To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the severe shortage of secondary school places in Rush, County Dublin in which over 100 students are on a waiting list for St Joseph’s Secondary School Rush; the steps he is taking to resolve the issue; 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.
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 of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. This is necessary to ensure that schools infrastructure planning is keeping pace with demographic changes as there is a constantly evolving picture with planned new residential development.
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:
As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018 the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for the area referred to by the Deputy, 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. A new 1,000 pupil post-primary school was established in 2013 to serve the Rush & Lusk school planning area and had an enrolment of some 650 pupils in 2018/19.
As the Deputy will be aware, a building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s capital programme to be delivered as part of the National Development Plan (NDP). A site is being acquired by my Department for this purpose. In the meantime, my Department recently approved temporary accommodation for the school to meet its interim accommodation needs.
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.
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.