As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 800 pupil post-primary school (to be established in 2020) to serve the Blanchardstown_West_Dublin15 and BlanchardstownVge_Dublin15 school planning areas as a regional solution.
This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my 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 planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.
My Department has identified potential locations for the school and is currently working to undertake a detailed assessment of these. Once the location has been determined, the project to deliver the school accommodation can advance into the architectural planning process.
A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required. This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.
The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision. The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.
An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice about their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education. Parental preferences were previously collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.
The patronage process for primary and post-primary schools to be established in 2020 will commence later this year, significantly ahead of their due opening. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website (https://patronage.education.gov.ie/) and my Department’s website (www.education.ie).
Once the patronage of the new school has been announced, the process to appoint a principal for the school can commence. My Department allows for appointments of Principals to all new schools from 1 September of the school year prior to the opening of a new school. The recruitment and appointment of teachers, including Principals, to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012).