As the Deputy may be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas. My Department uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. The GIS uses data from a range of sources, including the Central Statistics Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and the Department's own databases. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises at primary and post primary level to determine where additional school accommodation is needed.
Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:
Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools;
Extending the capacity of a school or schools;
Provision of a new school or schools.
As with other school planning areas nationwide, the demographic data for the South Kildare school planning areas is being kept under ongoing review by the Department to take account of updated data. It is anticipated that decisions based on the nationwide demographic exercises will be announced shortly.
I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department expects the building project at St Conleth’s Community College, Newbridge to be completed and ready for occupation by September 2018. The project when completed, will assist in meeting demographic need in the area. In addition, I wish to advise the Deputy that major building projects at 7 post-primary schools in County Kildare are included on my Department’s 6 year Construction Plan.