Wednesday, 2 March 2022
Department of Education and Skills
129. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a school (details supplied) is scheduled to open two classes for children with ASD and one special class but cannot do so due to uncertainty regarding its permanent building; if she has been in touch with the school regarding the matter; the steps that are being taken to address the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11818/22]
The permanent school building project for the school referred to by the Deputy has been assigned to the Department’s Design & Build delivery programme. The Design & Build programme uses a professional external Project Manager to progress the project through the relevant stages of architectural planning, tender and construction.
A pre-planning meeting with the Planning Department of the local authority was held to discuss the design proposals for the permanent school building project. These discussions will inform the plans for developing the planning application documentation. The next key milestone for the project will be the submission of the planning application. It is not possible to provide a timeframe for the progression of the project to tender and construction stages until such time as the necessary statutory approvals have been secured.
Regarding the school’s interim accommodation, the school will move from their current interim location to the educational campus at Notre Dame, Churchtown for September 2022. The school will have sufficient accommodation to cater for their mainstream requirements for September 2022 and 2023. As there will also be two other schools accommodated at this campus for September 2022, it will not be possible to provide accommodation for the establishment of an SEN class for September 2022.
My Department notes the school’s willingness to accommodate an SEN class and will give further consideration to the establishment of an SEN class for September 2023, if the accommodation allows for same. The school /patron body have been fully informed of this situation. My Department will continue to address the interim accommodation requirements for the school and will keep the patron body and the school community updated as the project progresses.