To plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a 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, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.
Where demographic data indicate that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case. It may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools, extending the capacity of a school or schools and the provision of a new school or schools.
The Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years, 2019 to 2022, including a new eight-classroom primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Newcastle, Rathcoole and Saggart school planning area. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country. The four-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.
My Department approved two temporary classrooms and a special education teaching room for Scoil Chrónáin national school, Rathcoole, in 2018. The additional classes approved in 2018 are currently accommodated in Rathcoole community centre pending installation of the temporary classrooms at the school.