Monday 18 June 2018

Future of new school not yet disclosed

David Looby

The Department of Education and Skills has not yet disclosed where Educate Together will eventually move to in New Ross.

The department applied for planning permission to Wexford County Council for the change of use and development of the former farm centre/Teagasc building in Barrett's Park, New Ross, where Educate Together NS is located, to two school prefabs. The development will mean a temporary change of use of the existing office to school, the erection of two temporary classrooms and all associated site works.

Educate Together NS Principal Aoife Mahon said the school are awaiting word in relation to moving into a premises in the town.

Ms Mahon said one prefab will be built on site this summer, with the possibility of another prefab being built later this year or in 2019 for the following school year if a move isn't sanctioned.

There are 21 pupils coming into the school's Junior Infants class in September. 'The pupils, along with Senior Infants children, will be taught within the current school building and first and second class pupils will be taught in the prefab.'

Ms Mahon said the school's board of management received a letter from the Minister for Education notifying them that the department has identified a building in the town.

'We don't know yet which building it is. We lost seven or eight children due to the uncertainty over whether we were a full or a half stream school. I do believe that we would have had a full class of 26 students if the enrolment cap hadn't impinged upon the process. In future I would see the school having eight classes of 26 pupils.'

She said a decision on where the school will be located in future is 'up in the air'.

'It has been developed to Educate Together. We are just looking at a prefab on site at the moment.'

Work on the prefab is due to take place over the summer.

Ms Mahon said it will take the school some time to recover from the loss of students and their siblings in future due to the enrolment cap.

She said the argument that the new school at Barrett's Park was affecting other schools enrolment figures was not proven, adding that there has been a fall off in the number of children being born, affecting school enrolment numbers. Monsignor Joe McGrath said there have been no developments in relation to using either St Joseph's NS or Michael Street Boys School which are owned by the diocese, for the education of primary school children on a permanent basis. Fr McGrath said: 'There is a group in Michael Street school but it's not permanent. There have been no developments.'

New Ross Standard