Parents' struggle to find school places
SCHOOL children in Swords west, who have been shut out of their local school because the Department of Education has refused to sanction a seventh junior infants' class, may struggle to find a place in other schools in Swords.
That is the claim of Cllr. Darragh Butler, who has written to the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, insisting that Holy Family NS in River Valley be allowed to provide a seventh junior infants' class this September to cope with huge demand.
Last week, the Fingal Independent reported that the Department of Education had refused to sanction that class and instead, told parents to seek places across the town in St. Colmcille's but according Cllr. Butler (FF), this might not be straightforward.
In his letter to the Minister, seen by the Fingal Independent, Cllr. Butler said: 'I am told that the school (Holy Family NS) has applied for a seventh class but that this is being refused by the Department of Education. This is simply not acceptable.
'Parents are being told that there are places available on the other side of Swords at St. Colmcilles BNS and GNS, but this is not necessarily the case.
'I have spoken to the parent of a girl born in early June 2010 and at best, she can get on a waiting list for a possible extra class at this location.'
Cllr. Butler wrote: 'Without permission for an extra class at Holy Family JNS, this problem will continue on for many, many years with the enrolment date getting earlier and earlier each year.
'Something needs to be done and done now or this problem will simply compound each year. Permission must be granted and it must be granted soon as this is a very stressful time for parents.
'Children are being denied a place in their local school with their older brothers and sisters. If they hold out for a year, this means extra crèche costs, combined with the Local Property Tax and forthcoming water charges and unfortunately many of them had given up their crèche places.'
Cllr. Butler said: 'Holy Family JNS has the capacity to take an extra class and funding should and must be made available by the Department of Education and Skills.
'It is simply not acceptable to force parents to unnecessarily send their children to a school on the other side of Swords (and if you know Swords this is not easy in rush hour traffic); unnecessarily separating them from older brothers and sisters; or force them to wait another year with additional crèche costs and this problem simply rolling over for year after year.'
Cllr. Butler told the Fingal Independent: 'I find it amusing that Fine Gael and Labour local election candidates are going public on this issue seeing as it is their Government denying this extra class.
'This area will also be included within the old Dublin West boundary for the up-coming by-election and this will be a major election issue.
'If this extra class is not granted, parents will have their opportunity to make their feelings known on Friday, May 23, at the council and European elections and whenever the Dublin West by-election takes place.'