Oral Questions – Education – Swords school places and the Caranua review

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Dáil Issues, Education, Oral Questions

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For Oral Answer on : 25/10/2017

Question Number(s): 60 Question Reference(s): 44810/17

Department: Education and Skills

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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the strategy his department is adopting to address the deficit of primary school places in west Swords; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

In order to plan for school provision, the demographic data for the Swords school planning area, as with other school planning areas nationwide, is being kept under ongoing review by my Department to take account of updated child benefit data and updated enrolment data.  It is anticipated that decisions based on these exercises will be announced before year end.

As the Deputy is aware, there are a total of 11 schools enrolling junior infant classes serving the Swords area, comprising 8 Catholic schools, one Gaelscoil, one Educate Together school and one Church of Ireland school. My Department is aware of the pressure on school places in recent years in the Swords school planning area. In that regard, my Department will be making contact with the patrons of the schools concerned in relation to the expected enrolment position in each school and with the aim of ensuring that there is adequate accommodation to cater for the demand for places in September 2018.

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For Oral Answer on : 25/10/2017

Question Number(s): 69 Question Reference(s): 44811/17

Department: Education and Skills

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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when the review of the criteria into Caranua will be completed; and when the results of that review will be made available to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

REPLY

The review that is currently under way is confined to the issue of eligibility to apply to Caranua for support. No other issues are being considered.

The Terms of Reference of the review of eligibility, a draft of which was published on my Department’s website earlier this year, provided for an initial phase involving a review of Caranua’s expenditure to date and an estimation of the projected expenditure taking into account applications on hand and anticipated further applications together with an estimation of any possible underspend of the available funding. This initial phase of the review is now at an advanced stage and I hope to receive a report thereon shortly.

If the findings of this initial phase indicate that an underspend of the €110 million in funding available to Caranua is likely, a consultation process would then be initiated with stakeholders about an expansion of the eligibility criteria, including identification of the groups that could be considered for inclusion in any expansion, and would seek to identify possible arrangements for verifying eligibility, resource implications and related issues. If the findings indicate that an underspend was unlikely, the review will conclude at that point. It should be noted also that any proposal to widen eligibility would require legislation.

It would be my intention to make public the results of the review.