The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has today invited school patron bodies/prospective school patron bodies to apply for the patronage of new primary schools to be established in September 2021.
Minister Foley said: “These are uncertain times in many ways for school communities. However, I am happy to announce that the commencement of the patronage process for these schools will now proceed so that we can prepare for their opening next September. The post-primary patronage process currently underway has shown that parents and patrons are engaging with the process, albeit in unusual circumstances. It is important that the patronage process for the primary schools which are to open in 2021 is also 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.”
Today’s invitation follows on from the announcement since 2018 of the establishment of 47 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 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 primary schools to be established in 2021, as follows:
Schools will be established in 2021, as planned, in the following school planning areas:
The establishment of the following schools are deferred from 2021:
- Bray/Woodbrook Shanganagh
- Kilkenny/City, Western Environs
Planning and preparation work will continue in the interim on advancing the above schools’ accommodation.
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 three primary schools to be established in 2021 which will serve the following school planning areas:
School Planning Area
Size of School*
*The size of the schools is based on current identified need but will be responsive to patronage or demographic demand.
As a result of the implementation of measures to increase access to Irish-medium education as part of the patronage process announced in September 2019, two of the new schools, in Donaghmede_Howth_D13 and Dublin2_Dublin4, have been designated as Irish-medium primary schools. Accordingly, while language preferences will not be sought from parents in these areas, parents are encouraged to express their preference for the patronage of the schools.
Prospective patrons should complete an application form, which is available on the Department’s website:
and submit this to the Department by e-mail by 5 p.m. on 19November 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.
“I am particularly pleased that two of these three new primary schools are designated as Irish-medium primary schools in advance of the OPPS being run, providing an Irish-medium option for parents in these school planning areas which has not been available to date.”
An online patronage process system (OPPS) has been developed to provide objective information to 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 in the case of the new school for the Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR/North school planning area. 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.
Notes for Editors:
Details of three new primary schools to be established in 2021 in respect of which a patronage process will be undertaken
School Planning Area(s) to be served
Year of Opening
To be determined as part of the OPPS
*based on current projected need but will be responsive to patronage or demographic demand
Following confirmation of the applicant patrons, the Department will shortly open the Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) website for the 2021 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.
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.
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, Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick.
Note on Deferrals
The deferrals arise from a range of factors, primarily that planned additional residential development in the form of Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) developments 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. Planning and preparation will continue in relation to sites and buildings for these schools in alignment with the delivery of housing in the areas concerned.
Note on measures to increase access to Irish-medium education as part of the patronage process
Following a review of the provision of Irish-medium education in the areas where new primary schools are to be established from 2019 to 2022, on 3rd September, 2019 it was announced that five of the new primary schools being established from 2020-2022 are being designated for Irish-medium education, as follows:
School Planning area
*postponed by the patron to 2021
** Two new primary schools were announced to open in Sallynoggin_Killiney_DLR/Cherrywood – one in 2020 and a second in 2022 with one being designated as a gaelscoil. Following the OPPS for the 2020 school this is an English-medium school. Accordingly, the 2022 school will be designated as a gaelscoil.
The change was made following the pilot Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) for primary schools established in September 2019 and engagement by the Department with school patron bodies and other stakeholders. The five new schools will serve areas of growing populations, where there is no existing Irish-medium primary school or where there is more than one new primary school to be established between 2019 and 2022.
This step is part of a framework which includes:
- Designating the language of a new primary school as Irish in some circumstances;
- Testing (on a pilot basis) the potential to cater for demand for English and Irish medium provision through, for example, delivering two 8-classroom primary schools (one English-medium and one Irish-medium) in a shared building/campus rather than delivering one 16-classroom primary school, subject to factors such as demand and site conditions;
- Exploring the potential to expand existing Irish-medium primary schools to meet unmet demand in an area;
- Providing opportunities for patrons of existing primary schools to change the language of instruction from English to Irish, such as is envisaged as part of the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process.
School Planning Area(s) to be served
Year of Opening