Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Ceisteanna (166)

Richard Boyd Barrett


166. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a school (details supplied) will move to a permanent location; his views on whether it should move into the first of the new schools to be completed in the Cherrywood SDZ in 2020 and 2021 for its permanent relocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52604/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order 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.  

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the four years from 2019 to 2022.

On 3rd of September last I confirmed, as part of a framework to provide more opportunities to increase the provision of Irish Medium education through new schools and the expansion of existing schools, that in some circumstances the language of new schools established in the coming will be designated as Irish. This included one of the two schools due to be established in Cherrywood over the period 2020-2022.

The new schools in Cherrywood are planned to accommodate demand arising from residential development in the area. Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demographic demand in that area. Accordingly, as part of nationwide demographic exercises which my Department undertakes, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain information on significant new residential development. This is necessary to ensure that schools infrastructure planning is keeping pace with demographic changes as there is a constantly evolving picture with planned new residential development. This particularly the case with Cherrywood, with much residential development envisaged to take place in a short period of time.

The school referred to by the Deputy is currently based in temporary accommodation. It is intended that the school will relocate to a former primary school building that is currently occupied by a special school when the building project for the special school has been completed.

It is not possible for an interim move for the school to the site opening in Cherrywood in 2020 for a number of reasons including site restrictions and as there will be temporary accommodation on the site while the permanent school building is being constructed on a phased basis.

The requirement for new schools is kept under ongoing review and in particular will have regard to the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040. In the context of reviewing demographic demand, in conjunction with any capacity in an area, my Department intends to have additional engagement with patron bodies to incorporate their local knowledge on school place requirements.

I can confirm that my Department has received correspondence from the school in question and its patron body. The Department will take into account the issues raised in the correspondence and will liaise further with the patron as part of the wider engagement mentioned above.