Thursday, 6 July 2017
Department of Education and Skills
School Accommodation Provision
44. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the ability of his Department to meet the full requirements in terms of new school buildings and the upgrading of facilities at existing news at primary and second level in all areas throughout the country with particular reference to demographic pressure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31752/17]
I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas. The GIS uses data from a range of sources, including the Central Statistics Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and my Department's own databases. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises at primary and post-primary level to determine where additional school accommodation is needed. My Department is currently in the process of completing demographic exercises nationwide. This process is detailed and rigorous and will take some time to complete. It is anticipated that decisions based on these exercises will be announced later in 2017.
My Department's 6 Year Capital Programme prioritises building projects for areas where significant additional school places are required. 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.