I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is aware of increasing pressures and demand for additional post-primary school places in a number of school planning areas for the 2021/2022 school year, including the school planning area to which the Deputy refers.
Where capacity issues arise it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:
- Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area
- School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area
- Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school there are not available to all pupils
- External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area
Until these issues are discussed with the relevant school authorities, the true extent of any capacity issue will only become known.
Similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including patrons in the school planning area in question, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions.