Schools Announcements

I questioned the Minister for Education and the status of a number of new schools announced in Dublin 15 and Dublin 7. There is much confusion locally as to what is proposed

The newly opened Second Level School under the Patronage of ERST has still to be allocated a site agreed by the Department of Education leaving parents of prospective pupils perplexed as to where there children will attend school when a permanent school site is secured.

In addition to these delays the School Summer Works programme is over subscribed and it is evident that the prioritising of these works has dropped further down the Minister’s agenda

Please find below the replies to questions I asked the Minister for Education this week:

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when a school (details supplied) will be inaugurated; the process for the selection of a school patron and a permanent site for the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) in respect of the new school that has been proposed by his Department as a Regional Solution for the Blanchardstown West and Blanchardstown Village School Planning areas,

REPLY

As the Deputy is aware, I announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 800 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Blanchardstown_West_D15 & BlanchardstownVge_D15 school planning areas as a regional solution. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

Following on from the announcement, the locations for all of the schools will be determined as part of the site acquisition process.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required.  This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons.  Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).  Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision.  The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department’s website.

An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) is currently being developed by my Department 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. Parental preferences are currently collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

 

 

 

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For Written Answer on : 08/05/2018

Question Number(s): 155 Question Reference(s): 19763/18

Department: Education and Skills

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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the proposed new schools in west County Dublin in the new school building programme; the rationale underlining his plan in respect of demographic projections, future population growth and patronage mix; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

As the Deputy is aware, I recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including the following schools for the West County Dublin area:

8 classroom primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Newcastle_Rathcoole school planning area

8 classroom primary school to be established in 2021 to serve the Clondalkin_D22 school planning area

1,000 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Tallaght & Newcastle_Rathcoole school planning areas as a regional solution

800 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Blanchardstown_West_D15 and BlanchardstownVge_D15 school planning areas as a regional solution

This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future.  Based on the current analysis, this need can be addressed through either planned capacity increases in existing schools or additional accommodation or extensions to existing schools.

I have highlighted that the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular would have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required.  This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons.  Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).  Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision.  The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department’s website.

An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) is currently being developed by my Department 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. Parental preferences are currently collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

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For Written Answer on : 08/05/2018

Question Number(s): 156 Question Reference(s): 19764/18

Department: Education and Skills

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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of new schools at primary and second level to be established in respect of the Cabra/Phibsborough Dublin 7 school planning areas; the number of proposed school refurbishments; the number of proposed school amalgamations in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

As the Deputy is aware, I announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

While the announcement did not include a new school for the Cabra_Phibsboro_D7 school planning area, a new 8 classroom primary school and a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school were announced to open in 2019 and 2022 respectively in the adjacent Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1 school planning area. In addition, a new 16 classroom primary school (Broombridge Educate Together National School) was established in 2016 to serve the Cabra_Phibsboro_D7 school planning area. As part of the demographic exercises, it was established that there is significant existing capacity at post-primary level in this school planning area.

The current status of all building projects, including those referred to by the Minister may be viewed on my Department’s website www.education.ie – Schools & Colleges – Building Works.  My Department is not aware of any proposed amalgamations in the area referred to by the Deputy.

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For Written Answer on : 08/05/2018

Question Number(s): 180 Question Reference(s): 20161/18

Department: Education and Skills

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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the provision that has been made to budget for new applications to the school summer works scheme during 2018; if his attention has been drawn to concerns that there are no funds allocated for new applications for summer works; the number of applications for refurbishment that are outstanding by school; the cost of these works; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The Summer Works Scheme is designed to allow schools to carry out small and medium scale building works that will improve and upgrade existing school buildings. This scheme is additional to other capital funding schemes that are operated by the Department such as the additional accommodation scheme, Emergency Works scheme i.e. for projects of such urgency that they would prevent some or all of the school from opening, and Minor Works schemes.

The Summer Works Scheme (SWS) is a multi-annual Scheme.  Over 1,650 schools, nearly 50% of schools, applied for inclusion under the current round of the scheme which reflects a very high demand.

Over 700 applications in Categories 7-10, at a cost of just over €52 million have not been reached to date. However, almost €80 million has been approved under the current round of the Scheme, in respect of 635 school projects, 464 primary and 171 post-primary schools,  for Gas, electrical upgrades, mechanical, sanitation and roof improvement works..  Details of the successful school applicants, are published on the Department’s website www.education.ie.

In relation to the Summer Works Scheme 2018, over €25 million will be spent on summer works projects in 2018.  This expenditure will enable the remaining approved improvement works for 178 schools nationwide to be completed. These works will be carried out by the schools themselves on a devolved basis mainly over the summer months, so the disruption to students, teachers and other school staff will be kept to a minimum.

Furthermore, the Department intends to engage with the relevant education partners in relation to giving schools a better lead-in period for planning and delivering projects under the summer works scheme from 2019 onwards.  While the Summer Works Scheme is hugely successful in enabling small scale refurbishment works to be done on a devolved basis, the Department considers that the operation of the scheme could be improved by providing a better lead-in period for schools rather than in Quarter 2 as in previous years.   This will also help ensure that works done under the Summer Works Scheme fit better with any wider refurbishment/energy retrofit plans that may be done at schools under the increased funding provided in the National Development Plan. The engagement with education partners will commence shortly and will assist in developing a better timeline for the planning and delivery of summer works projects for 2019 onwards.