16 October, 2020 – Minister Foley invites applications for patronage of four new post-primary schools to be established in 2021

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has today invited school patron bodies/prospective school patron bodies to apply for the patronage of four new post-primary schools to be established in September 2021.

Minister Foley said: “This is an unusual and challenging time for school patrons and school communities. It is important that the patronage process for the post-primary schools which are to open in 2021 is conducted in as normal a fashion as possible, with patrons being given the opportunity to apply to run the new schools, and parents given the opportunity to express their preference on the choice of patron.

“Despite the continuing situation with regard to Covid-19, it is important that the 2021 post-primary patronage process gets underway now in order that the incoming school patrons have sufficient time to make the necessary preparations for the schools’ opening in 2021.”

Today’s invitation follows on from the announcement since 2018 of the establishment of 45 new schools to cater for demographic growth over the four-year period from 2019 to 2022.  

The Department has recently completed the first step of an updated review of demographics at post-primary level, having regard to updated information on demographics and additional residential development. Following this review the Minister for Education has approved a number of changes to the list of post-primary schools to be established in 2021, as follows:

New post-primary schools, not previously announced, will be established in the following school planning areas:

  • Dunshaughlin
  • Gorey

Schools will be established, as planned, in the Ballincollig and Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire school planning areas.

The establishment of the following schools are deferred from 2021 to 2022. Work will continue in the interim on advancing the schools’ accommodation in readiness for 2022.

  • Dublin2_Dublin4
  • Donaghmede_Howth_D13/Baldoyle/Stapolin
  • Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR/Cherrywood

 

A patronage process is run after it has been decided that a new school is required.

Accordingly, a patronage process will now be undertaken in respect of the four post-primary schools to be established in 2021 which will serve the following school planning areas:

  • Ballincollig
  • Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire
  • Dunshaughlin
  • Gorey

                  

Prospective patrons should complete an application form available on the Department’s website https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Establishing-a-New-School/New-Post-Primary-Schools.html and submit it to the Department by e-mail by 3p.m. on 21 October 2020. The information in this form will provide key information to parents and guardians in expressing a preference, which is one of the key determinants in decisions on patronage.

Inviting applications from interested patrons/prospective patrons today, Minister Foley said:

“Parental preferences for each patron, from parents/guardians of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity of provision currently available in these areas, will be key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.”

An online patronage process system (OPPS) has been developed to provide objective information to all parents and guardians which will allow them to make an informed choice in expressing a preference for their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education, including their preference for their child to be educated through the medium of Irish or English. The OPPS will open for parental preferences soon after the patron application process is completed.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). This 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.

The schools will be established in line with the requirements and criteria originally announced in June 2011 for the patronage of new schools. These requirements and criteria are published on the Department’s website and will also be provided to prospective applicants. Applicants must confirm that they will comply with each of the requirements and criteria in order for their application to be processed.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

 

Details of four new post-primary schools to be established in 2021 in respect of which a patronage process will be undertaken:

County

School Planning   Area(s) to be served

School Size (Pupils)*

Cork

Ballincollig

600 pupils

Dublin

Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire (Regional Solution)

1,000 pupils

Meath

Dunshaughlin

600 pupils

Wexford

Gorey

500 pupils

*based on projected need at time of announcement but will be responsive to patronage or demographic demand

 

Next steps 

Following confirmation of the applicant patrons, the Department will shortly open the Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) website for the 2021 post-primary patronage process.  This will provide objective information to parents which will allow them to make an informed choice in expressing a preference for their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education.

The Department will subsequently compile a patronage report for the consideration of the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG) and the NSEG will submit a report with recommendations for consideration by the Minister.

Location of New Schools

For two of these schools, the site identification process is ongoing. 

In relation to the school for Dunshaughlin, the potential to locate the new school on lands currently being acquired by the Minister is being explored. 

Regarding the school to cater for the Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire school planning areas, the Department has acquired a circa. 3 acre site for this school at Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, referred to as “the Abilene property”. This site has been earmarked for a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school, including four classrooms specifically for students with special educational needs.  Site size constraints will limit options to the development of one post-primary school

The New Schools Establishment Group

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).  This 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.

The current members of the NSEG are:

  • Mr. Joe Hamill, Retired Secretary General of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht;
  • Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc, Head of the School of Education, National University of Ireland Galway;
  • Professor Sarah Moore, Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick.

 

Note on Deferrals

The recommendation for deferrals arise from a range of factors, primarily that planned additional residential development has not yet materialised at the levels expected back in 2018, and/or that there is capacity in existing schools in/adjacent to the area which is considered sufficient to cater for demographic demand in 2021, and therefore it is not necessary for the schools to commence in 2021.

Note on additional schools

The recommendation for additional schools arises in areas where it is considered that there is a significant level of oncoming demographic demand in 2021 and beyond which cannot be accommodated by capacity in existing schools and where the expansion of existing schools does not appear feasible or is otherwise unsuitable.

It is intended that the first phase of these schools will be planned for 500 or 600 places with provision for the schools to expand to 1,000 places in future phases to cater for further growth which may emerge from ongoing development of these areas, for example as Project Ireland 2040 infrastructure or housing investment is rolled out.