Written answers

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Department of Education and Skills

Schools Building Projects

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

113. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her strategy to ensure that all new school buildings meet universal design principles; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23661/22]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I wish to assure the Deputy that the provision of modern, accessible school accommodation is a priority for my Department. This is in two respects: firstly in ensuring that there is sufficient provision for pupils with special education needs and secondly in designing school accommodation that meets the needs of all users - students and staff - and enhances the learning experience.

In addition to the specific accommodation provision for students with special education needs, the principles of universal design are embedded in all of my Department's technical guidance for school building projects, for the benefit of all school building users. The General Design Guidelines includes guidance on the principles of Universal Access as part of a whole school design approach.

Further to this, updated technical guidance on Post Primary School Design, Specialist Accommodation for Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Sanitary Facilities were published 2021. A suite of such Technical Guidance Documents is published on my Department's website at www.gov.ie. Such guidance draws on feedback from school authorities and reviews of a sample of completed projects. These practical and helpful guides provide very clear guidelines and approaches to be taken by school authorities in re-purposing/refurbishing existing accommodation for special education needs provisions, as well the establishing new classrooms of varying sizes.

Under Project Ireland 2040, the education sector will receive a total of approximately €4.4 billion capital investment over the period 2021-2025. This significant investment allows us to move forward with certainty on our ambitious plans and deliver high quality building projects, with a real focus on sustainability, for school communities across Ireland.

This investment will build on the good progress being made on adding capacity to cater for demographic changes and provision for children with special educational needs. This investment will also facilitate an increased focus on the modernisation of existing school stock and help transition the school system for an era of net zero carbon by 2050.

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context

114. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the steps that she is taking to deliver on her capital building programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22471/22]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Under Project Ireland 2040, the education sector will receive a total of approximately €4.4 billion capital investment over the period 2021-2025. This significant investment allows us to move forward with certainty on our ambitious plans and deliver high quality building projects, with a real focus on sustainability, for school communities across Ireland.

The key drivers of capital investment in the schools sector are as follows:

- demographic change,

- alignment with housing provision and national planning at school planning area level,

- construction costs,

- catch-up to address legacy of underinvestment; and

- climate action objectives including deep energy retrofit.

This investment will build on the good progress being made on adding capacity to cater for demographic changes and provision for children with special educational needs. This investment will also facilitate an increased focus on the modernisation of existing school stock and help transition the school system for an era of net zero carbon by 2050.

My Department has a large pipeline of projects for delivery under the school building programme. The main elements of this pipeline currently involve in excess of 1,300 school building projects for delivery under the Department’s Large Scale and Additional Accommodation Scheme. These projects are currently in progress across the various stages of planning, design, tender and construction. Most of which are expected to be either under construction or completed in the period up to 2025 and are being progressed as quickly as possible.

There are currently in excess of 250 school building projects at construction (on site) with a continuous stream of other projects at or near the tendering stage.

It is anticipated that 150 to 200 school building projects will be completed annually during the 2022 to 2025 period.

During the period 2018 to 2021 691 school building projects were completed under the Large Scale Capital Programme (LSCP) and the Additional School Accommodation Scheme (ASA). These projects delivered in excess of 64,000 school places.

Comments

No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.