Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has expressed alarm after officials from the Department of Education confirmed to him that there are between 170 to 190 pupils in the Greystones and Kilcoole areas without a secondary school place this September.
The figure was revealed following engagement between the Department and the principles of the four local secondary schools. Deputy Brady called for immediate action to be taken to increase the student intake and capacity for September, and for the Department to produce a plan to make it happen.
Teachta Brady said:
“Over the last number of months, I have been working with many families who have a child who has failed to get a school place in one of the four local secondary schools in the Greystones and Kilcoole area.
“It is alarming that the actual figure of children without a school place in September has been confirmed by officials from the Department to be between 170 and 190.
“This is a shocking figure. But, given the number of people that have been in contact with me over the last few months, it comes as no surprise.
“It should also be no surprise either to the Department who know the current numbers of children in primary schools in the area and population growth figures.
“This figure of 170 to 190 students comes following a number of meetings between Department officials and the principles of St David’s Holy Faith Secondary School, Templecarrig School, Greystones Community College and Coláiste Craobh Abhann Kilcoole, the latest of which took place on Tuesday February 3rd.
“The purpose of the meeting was to cross-check enrolment and waiting lists in all four schools for duplicates to ascertain the actual number of pupils that have not received an offer of a school place.
“The meeting was informed that 489 pupils had accepted a school place in the four schools and there were a total of 494 pupils remaining on waiting lists. Each waiting list was then cross-checked and as result the number of pupils without a school place was reduced to in the region of 170 to 190 pupils.
“Department officials have informed me that they are satisfied that accommodation solutions can be put in place to meet these requirements and are currently engaging with each of the school’s patron bodies in relation to increasing their intake for September 2021 and future years.
“I know that Coláiste Craobh Abhann is past capacity and that there is little or no movement in relation to the long-awaited school extension. This, along with the development of the new Greystones Community College, need to be fast-tracked. But even at that, in the short-term this crisis will not be addressed.
“The Department needs to immediately produce a plan on how the 170 to 190 required school places are to be provided. The children and the parents also need to be given reassurances and informed where they will be attending school in September without further delay.”