In April 2018, it was announced that there would be a new 800 secondary school to serve the Blanchardstown West and Blanchardstown Village school planning areas. I recently questioned the Minister for Education on whether a site for this new school had been identified and what proposals he had in relation to the patronage of the new school.
The Minister informed me that the patronage process will be open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons, and that parental preferences will be key to decisions in relation to choosing a patron. An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by the Department for Education to provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice about their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education.
The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). Following their consideration of the Department for Education’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with commendations to the Minister for Education for consideration and final decision. The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all patronage processes are made available on the Department for Education website (www.education.ie).
The patronage process for the new secondary school in Blanchardstown will commence in 2019. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website and on the Department for Education website.
The Minister also informed me that his Department has identified potential locations for the school and is currently working on an assessment of these. Unfortunately, the Minister would not give an indicative timeline for the new school to be built. He said that the next step was to determine the location and once this was done, the process will advance to the architectural planning stage.