To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if a new national school for south Swords area of Fingal will be delivered in temporary accommodation at a location (details supplied) for the commencement of the September 2019 school year; if so, the number of classrooms which will be provided; and if other facilities such as physical education, school bus and special needs unit will be included. – Clare Daly T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when the planning assessment process will be completed with regard to the delivery of a new national school for an area (details supplied) in County Dublin. – Clare Daly T.D.
As the Deputy may be aware, the current focus for my Department is to prioritise the 17 schools due to be established in 2019 so that accommodation solutions can be put in place as soon as possible.
A planning application was lodged on 21 December 2018 for the location referred to by the Deputy. However, following further engagement with the local authority a better accommodation solution has been identified and this is currently being pursued. The application for planning permission at the National Show Centre will be withdrawn.
The school was announced as an 8 classroom school and will open with a single stream junior infant class in September 2019 in suitable interim accommodation.
The patronage process for the new primary schools opening in September 2019 is nearing completion and it is anticipated that the successful patrons will be announced later in February.
Due to their temporary nature, special education needs bases are not provided in start-up school accommodation, they are however, provided as part of the permanent accommodation projects for new schools.
In relation to the issue of school transport generally, the purpose of my Department’s Primary School transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school for children who reside remote from their nearest school.
School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of my Department. Generally children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 3.2 kilometres from and are attending their nearest national school, having regard to ethos and language.
A minimum number of 10 eligible children residing in a district locality, as determined by Bus Éireann, are required before consideration may be given to the establishment of a school transport service, provided this can be done within reasonable cost limits.
QUESTION: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if a new national school for south Swords area of Fingal will give priority access to children from a catchment area (details supplied) for September 2019. (Details Supplied) the Holy Family catchment area.
REPLY: As the Deputy may be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 8-classroom primary school to be established in 2019 to serve the Swords(South) school planning area. 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.
All new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required to prioritise enrolments from within the school planning area which the school was established to serve. This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area, rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established.
The question of enrolment in individual schools is the responsibility of the managerial authority of those schools. It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018.
My Department’s main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. Parents have the right to choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.
As the Deputy is aware the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, which was signed into law by the President on the 18th July 2018, is an important piece of legislation which will introduce a more parent-friendly, equitable and consistent approach to how school admissions policy operates for the almost 4,000 primary and post-primary schools in this country and a fair and balanced school admission process for all pupils.