Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Department of Education and Science
Question 1207: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if he has made available his area based analysis and forecasts for future school place demand as identified through his new geographic information system in order to allow the elected members of all local authorities to properly consider school planning needs as part of the planning system and particularly when a local authority is preparing a new development plan or a local area plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33597/09]
The Forward Planning Section of my Department has carried out a study of the country to identify the areas where, due to demographic changes, there may be a requirement for significant additional school provision at both primary and post-primary levels over the coming years. This study has been conducted using data from the Central Statistics Office, the General Register Office and the Department of Social & Family Affairs in addition to recent schools' enrolment data.
The study indicates that the requirement for additional primary provision in years 2010, 2011 and 2012 is likely to be greatest in more than 40 selected locations across the country based on significant changes to the demographics of those areas. This information has been circulated to all existing school Patrons who have been invited to bring forward proposals for the expansion of existing schools or indeed to put themselves forward as Patron for any new primary school, should it be required. The requirement for the establishment of new schools will of course be lessened where it is possible to expand and extend existing schools in those areas.
The Forward Planning Section is in the process of carrying out an analysis of each of these locations in order to identify the school accommodation requirements up to and including the school year 2014/2015.
When the required reports have been completed for these initial areas selected the Forward Planning Section will continue to work on preparing reports on a priority basis for the remainder of the country.
As a matter of course, there is ongoing close liaison between my Department and local authorities to establish the location, scale and pace of any proposed major housing developments and their possible implications for school provision.