In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, the Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, the Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.
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 the Deputy may be aware, the Government announced for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next for years (2019-2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by the Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for the planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.
In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future. While the announcement did not include the Ennis or Scariff school planning areas, the requirement for new schools or additional places will be kept under on-going review.