independent

Saturday 23 March 2019

Skerries has school place 'crisis' says local group

Skerries Parents Group members, Rachael Marsh, Derval Adams, Debbie Cosgrove and Joe O’Brien
Skerries Parents Group members, Rachael Marsh, Derval Adams, Debbie Cosgrove and Joe O’Brien

A group of concerned parents in Skerries has identified a school place crisis at secondary level in the north Fingal town.

Following a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Education by a group of concerned parents in Skerries it has emerged that the recent capacity crisis in the local Community College is expected the get significantly worse in the coming years according to the Department's own projections.

After it emerged in October 2018 that many students would not get an initial offer of a place in the Community College for September 2019 Parents Association Reps from Educate Together, St. Patricks, Realt na Mara, Holmpatrick and Milverton came together to call on the Minister to act to develop more school places and assess the need for another post-primary school in Skerries.

The group also gathered data from the local primary schools to try to estimate future demands on places on the Community College.

Currently Skerries Community College has limited its annual 1st year intake to 180 pupils, accordign to the group, however, they say even this limit is unsustainable due to the current lack of classroom space.

The school was originally built for 800 pupils and is currently 'bursting at the seams with 947 enrolled', according to the group.

- an average of 158 per year including tranSpeaking on behalf of the group, Joe O'Brien a parent of children at Educate Together and a local Green Party representative said: 'It was disappointing that the Department initially refused our request for their projected figures for the Skerries School Planning Area and that we had to appeal that refusal.

'While it is clear from the Department's own projections that there isn't going to be enough places in the Community College for the growing demand in Skerries in the coming years it is also notable that the Department is underestimating this need in our view.'

Mr O'Brien added: 'While the Department's own figures clearly indicate a growing shortage of places in the years ahead, our own more current exercise of simply asking the primary schools their current enrolment numbers per class are even more startling.'

He said the group has written to the Minister for Education to expedite actions to increase the capacity of the Community College and to further explore the need for another post-primary school in Skerries.'

Fingal Independent

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