Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Education and Skills

School Patronage

Photo of Jennifer Carroll MacNeillJennifer Carroll MacNeill (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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109. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the maps used by her Department when carrying out the patronage process specifically in relation to an area (details supplied) will be updated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23543/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, the Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

In most areas, school planning areas were based on traditional school catchment areas where all primary schools were assigned to an area (typically a population centre or town), containing one or more post-primary schools. With the introduction of Small Areas in Census 2011, these areas were amended to align with Census Small Areas. The current school planning areas take account not only of local groupings of schools, but also of natural boundaries, Census Small Areas and other local conditions.

The school planning areas are used in the demographic exercise as a basis for the assessment of areas of growth and to inform recommendations on the establishment of any new schools required to accommodate oncoming demographics in that particular school planning area. There are no current plans to revise school planning areas.

In relation to the development referred to by the Deputy, I can confirm that this area is predominantly located in the Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR school planning area rather than the Dún Laoghaire school planning area or Booterstown_Blackrock school planning area. Only parents of eligible children that reside in the Dún Laoghaire or Booterstown_Blackrock school planning areas are eligible to submit a parental preference for schools being established in the Dún Laoghaire or Booterstown_Blackrock school planning areas.

An expression of a parental preference for patronage of a school is not an application for enrolment and does not confer any entitlement to a school place. Once the school has been established, parents may apply directly to the school in relation to their child’s enrolment.

New schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required to prioritise the enrolment of children from within the school planning area which the school was established to serve. It is important to note that this does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the school planning area, rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established. Where there are places available, applicants for enrolment should be admitted by the school (in accordance with any further prioritisation determined by the school).


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