More than 40 new schools to be established over next four years - and here's where they will be
- More than 40 brand new schools are to be established over the next four years
- Plans for 26 primary and 16 post-primary schools - most planned for Dublin and the extended commuter belt
- Half the new primary schools will open in September 2019 - predominantly in Dublin, but also in Cork, Co Meath and Co Kildare
- Four of the post-primary schools will open in 2019
- Now talks begin on patronage of the schools
MORE than 40 brand new schools are to be established over the next four years to cater for the growing population.
Education Minister Richard Bruton will today announce plans for 26 primary and 16 post-primary schools, most of which will be in Dublin and its extended commuter belt.
Half the new primary schools will open in September 2019, predominantly in Dublin, but also in Cork, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath and Leixlip and Maynooth in Co Kildare.
Four of the post-primary schools will open in 2019 – in Dublin, Galway city, Laytown, Co Meath and Co Wicklow.
While today’s announcement is concerned with meeting the demand for more schools, deciding what patron body will run them is a separate process.
Parents of pre-school children in the areas involved will be asked for their preference and their views will be key to deciding who is awarded patronage.
Mr Bruton said an online system was being developed to make it easier and more efficient for parents to register their preferred patron and also their preference as to whether the new school should operate through Irish or English.
It is open to any patron to apply to run a new school and, with denominational schools already dominating the landscape, demand in recent years has been overwhelmingly from multi-denominational bodies.
The new schools will open in temporary premises and will have to find a suitable site for a permanent building before going through the planning process.
A Department of Education spokesperson pointed out this was the first time the requirement for new schools had been set out over a four-year horizon, which would provide a better lead-in period for the planning and delivery of permanent accommodation.
Against that, the school building programme is under pressure from the ongoing creation of more new places than any time in the history of the State, alongside rising land and construction costs and a need to bring long-promised projects for existing overcrowded schools to fruition.
While there is great interest in new schools, existing ones may also be expanded to cater for rising enrolments in their neighbourhoods.
According to Mr Bruton, about 40pc of extra school places are delivered by extensions and he said the Department of Education was monitoring areas where more accommodation may be required.
The minister also said the Department of Education website was also being updated to ensure the current status of existing major projects in the school building programme was updated more regularly and presented in a more user-friendly format.
The proposed new schools will eventually cater for about 20,000 new pupils between them, reflecting the surge in enrolments arising from the baby boom that started in the late 90s.
Today’s announcement comes on top of plans for a new 24-classroom primary school in Dublin 2/4/6 next September, along with five new postprimary schools in Malahide/ Portmarnock, Swords, Dublin 2/4/6, Firhouse, Dublin 24 and Limerick city.
Primary enrolments at national level are at a peak, but population growth and new housing in certain locations are driving demand for schools and extensions. Pupil numbers in post-primary schools will rise until 2025, when enrolments are expected to go above 400,000 for the first time in the history of the State. Mr Bruton said the requirement for new schools would be kept under ongoing review