3,200 additional post-primary places to be provided
The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D., today announced the patronage of the four new post-primary schools to be established in 2019. In all cases, the Minister accepted the recommendations of the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). These schools were announced in April 2018 to serve a number of locations nationwide under increased demographic pressures.
Minister McHugh said “The establishment of these new schools forms an essential part of plans to ensure that sufficient new school places are available to cater for the growing cohort of pupils at post-primary level over the coming years. Additional places will also continue to be provided by extending existing provision, as included in the Six Year Programme of Capital Investment in Schools 2016-2021.”
The Minister added that, “Parental preference has become a key determinant in deciding the patronage of new schools and I’m pleased to say that the views of parents as expressed through the process are strongly reflected in the decisions I have made on the patronage of these four new schools.”
Patronage of the new four schools in Donaghmede_Howth_D13, Wicklow, Galway City & Oranmore (Regional Solution) and Laytown & Drogheda (Regional Solution) has been awarded to Educate Together.
In relation to the new schools announced, the current focus for the Department is to prioritise the schools due to be established in 2019 so that accommodation solutions are put in place as soon as possible. The Department has appointed a Project Manager to assist with this work and potential interim accommodation options have been identified for the majority of the schools, which includes the four post-primary schools. It is expected that the schools will be established in September 2019 in suitable interim accommodation pending delivery of permanent school buildings.
These new schools will provide significant additional pupil places in the areas they will serve and between them will have capacity to cater for up to 3,200 additional post-primary pupils when fully developed.
The Minister stated that in making his decisions he was particularly conscious of the clear parental demand for diversity of provision in all of the areas where the new schools are being established. In this regard, the Minister wished to thank parents for engaging with the process. All applications were assessed on the basis of published criteria, including the extent of diversity in existing schools and the scale of diversity to be provided by the new school or schools.
The process has evolved to incorporate the language of instruction of a proposed new school as part of the assessment process. This makes parental preference for English or Irish-medium instruction an integral part of the patronage assessment and recommendation process.
In addition to the four post-primary schools, there are also thirteen primary schools due to be established in 2019. With regard to the primary school to serve the Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1 school planning area due to be established in 2019, the NSEG has advised that a new patronage process is not required in this specific case and recommends that the new school to be established in 2019 to serve the Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1 school planning area should be a Gaelscoil under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta.
Dúirt an tAire, “ Tá mé an-sásta go bhfreagrófar don leibhéal tréan éilimh ag tuismitheoirí sa cheantar seo ar an mbunscolaíocht lán-Ghaeilge tríd an gcinneadh seo gur gaelscoil í an scoil nua a bheidh le bunú anseo.”
The patronage process for the remaining 12 primary schools to be established in September 2019 will commence shortly.
The NSEG noted the wider recommendation of An Coimisinéir Teanga on Irish language requirements and acknowledged the positive changes already incorporated by the Department in the patronage process such as the facility for separate parental preferences in relation to language of instruction. The NSEG also noted that the Department is exploring how parental preferences for Irish-medium education can be further reflected in future patronage processes and recommends that the Department explore this matter further, however, it noted that this is a complex issue which will require further consideration and consultation with the main patron bodies.
The Minister expressed his gratitude to the members of the New Schools Establishment Group for their valuable input to the process, ensuring an objective and transparent process.
Notes for Editors
The Patrons of the four new post-primary schools are:
Area to be Served
Galway City & Oranmore (Regional Solution)
Laytown & Drogheda (Regional Solution)
* based on current projected need but will be responsive to patronage or demographic demand
All of the schools are being established to meet an identified demographic need.
Details on the arrangements which apply to the patronage of these new schools are available on the Department’s website. See link below.
The detailed Assessment Reports for each of the areas concerned are also published on the Department’s website.
New Schools Establishment Group
The patronage process for new schools is overseen by the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). This independent advisory group was set up in 2011 to advise the Minister on the patronage of new schools following its consideration of a report prepared by the Department on the applications received. Minister McHugh accepted the recommendations of the Group in all cases in respect of the four post-primary schools due to open in September 2019.
The members of the NSEG are:
- Mr. Joe Hamill (Chairperson), Retired Secretary General of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs;
- Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc, Head, School of Education, National University of Ireland Galway;
- Professor Sarah Moore, Associate Vice-President Academic, University of Limerick.
Related documents are available at the following link here: Establishing a New School webpage