Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Education and Skills

School Enrolments

Photo of Steven MatthewsSteven Matthews (Wicklow, Green Party)
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278. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the case of eight students in Greystones, County Wicklow who do not have a school place for the coming school year; the actions she will take to follow through on her Department's commitment to provide school places for them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28704/24]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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I can assure the Deputy that the provision of school places to meet the needs of children and young people at primary and post primary level, including children and young people with special educational needs is an absolute priority for the Department.

The Department is aware of pressures for school places for the 2024/25 school year in Greystones.

Following consultation with Patrons in the Greystones school planning area, Greystones Community College has increased their first-year intake (as advised on their Admissions Notice for 2024/25) by an additional three class groups. The school, its Board of Management and Kildare and Wicklow ETB are making this additional provision in recognition of the best interests of the community in Greystones and this is very much welcomed by the Department. My Department’s responsibility is to ensure that all schools in an area can, between them, meet the school place needs and there are, in total, as many first year places as sixth class children leaving primary schools in Greystones School Planning Area.

The situation with respect to the filling of the places at schools is an evolving one, as places are offered and accepted and refused, and this process is managed directly by the school authority. It is important to note that there can often be significant overlap across areas and schools and the nature of the admissions processes is quite complex. As a result, there can be multiple iterations, where applicants may accept a place but subsequently be offered and accept a place at a second school, freeing up capacity at the first school accepted. In that context, is may take some time for the full impact of the additional provision at Greystones Community College to take effect.

The Educational Welfare Services (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is the statutory agency that can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The local service is delivered through the national network of Educational Welfare Officers (EWO). Contact details are available at

Planning for 2025/26 first year place needs in Greystones has already commenced, including direct engagement with patrons. Furthermore, and as part of its forward planning, the Department has also requested all of the patrons in Greystones and Kilcoole to consider how the admissions process for their schools could be improved for the 2025/26 first year intake. The Department has offered its support in this regard.

Department officials will continue to actively engage with schools and patrons to ensure that there is appropriate provision for all students in Greystones into the future, including through the progression of relevant school building projects. With respect to Greystones Community College, following on from the recent issue of the letter of acceptance to the successful contractor, the Department continues to work to advance the new school building project to enable construction to commence as soon as possible. This project will deliver a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school and accommodation for children with special educational needs. My Department will also continue to engage with KWETB to ensure that the school’s accommodation needs will continue to be met pending the completion of the new school, particularly in the context of the increased enrolment.

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