21 December, 2020 – Minister Foley announces patronage of four new post-primary schools to be established in 2021

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today announced the patronage of the four new post-primary schools to be established in 2021.

In all cases, the Minister accepted the recommendations of the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).

Today’s announcement forms an essential part of plans to ensure that sufficient new school places are available to cater for the growing numbers of pupils at post-primary level over the coming years.

The new post-primary schools are being established in September 2021 as part of the Government’s commitment to invest heavily in education with 47 new schools to be established between 2019 and 2022 to cater for demographic growth. Following an updated review of demographics at post-primary level, the Minister recently announced that she has approved a number of changes to the list of post-primary schools to be established in 2021, including that schools will be established, as planned, in the Ballincollig and Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire school planning areas, while new post-primary schools will also be established in the Dunshaughlin and Gorey school planning areas.

 

The Minister said: “Parental preference is a key factor in deciding the patronage of new schools and I’m delighted that despite the ongoing Covid-19 situation, engagement levels from parents for this patronage process is generally in line with engagement levels in previous patronage processes. The views of parents as expressed through the process are reflected in the decisions I have made on the patronage of these four new schools.”

The four new post-primary schools to be established in 2021 will provide significant additional places in the areas they will serve and between them will have capacity to cater for more than 2,700 post-primary students when fully developed.

Area

School Planning Area

Patronage Awarded

Language of Instruction

School   Size*

Cork

Ballincollig

Le Chéile Schools Trust

English

600**

Dublin

Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire (Regional Solution)

Educate Together

English

1,000

Meath

Dunshaughlin

Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB)

English***

600

Wexford

Gorey

Educate Together

English

500

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

**While the school was initially announced as a 600 pupil school, on consideration of emerging demand it has been determined that the size of the school should be increased to have the potential to cater for 1,000 pupils.

***With the school patron to give consideration to the establishment of an Irish-medium Unit (Aonad) when the new school is in its permanent location, if demand from parents indicate that this would be feasible.

The Minister expressed her gratitude to the members of the New Schools Establishment Group for their valuable input to the process which has ensured an objective and transparent process.

ENDS

 

Notes for Editors

All of the schools are being established to meet an identified demographic need.

The detailed Assessment Reports for each of the areas concerned are also published on the Department’s website.

Further information is available here: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Establishing-a-New-School/New-Post-Primary-Schools.html

What new post-primary schools are being established in 2021?

  • Ballincollig
  • Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire (regional solution)
  • Dunshaughlin
  • Gorey

 

Have sites been secured for the 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.

What accommodation will the new schools be established in?

In relation to the new schools announced, the current focus for the Department is to prioritise the schools due to be established in 2021 so that accommodation solutions are put in place as soon as possible. The Department and its Project Manager are currently reviewing potential interim accommodation options for the schools. It is expected that the schools will be established in September 2021 in suitable interim accommodation pending delivery of permanent school buildings.

What is a Regional Solution?

A decision to establish a new school can be taken where projected growth in a single school planning area may not warrant provision of a new school but where combined demographic increases in the region indicates sufficient demand for a viable school. These schools, identified as being Regional Solutions, are planned to serve more than one school planning area.

How big will these schools be?

Area

School Planning Area

School Size*

Cork

Ballincollig

600**

Dublin

Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire   (Regional Solution)

1,000

Meath

Dunshaughlin

600

Wexford

Gorey

500

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

**While the school was initially announced as a 600 pupil school, on consideration of emerging demand it has been determined that the size of the school should be increased to have the potential to cater for 1,000 pupils.

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 Foley accepted the recommendations of the Group in all cases in respect of the four post-primary schools due to open in September 2021.

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; and
  • Professor Sarah Moore, Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick.

Related documents are available at the following link here: Establishing a New School webpage