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Written Answers - School Enrolments

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 229.  Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the number of pupils that are expected to need school places in junior infants in September 2012 in Ashbourne, County Meath. [23982/12]

 230.  Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the number of junior infants classes expected to be needed to accommodate junior infants in September 2012 in Ashbourne, County Meath. [23983/12]

 231.  Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if there will be enough places in the various ethos based multi-denominational and non-denominational schools to cater for the needs and requirements of parents in Ashbourne, County Meath, for pupils starting school in September 2012; and the ratio of pupils expected to attend each school in the town. [23984/12]

 232.  Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the reason research was carried out among parents of prospective pupils in Ashbourne, County Meath, to ascertain their preference with regard to the ethos of schools in the town. [23985/12]

 233.  Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the reason the projected school enrolment needs for Ashbourne, County Meath over the next ten years. [23986/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 229 to 233, inclusive, together.

The need for additional school provision in Ashbourne was identified by analysis carried out by the Forward Planning Section of my Department, using enrolment data and demographic trends. My Department put in place an application and patron selection process for the establishment of new schools to cater for increasing demographics in Ashbourne.

Applications for patronage of the new schools were received from An Foras Patrúnachta and from Educate Together, both of whom are well established national patron bodies. Both patron bodies proposed to establish multi-denominational schools. Given that all existing schools in Ashbourne were Catholic in ethos, the provision of multi-denominational schools would increase diversity and parental choice in the area. Following consideration of these applications, approval was given for the commencement of a new Gaelscoil which opened in September 2011 and a new Educate Together School which will open in September 2012.

Prior to September 2011 there were three primary schools in Ashbourne town, all of which were under Catholic patronage. During 2010 and 2011 the Department had been examining the question of increasing the number of primary school places in Ashbourne to cater for the expected increase in enrolments. As part of that consideration the Department consulted with the patron of the three Catholic schools regarding extending the capacity of those schools. The patron indicated that, following local consultation in Ashbourne, the consensus was that the parish should not be involved in further primary school provision in the area.

[382]With the commencement of the two new primary schools in Ashbourne there will be capacity for at least seven junior infant classes across the five schools in Ashbourne for September 2012. Five of these junior infant classes will be provided in schools with a Catholic ethos and two will be provided in schools with a multi-denominational ethos. The two newer schools also have the potential to take a second class group of junior infants each if necessary. This additional capacity at junior infant level should be more than sufficient to meet the projected demand for places in Ashbourne based on the analysis of child benefit data for the area.


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