which opened in 2014 and 2015. My Six-Year Programme includes 21 projects for County Kildare which have been committed for Major Capital funding and where construction is expected to commence over the period 2016 to 2021. The current status of all projects, including those in Kildare, may be viewed on my Department's website at www.education.ie and this will be updated regularly throughout the year.

With the addition of both planned and recently-delivered infrastructural provision in County Kildare, the existing schools between them are expected to be able to cater for the overall level of demographic demand for school places.

My Department is keeping the school planning areas in County Kildare under ongoing review to take account of updated child benefit data and updated enrolment data and also the impact of existing and planned capacity increases in these areas.