Local lad Jack could face 64km round-trip to school
IF Jack McCabe doesn't get into his local second-level school in Gorey, he could face a 64km daily round-trip, or being sent as a boarder to Dublin.
Jack lives only 8km away from the north Wexford town, but is low on the priority list for admission to its community school.
Gorey Community School is the only second-level school in the area. The schools in Enniscorthy are 22km away and the next closest is in Arklow, 32km away.
The family live in Ballyoughter, south of Gorey, so a trek to Arklow would mean passing Gorey every day en route to a school in Co Wicklow. "It doesn't make sense at all," said his father Robert McCabe.
"My wife works in Gorey, I go the other direction, so it would mean putting a 12-year-old on a train to Arklow every morning."
Jack is now in fifth class and will not go into second level until 2011, but fearful about the lack of local school places, his parents have been forced to consider a more drastic step.
"We have put his name down for a school in Dublin as a boarder. The alternative would be to send him to my old school, St Andrew's in Dublin, as a day pupil, and he could live with relatives," said Robert.
Jack is a pupil at Ballyoughter National School, where only one of two pupils to seek a place in Gorey Community School this year have succeeded.
Next year there will be five from the school hoping to attend Gorey.
Three of those have siblings in the Gorey school, which pushes them up the priority list, but Jack McCabe is one of two who do not have that advantage.
"We are well away from the catchment area for any other second-level school; we have nowhere else to send him", said Robert.
The admissions policy for Gorey Community School gives priority to siblings and then to pupils from 17 local schools in the area, ranked according to distance.