Minister does little to address School Capacity Shortage

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Dáil Issues, Education, Local Issues, Oral Questions


To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the accommodation crisis at a school (details supplied) which is forcing the preschool childcare facility to seek alternative premises. (Details Supplied) Holywell Educate Together

The Deputy will be aware, from previous questions and correspondence concerning the specific preschool to which the Deputy refers, that the prior approval of the Minister should have been sought, for the preschool, in order that the overall needs of the school could be accommodated.

There is no provision contained in this year’s budget for additional capital investment by my Department specifically in relation to pre-school and afterschool services. In general, capital funding by my Department is reserved for provision of school accommodation for primary education upwards. Funding for pre-school services is a matter for my Colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Proposals to the Minister for Education and Skills, to allow use of accommodation for pre-school purposes, during the school day, have been facilitated in the past, provided a school’s current and future accommodation needs are not compromised and the consent of the patron has been received. In the case of the school in question, future accommodation needs for the primary school intake will take precedence over the needs of the preschool.

The Department has provided a 24-classroom school at this location to meet its statutory responsibility in respect of primary school provision. It is envisaged that the school will reach full capacity in respect of provision for primary, school-going children, in the 2018/19 academic year.
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 05/04/2017
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the allocation of national school places for the Swords catchment area.

My Department is aware of the enrolment issues in the area referred to by the Deputy and is in ongoing direct contact with a number of the primary school in respect of their junior infant capacity.

As the Deputy may be aware, there are 13 primary schools in the area referred to of which 11 schools enrol junior infants: two of the schools are Senior Primary Schools catering for 3rd to 6th class only.

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has been advised by at least two of the primary schools that they have junior infant places currently available. A number of schools have also expressed a willingness to offer further junior infant places for September 2017, if necessary. My Department expect that the position will be further clarified when the schools concerned finalise their enrolments process in the coming weeks.

While I understand that the enrolment situation may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice, my Department’s main responsibility is to ensure that the existing schools in the area can, between them, cater for the demand for Junior Infant places in September 2017.