Tuesday, 16 May 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
464. Ms Burton asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a significant number of children have been refused places in a school (details supplied) in Dublin 15; if her attention has further been drawn to the fact that the cut-off date for enrolment in the school is to be four years of age on or before the 31 of December 2005; if her attention has further been drawn to the distress caused to parents who have other children in the school and who have had children’s names down for a significant period of time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17847/06]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): School Planning Section has been apprised of the situation, by the school management authorities of the school referred to by the Deputy. My officials have been informed that the school accepts enrolments from parents in the first three weeks of March each year. The school authority is currently carrying out a comprehensive survey in its area to determine the actual shortfall in Junior Infant places. When the results of this survey are available the Board of Management will make a decision on how best to cater for the actual shortfall in places.
The school authority has been advised by officials in School Planning Section that it has the option to apply for an additional classroom, should it be required, to cater for an additional Junior Infant intake for September 2006. I understand that parents in the area have been kept informed by the school authorities of these matters.
With regard to the area as a whole, I am conscious that Dublin 15 is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the country and, as a result, there has been a marked increase in the demand for primary school places. My Department is taking a number of measures to increase the capacity of existing schools in the area concerned along with the development of new schools to meet this growing demand. All building projects arising from these interventions are awarded a band 1 priority rating under my Departments prioritisation criteria for large-scale building projects to ensure that they are delivered as expeditiously as possible.
In the Littlelepace/Castaheaney area a new school building has recently been completed at Mary Mother of Hope National School, with an additional project underway with a target delivery date of September 2007. In addition a new primary school campus is planned for a school site in Ongar which will have a minimum of 32 classrooms. Part of this project will provide a permanent accommodation solution for Castaheaney Educate Together National School which has agreed to increase its junior infant intake by one extra class grouping this year. This project also has a target completion date of September, 2007. This particular area is also served by the Sacred Heart National School Huntstown where an extension project to provide a 32 classroom school is nearing completion.
In the Diswellstown area, St. Patrick’s National School has recently moved into a new 24-classroom school. This will facilitate an annual 3 stream intake. However, as an exceptional matter the Board of Management has agreed to take a fourth stream of Junior infants this year. In addition to this, the Board of Management of St. Mochta’s National School, which currently has an intake of 3 junior infant classes, has agreed to enrol a fourth Junior Infant class for September 2006. An extension project to cater for this development will also attract a Band 1 priority rating. Other developments in the Dublin 15 area include the planned expansion of St. Brigid’s National School in Castleknock and extensions to St. Brigid’s Boys and Girls National Schools, Blanchardstown.
In addition, a new Educate Together school opened in Tyrrelstown in September 2005. My Department has approved the provision of six additional classrooms for September 2006 to cater for new enrolments and Special Education Teachers. It is anticipated that this school will enrol three junior infant classes.
I am confident that the measures outlined will assist in alleviating the immediate demand for pupil places in the area. However, due to the current level of demand emanating from the Dublin 15 area, the need to provide even further school accommodation is under consideration and my Department is engaging with the key school Patron authorities that are active in the area in this regard.
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