Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Education and Skills
87. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of secondary school places that were available for the 2021-2022 academic year in south County Kildare by school; the number predicated for the 2022-2023 academic year by school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59643/21]
88. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 340 of 23 November 2021, the number of meetings her Department has had with secondary school patrons on the provision of secondary school places in south County Kildare over the past two years; if such meetings have taken place in 2021 year given the lack of places available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59644/21]
89. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some parents are by-passing their nearest rural local primary school in favour of enrolling their children in larger urban centres given the lack of secondary school places in south County Kildare; her views on the way this will affect enrolment in these rural schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59645/21]
92. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the expected lead time for the opening of the proposed new secondary school for the Curragh, County Kildare subsequent to the site being finalised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59648/21]
93. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when she expects parents and children who have received letters stating that they have not received a place for the 2022-2023 academic year to receive a place given she has stated that talks are underway with school patrons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59649/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 87, 88, 89, 92 and 93 together.
My Department is aware of some local pressures and demand for additional post-primary school places in a number of school planning areas across the country including south Kildare.
However, it is important to note that where enrolment pressures arise, it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:
- Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area
- School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area
- Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school they are not available to all pupils
- External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area
My Department is working to establish the true extent of any capacity issues through ongoing discussions with the relevant school authorities. In that context, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, the Department is engaging with school patron bodies/school authorities to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions.
This engagement with Patrons/school authorities is ongoing and is focussed on ensuring that the start of the 2022/23 school year operates as smoothly as possible for all schools and their students.
Details relating to the number of secondary school places that were available for the 2021-2022 academic year in County Kildare by school is available on the website of each school. The schools website also provide details of each schools admission policy and the number of places available in the school for the 2022-23 academic year.
Department officials are currently in negotiation with a landowner in respect of the acquisition of a suitable site to facilitate the construction of a new school for the existing Curragh post primary school. The Department will continue to work closely with Officials from Kildare County Council with a view to progressing acquisition of the site. While a site acquisition process is underway, given the commercial sensitivities associated with land acquisitions generally, the Department is not in a position to comment further at this time. This matter is being given priority attention and my Department is attempting to bring the matter to a close as soon as possible.