Wednesday 19 June 2019

Secondary level school concerns

Ken Phelan

Concerns have been raised among local councillors over secondary school provision in Swords, in light of proposed residential developments listed under the draft Swords Masterplans.

With major residential developments planned for Lissenhall, Fosterstown, Estuary West, Barrysparks and Crowcastle, there is concern that increased demand for secondary school places will not be met by existing schools.

Despite provision being made under the draft Swords Masterplans for these areas for two additional national schools, no provision has been made for additional secondary level schools.

Raising the issue at a recent meeting of Balbriggan/Swords Area Committee, Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said that although, while he was canvassing in Swords for the local elections, residents seemed 'reasonably happy' with the provision of two new primary schools, there were concerns over demand for second level places in the area.

It took the Department of Education and Skills 'five plus years to realise we had a problem with not enough primary schools', he said.

Cllr Butler said he accepted a report issued by the council on the matter, but added that there was 'real concern' there may be a problem with second level places 'down the line.'

He hoped, he said, the Department 'notices in time' the need for additional schools or the need for the extension of existing secondary schools in the area.

A report issued by the council stated that the Department of Education and Skills noted that the existing post-primary schools in the general Swords area 'may be capable' of catering for 'the anticipated increase in pupil numbers.'

'In some instances', the report continued, this may necessitate an extension to existing schools, 'subject to site suitability and agreement of the various stakeholders.'

The local authority said it continued to work 'pro-actively' with the Department to ensure that the issue of schools provision 'is properly addressed through planning policy.'

Fingal Independent