To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the measures he is taking to resolve the shortage of primary school places in Skerries, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
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.
The Government announced in April 2018, plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the four year period 2019 to 2022, including 5 new primary schools and 3 new post-primary schools in the North County Dublin/Fingal area. In addition, 4 new primary and 7 new post-primary schools were established in recent years in the area.
The requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.
My Department is aware of the enrolment issues in the Skerries area for 2020. In this context, my Department has been in direct contact with the Patron of Skerries Community College in respect of the capacity in the school. Skerries Community College has expressed a willingness to increase its long-term projected enrolment to 1,000 pupils. As a result a permanent extension consisting of 3 general classrooms, 3 SET/Offices, Science Laboratory and prep area, Art room and toilets has been approved by my Department.
Pending the delivery of the permanent extension my Department has also approved interim temporary accommodation consisting of 3 mainstream classrooms with toilets along with the converting an existing space to create a Science laboratory. This accommodation will be in place for September 2020.