I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is aware of increasing local enrolment pressures and demand for additional school places in a number of school planning areas, including the area in question.
Where enrolment pressures 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, they are not available to all pupils
- External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area
The true extent of any capacity issue will only become known following discussion with the relevant school authorities.
Similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including Waterford and Wexford ETB as patron of the school to which the Deputy refers, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions. WWETB has made my Department aware of increasing enrolments at the school and my officials are continuing to engage with officials in WWETB with a view to identifying any accommodation needs.