Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Education and Skills

School Accommodation

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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213. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an additional accommodation scheme application lodged by a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13515/24]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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I can confirm to the Deputy that the school in question was approved funding under My Departments Additional Schools Accommodation (ASA) Scheme to provide a 1 classroom special educational needs base.

The project was devolved to the school authority for delivery, and they have recently submitted the stage 2b report (pre-tender report) for review.

Once this report has been reviewed, Department officials will be in contact with the school authority on the next steps to progress this important project.

My department has a strong track record of delivery of school building projects involving circa. 300 projects currently at construction including 34 new school buildings and over 800 projects completed since 2020 notwithstanding the wider construction sector environment of high inflation, labour shortages and supply chain issues. We continue to have a strong pipeline of projects for delivery under the school building programme. My department has an overall pipeline of some 1300 projects across the school system. The current status of all projects is listed on a county-by-county basis at www.gov.ie. And this is updated on a regular basis to reflect project progress through the various stages of capital appraisal, site acquisition, design, tender and construction. Under Project Ireland 2040, we are investing over €5 billion during the period 2021 to 2025, to add capacity and develop and upgrade school facilities across the country for the almost one million students and over 100,000 staff that learn and work in our schools every day.

Last year, my department received supplementary funding to help alleviate funding pressures which was reflective of my department’s strong delivery of school building projects particularly to support mainstream provision accommodating Ukrainian students and special education needs provision. My department also have a large modular accommodation programme delivering urgently needed school places. The Department has always operated a tightly prioritised approach to the school building programme, focused over recent years on the delivery of additional capacity where required, and this will continue to be the case. My department is committed to ensuring appropriate accommodation is available for the pupils in Midleton Educate Together National School and will in the wider context outlined, ensure that Midleton Educate Together National School’s project - as for all projects on our school building programme - is subject to the due diligence required under the public Infrastructure Guidelines. It is a challenging construction environment across all sectors (Education, Housing, Transport etc.) and my department is also required to manage the timing, scope and cost of individual projects to remain within budgetary parameters for the overall programme – this involves constant review throughout the project life cycle.


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