Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 383-406
 Header Item DEIS Scheme
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item School Attendance
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staff
 Header Item Schools Amalgamation
 Header Item Scéim na nOibreacha Samhraidh
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Ministerial Communications
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Schools Site Acquisitions
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Schools Data
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item School Transport
 Header Item School Accommodation
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item School Enrolments
 Header Item School Enrolments

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1002 No. 7

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 383-406

DEIS Scheme

 383. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy Information on Francis Noel Duffy Zoom on Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the way the planned investment of €5 million in DEIS schools will be allocated in 2022; if additional resources including staffing will be provided to DEIS band one schools; her views on class size reductions in DEIS band 1 junior and vertical schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44251/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley I am pleased to advise the Deputy that under Budget 2021 I have announced a general reduction in the mainstream staffing schedule to 25:1. While there has been a reduction in mainstream class size in recent years, there has not been a corresponding reduction for those Urban Band 1 DEIS schools who are already allocated a preferential staffing schedule of 20:1 for schools catering for junior classes only and 24:1 for schools catering for senior classes only. Most DEIS Urban Band 1 schools operate vertical schools with a ratio of 22:1.

As an initial step in addressing this, I have focused on a reduction in the Senior DEIS Urban Band 1 primary schools and therefore there will be a one point reduction in their staffing schedule from 24:1 to 23:1.

The total Budget allocation of additional funding of €2million in 2021, with a full year allocation of €5million in 2022 provides for further supports to be allocated as part of the DEIS programme to those schools catering for the highest concentrations of educational disadvantage. My Department continues to support those schools most in need and I am considering options on how best to achieve this. I expect to be in a position to announce details of this imminently.

Schools Building Projects

 384. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy Information on Francis Noel Duffy Zoom on Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if her Department will ensure an early construction date in quarter 1 of 2021 for a permanent building for a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44252/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The tender process which is currently underway for eight major school building projects, including the school referred to by the Deputy, will establish a framework of Design & Build Contractors.

The first phase of the tender process to create a shortlist of contractors is complete. The second phase of the tender process is ongoing and is due to be completed in Quarter 1 of 2021 with the award of contracts for the eight schools. The schools will commence on site as soon as possible following the award of contracts.

School Enrolments

 385. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if she plans to increase the number of students at a college (details supplied) that will be permitted to be admitted into first year in September 2021 to accommodate all students in the catchment area who wish to attend it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44330/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley My Department is aware of increasing pressures and demand for additional post-primary school places in a number of school planning areas for the 2021/2022 school year, including the school planning area to which the Deputy refers.

  Where capacity issues arise it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:

  - Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area

  - School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area

  - Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school they are not available to all pupils

  - External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area

  Until these issues are discussed with the relevant school authorities, the true extent of any capacity issue will only become known.

  Similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including patrons in the school planning area in question, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action.

School Attendance

 386. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if schools have been directed to record non-Covid-19-related absenteeism in school children, for example, having a seasonal bug as Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44333/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 requires the reporting of pupil absenteeism in certain circumstances to Tusla Education Support Service (TESS). The act requires the principal of a recognised school to maintain records of the attendance or non-attendance on each school day of each pupil registered at that school. There has been no change to these requirements.

In responding to referrals made while we are impacted by Covid-19 - TESS will take into account the requirement for pupils who feel unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have been informed to self-isolate or restrict their movements and not to attend school. The same will apply for pupils who may be absent from school due to other genuine illnesses unrelated to COVID-19

Special Educational Needs Staff

 387. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the reason special needs assistants only get three days of compassionate leave when a parent or other close relatives dies and other staff such a teachers get five days; her plans to address this inequality; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44340/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley My Department’s Circular Letter 32/2010 caters for Brief Absences, including Bereavement Leave for Special Need Assistants (SNAs) employed in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools. In relation to Bereavement Leave, paragraph 2 of this Circular states:- 

  ‘Special leave with pay is allowed to an SNA in the event of the bereavement of a family member.

(a) 5 consecutive days (including weekends)   in the case of a spouse, partner, child, or a person to whom the SNA is in loco parentis.

(b) 3 consecutive days (including weekends)   in the case of a parent, brother, sister, parent-in-law, step-parent, grandparent or a person who resides with the SNA in a relationship of domestic dependency.

  Should the death occur after school hours the special leave commences from the following day. Should the death occur at the weekend, for example, a Saturday, the special leave commences from the day directly following the death i.e. Sunday.’

  A Union has submitted a claim on behalf of SNA members for increased Bereavement Leave entitlement which is currently under consideration.

Schools Amalgamation

 388. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if adequate provision has been made for classroom accommodation and outdoor recreational spaces in the proposed project to amalgamate schools in Ennistymon, County Clare, in order that the current and future needs of pupils can be met; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44345/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley My Department Building Unit is satisfied that the proposed new school for Ennistymon, Co Clare is designed to provide adequate classroom accommodation and outdoor recreational spaces to cater for the long terms needs of the Ennistymon area.

  The project is currently at tender stage and subject to no issues arising it is envisaged that construction should commence in Quarter 2 of 2021.

Scéim na nOibreacha Samhraidh

 389. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Oideachais Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley an bhfuil aon deontas nó cúnamh ar fáil ón a Roinn le láthair súgartha riachtanach a fhorbairt ag scoil (sonraí tugtha), go mór do na scoláirí atá faoi mhíchumas, is scoil a bhfuil leathnú mór agus feabhas á chur uirthi; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44361/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley Is mian liom a chur in iúl don Teachta go bhfuil an Scéim Oibreacha Samhraidh deartha chun ligean do scoileanna, ar bhonn maoinithe cineachta, oibreacha feabhsúcháin agus athchóirithe riachtanacha a dhéanamh a dhéanfaidh uasghrádú ar áiseanna scoile atá ann cheana lena n-áirítear áiteanna súgartha. Tá sé de chead chomh maith ag scoileanna a ndeontas mionoibreacha a úsáid chun obair fhorbartha a dhéanamh ar a gcuid áiseanna clós súgartha. Tá saoirse ag an scoil i dtrácht iarratas a dhéanamh ar mhaoiniú don tionscadal seo faoin Scéim thuas an chéad uair eile a osclófar í d’iarratais.

Schools Building Projects

 390. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the status of the planned building project for a school (details supplied) in County Laois; and the projected timescale for construction of the new building to start. [44366/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

At the recent Stage 2(a) Stakeholders meeting my Department requested an Addendum report to the Stage 2a Submission. Once this Report is submitted it will be reviewed by my Department and a decision will be made regarding the approval to progress to Stage 2(b). Stage 2 (b) is the Detailed Design Stage, which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents.

Schools Building Projects

 391. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if she has assessed the need for a new building for a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44367/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley As the Deputy will be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level. I can confirm that my Department has received an application for major capital works from the school referred to by the Deputy and that this application can only be considered in this context.

  Under project Ireland 2040, my Department continues to make progress to increase the infrastructural capacity in the schools sector, in order to meet demographic and other demands.

The Capital Programme details the school projects that are being progressed under Project Ireland 2040. I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale projects being delivered under project Ireland 2040 may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie   and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.   

  The Capital Programme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified, or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie and this information is also updated regularly. The school in question has been advised that they are eligible to apply under the Additional School Accommodation (ASA) scheme if staffing increases at the school in the future.

Ministerial Communications

 392. Deputy Paul Donnelly Information on Paul Donnelly Zoom on Paul Donnelly asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the EU counterparts she has spoken to formally since her appointment in tabular form. [44410/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley Due to the restrictions on travel arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, it has not been possible for me to travel to attend EU Council meetings, as would normally be the case.

  However, I can confirm to the Deputy that I had a videoconference with my colleague, the Swedish Minister for Education, Anna Ekström, on 28th October 2020.

School Enrolments

 393. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if the number of school places will be increased in a school (details supplied) to ensure there is adequate school places for children who wish to attend. [44428/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The school to which the Deputy refers is currently in interim accommodation on an interim site pending delivery of its intended interim accommodation on its permanent site in the Dublin 13 area. Work has commenced on this interim accommodation on the permanent site and it is anticipated that this accommodation will be available for occupation by the school shortly.

In addition to the interim accommodation for the post-primary school that site which currently facilitates interim accommodation for a primary school will also accommodate the future construction of the permanent building for the post-primary school. In that regard, there are restrictions on the amount of temporary accommodation that can be placed on the permanent site. Therefore, the Department has informed the school and it’s Patron Body that it will not be possible for the school to increase its enrolment intake beyond the current intake level (which is up to 48 pupils at 1st year intake) for the 2021/2022 academic year.

Schools Building Projects

 394. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the status of the new building project to be delivered for a school (details supplied). [44429/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

  This project is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2(b) - Detailed Design, which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

  The Stage 2(b) report has been submitted for review to my Department.

  In order to expedite the progression of this major building project, my Department recently authorised Dublin Dún Laoghaire Educational and Training Board (DDLETB), and its' Design Team to commence the pre-qualification process to select a shortlist of contractors while the Department is reviewing the Stage 2(b) report.   

  Upon review of Stage 2(b) report and completion of the pre-qualification process, my Department will be in contact with DDLETB with regard to the further progression of this project.

Schools Building Projects

 395. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the status of the new building project for a school (details supplied). [44430/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The Deputy will be aware that a building project for the school in question is included in my Department's school building programme.

  It is my Department's intention to engage further with the patron regarding the proposed project.

Schools Site Acquisitions

 396. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the progress made on the acquisition of a permanent site for a school (details supplied), which is now 18 years in existence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44436/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley As the Deputy is aware the building project for the school in question is included in my Department's Capital Programme.

Officials in my Department have been working towards the acquisition of a permanent site to meet the needs of the school to which the Deputy refers and have engaged with officials in the relevant Local Authority in that respect.

A number of potential site options have been identified and investigated. Unfortunately in the case of most of the options identified, either the land could not be acquired from the landowner or the site was ultimately considered unfeasible to develop. However, a couple preferred site options have been identified in conjunction with officials from the relevant Local Authority and are currently being pursued by my Department

I can assure the Deputy that the acquisition of a suitable site for the school is very active on the programme of site acquisitions and every effort is being made to secure a suitable site for the school as expeditiously as possible.

Schools Building Projects

 397. Deputy Paul Donnelly Information on Paul Donnelly Zoom on Paul Donnelly asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the provisions put in place to progress the building of schools in the Dublin 15 area to meet the demand for school places for the 2021 term. [44456/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale building projects and Additional Accommodation Projects being delivered, including projects in Dublin 15, may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly.

  My Department is aware of increasing pressures and demand for additional school places in a number of school planning areas including the school planning area to which the Deputy refers.

  Where capacity issues arise, it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:

  - Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area

  - School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area

  - Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school they are not available to all pupils

  - External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area

  Until these issues are discussed with the relevant school authorities the true extent of any capacity issue will only become known.

  Similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including those in the school planning area in question, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action.

Schools Building Projects

 398. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley when a planned building project (details supplied) will proceed to the next stage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44471/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley I can confirm to the Deputy, that my Department is in receipt of an application under the Additional School Accommodation Scheme, from the school in question. Once the application process has been completed, the school authority will be contacted directly with a decision.

Schools Data

 399. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the number of students currently in sixth class in schools (details supplied); if there are sufficient numbers of places in secondary places in the schools; the area to accommodate them; if there is a shortfall; her plans to ensure their needs are met; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44481/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley Details of enrolments in primary and post primary schools for the academic year 2019/2020, which is the most recent available data, can be found on the Department's website at the link below;

 https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/Data-on-Individual-Schools/

  Provisional data for the academic year 2020/2021 will be available in January 2021.

  My Department is aware of increasing pressures and demand for additional post-primary school places in a number of school planning areas including the school planning area in which this school is located.

  Where capacity issues arise, it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:

  - Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area.

  - School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area.

  - Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school they are not available to all pupils

  - External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area.

  Until these issues are discussed with the relevant school authorities the true extent of any capacity issue will only become known.

  Similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including those in your concerned area, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action.

Schools Building Projects

 400. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley when a building project application by a school (details supplied) will proceed to the next stage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44485/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is committed to providing a permanent accommodation solution for the school referred to.

  In this regard, a suitable site in Castleblayney to accommodate the permanent school building has been identified. The acquisition of this site has progressed well in recent weeks and is at a very advanced stage of conveyancing.

  Once this acquisition process is complete, the project for the provision of a new permanent building will be progressed into the architectural planning process without delay.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 401. Deputy Réada Cronin Information on Réada Cronin Zoom on Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the plans in place to guarantee remote access to education for children with high-risk relatives in terms of Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44500/20]

 410. Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh Information on Marc Ó Cathasaigh Zoom on Marc Ó Cathasaigh asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if remote blended learning will be considered for students who have family members who are immunocompromised and therefore at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44556/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley I propose to take Questions Nos. 401 and 410 together.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic the Government has identified as an objective that all students should return to education as normal to the fullest extent possible, while minimising the risks from a public health perspective. Schools have put significant measures in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus being transmitted to/within the school and significant funding has been provided to support schools in this respect.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has issued specific advice about children attending school in the context of covid-19. This advice covers both children with underlying medical conditions and children living with family members with underlying conditions. For all children, care should continue to be taken to reduce transmission through the measures promoted by HPSC.

The advice outlines the view of public health that given current knowledge about COVID-19 disease in children, it is difficult to justify cocooning in most children with underlying conditions. Long-term cocooning of children with complex medical needs is likely to adversely affect them and may outweigh the potential risk of infection.

The HPSC advice goes on to advise that children with immediate family members, including parents, in both the ‘high risk’ and ‘very high risk’ categories can return to school and it is important for the child’s overall well-being. This is consistent with public health advice internationally in relation to at-risk family members. The priority is that the household continues to follow all current advice on how to minimise the risk of coronavirus, through regular hand washing, etc.

My Department has also developed and prepared a comprehensive response to supporting the wellbeing of school communities at this time. The National Educational Psychological Service will work with schools to support them to meet the needs of their pupils on their return to school.

School Transport

 402. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if school bus capacity will be increased without further delay in light of the large number of students unable to access transport at present due to a much reduced capacity in the 2020-21 school year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44510/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €219m in 2019.

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.

All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year where such services are in operation. The closing date for payment for the 2020/2021 school year was Tuesday 4th August 2020.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann allocates tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.

Following updated health advice from NPHET on 18th August, which was that post-primary services are required to operate using 50% of passenger capacity, Government has agreed to provide the necessary funding to ensure that full implementation of this public health recommendation is achieved as quickly as possible on all post-primary services. As the additional capacity is rolled out, where spare capacity is created, further tickets will be allocated to those children eligible for the scheme who have paid late and for other applicants seeking concessionary tickets.

School Accommodation

 403. Deputy Matt Carthy Information on Matt Carthy Zoom on Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley the timeframe for the completion of an extension at a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44511/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley The Deputy will be aware that the project to which he refers has been devolved for delivery to the school under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme 2018.

I wish to clarify for the Deputy that my Department received a stage report from the school in question to allow this project to go to Tender. This report is currently being assessed and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority as soon as the assessment process has been completed.

School Enrolments

 404. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if a recent study has been conducted on demand and availability of secondary school places in an area (details supplied); if so, the projections from the research; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44520/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley As the Deputy may be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, utilising data from a range of sources including information on planned and current residential development, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. Wexford Town is situated in the Wexford school planning area.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each local authority to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. My Department then makes an assessment of the existing capacity within the particular area and its ability to meet increased demand.

Where data indicates that additional provision is required at primary or post primary level, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

The requirement for additional school places is kept under on-going review and work on an updated exercise to assess needs for the coming years, including those which may arise in the Wexford school planning area, is at an advanced stage.

Separately, Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) and Educate Together have recently formalised an agreement which will see the two bodies working in partnership in relation to the future development and running of Selskar College, a post-primary school in Wexford Town. The architectural planning process to construct a new 1,000 pupil school has commenced and the project has been devolved to WWETB for delivery.

Furthermore, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including those in County Wexford, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action.

In addition to these ongoing exercises, my Department continues to liaise with Wexford County Council in respect of potential longer-term requirements for educational provision in all areas of Wexford. My Department engages further on such matters with the Council through the review of the County Development Plan, preparation of Local Area Plans and other relevant statutory planning processes.

School Enrolments

 405. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if there has been a recent study conducted on demand and availability of secondary school places in an area (details supplied); if so, the projections from the research; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44523/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley As the Deputy may be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, utilising data from a range of sources including information on planned and current residential development, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. Gorey is situated in the Gorey school planning area.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each local authority to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. My Department then makes an assessment of the existing capacity within the particular area and its ability to meet increased demand.

Where data indicates that additional provision is required at primary or post primary level, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy will be aware, a new 500 pupil post-primary school has been announced for Gorey to be established in 2021. The patronage process in this regard is currently at an advanced stage and my Department is working to put an appropriate accommodation solution in place for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Furthermore, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including those in County Wexford, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action.

In addition to this ongoing work, my Department continues to liaise with Wexford County Council in respect of potential longer-term requirements for educational provision in all areas of Wexford. My Department engages further on such matters with the Council through the review of the County Development Plan, preparation of Local Area Plans and other relevant statutory planning processes.

School Enrolments

 406. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley if there has been a recent study conducted on demand and availability of secondary school places in an area (details supplied); if so, the projections from the research; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44525/20]

Minister for Education (Deputy Norma Foley): Information on Norma Foley Zoom on Norma Foley As the Deputy may be aware, in order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, utilising data from a range of sources including information on planned and current residential development, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. New Ross is situated in the New Ross school planning area.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each local authority to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. My Department then makes an assessment of the existing capacity within the particular area and its ability to meet increased demand.

Where data indicates that additional provision is required at primary or post primary level, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

The requirement for additional school places is kept under on-going review and work on an updated exercise to assess needs for the coming years, including those which may arise in the New Ross school planning area, is at an advanced stage.

Furthermore, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including those in County Wexford, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action.

In addition to these ongoing exercises, my Department continues to liaise with Wexford County Council in respect of potential longer-term requirements for educational provision in all areas of Wexford. My Department engages further on such matters with the Council through the review of the County Development Plan, preparation of Local Area Plans and other relevant statutory planning processes.


Last Updated: 07/04/2021 17:02:38 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page