Tuesday 23 April 2019

Parents fear a lack of school places

Mary Fogarty

Parents of children at St Mary's and St Gerard's National School in Enniskerry fear that they will be forced to pay for private secondary schools, as theirs is not an official feeder school for any second level institution.

Parents have established a petition for Minister for Eduction Joe McHugh, asking for St Mary's and St Gerard's to become a feeder school for one of the local secondary schools.

They said that the small school has just 220 students.

Nearby secondary schools include Pres, Loreto, Woodbrook College, and fee-paying St Gerard's. Pres has no feeder school, whereas St Patrick's in Bray is a feeder school for Loreto.

Students of Irish language national schools in Bray can go on to Coláiste Ráithin.

In Bray, for boys and girls who start at St Patrick's together, the boys are at something of a disadvantage according to a mother of two sons who have attended the school.

'They switch to St Cronan's in first class and, unlike the girls, don't have a guaranteed place in the nearest secondary school,' she said.

However, one local mother of four children said that she had no worries about secondary schools.

'I'm from Bray and both myself and their dad went to Bray secondary schools,' she said. 'You generally put their names down for secondary school six years in advance and they give you a good indication at that stage as to where you are on the list, so you have plenty of time to find another option.'

In their petition, St Mary's and St Gerard's parents said that local secondary schools are favouring national schools other than their own.

'It is our belief that the right of our children to appropriate local secondary school education is being compromised due to the fact that St Mary's & St Gerard's is not a designated feeder school,' they wrote.

Bray People