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 these areas 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 my 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.
For school planning purposes, Donabate and Portrane are located in the Donabate school planning area. As with other school planning areas nationwide, the demographic data for Donabate school planning area is being kept under review by my Department to take account of updated child benefit and school enrolment data. My Department is currently engaging with local authorities in relation to additional residential development in all counties as part of this review. It is anticipated that decisions based on the demographic exercises will be announced shortly.