To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for the provision of a new primary school for Swords in view of the fact the existing primary schools are at capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
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. My Department uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. The GIS uses data from a range of sources, including the Central Statistics Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and my Department's own databases. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises at primary and post-primary level to determine where additional school accommodation is needed.
Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, 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.
Nationwide demographic exercises involving all school planning areas, including the Swords school planning area, which will determine where additional school accommodation will be needed in the future is currently ongoing and this work is almost complete.
My Department has also recently contacted all of the primary schools in the Swords area to review their projected enrolments for September 2018. The schools concerned generally commenced their enrolment process for the new junior infants in early January of this year and this process is not yet complete. In that regard, the level of demand for all schools is not available at this point. Each school has issued invitations for enrolment through school notes and local announcements and are currently offering places in line with their respective enrolment policies. My Department will continue to liaise with the schools and their Patrons to keep the matter under review in the coming weeks with a view to putting any necessary arrangements in place to address any accommodation needs.
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