Sunday 26 February 2017

School tired of waiting for extension

Anita Guidera

A SCHOOL'S dramatic name change to embarrass the Department of Education into delivering an overdue extension has had little effect.

For the past six years, Glenswilly National School, near Letterkenny, Co Donegal, has been officially known as 'Seeking An Extension Since 1992 Glenswilly National School'.

The unwieldy name, born out of frustration and agreed by the board of management, is displayed on a billboard outside the rural primary school and used on the school's official notepaper.

But 18 years on, its 243 pupils are without a PE hall and special-needs rooms, and six prefabs, no longer fit for purpose, dominate the confined outdoor space.

When they returned from the summer break, the ceiling in one of the prefabs had collapsed. Special-needs pupils, including one child who uses a wheelchair, have to leave the main building to go to one of the prefabs for tuition and return to the main building if they need to use the bathroom.

The general purposes hall is used as a staffroom for 18 teachers and the principal's office is little more than a broom cupboard.

"Looking for an extension is like running a marathon in a maze, blindfolded," said frustrated principal Liam McGowan.

They have been let down so badly by previous education ministers that they have now decided to begin the project themselves.

"We have costed the plan and got the price down to €530,000. We have planning permission and all we need is the go-ahead," he said.

Thanks to an extraordinary €60,000 raised by parents, they have moved a JCB on site to begin work.

Irish Independent

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