Seanad debates

Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

School Accommodation

10:00 am

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The Department has asked me to make the Senators aware of the reasons there are sometimes enrolment pressures in Ballinasloe. It is important to note that sometimes when these enrolment pressures arise, it may not be as a result of the lack of accommodation. The bus is a separate matter and I will certainly bring that particular case back to the attention of the Minister for Education, Deputy Foley. One of the factors could be the duplication of applications, namely, where pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area. It also could be because pupils cannot get a place in their preferred school of choice while there are other places in other schools in the town or the area. Another factor could be because some towns or areas have single sex schools and, while places are available in the school, they are not available to all pupils. Then there is also the external draw of pupils coming from outside the local area. Notwithstanding this, the Department will continue to keep the school-place-needs in Ballinasloe under close review. There are ongoing discussions with relevant school patrons and authorities which form part of the Department's assessment of school place requirements. That close engagement is absolutely critical for future planning, as the Senator has said. It is critical for planning now, but also into the future so that there is no child left without a place, whether that is a child with special needs or who is going into mainstream schools.


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