Written answers

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Department of Education and Skills

School Facilities

Photo of Darren O'RourkeDarren O'Rourke (Meath East, Sinn Fein)
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129. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the way that she plans to increase community access to school and education facilities during and outside of school hours; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22646/22]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The policy of my Department is to support the use of school premises and facilities for community, recreational and education-related purposes. This includes the use of school facilities after school hours and during schools hours where the use will not impact on current or future education provision in the school.

In 2017 Guidance on the use of School Buildings outside of School Hours, which was developed in consultation with school authorities, was published. A copy of this Guidance is available on my Department's website.

Any decision to make school facilities available lies with the relevant Trustees/ Property owners having regard to the requirements of the school, staff and students.

In order to update and review these guidelines my Department has commenced a series of engagements with other government Departments and plans further consultations in the near future . This review process will seek to consult with relevant stakeholders, including representatives of schools and other government Departments which engage with the community and voluntary sectors.

Following these consultations my Department plans to undertake a review of the guidelines in Quarter 3 of 2022. The purpose of this review and consultation process is to identify measures which may further encourage schools to make their facilities available for community, recreational and educational uses.

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