Delight in Greystones as parents were about to ramp up campaign for second level facility
After a very short-fought campaign for a new secondary school, parents in Greystones were delighted to learn last week that such a facility is on the cards.
The Department of Education made the announcement along with around 40 others nationwide.
The school is due to open in 2021 with a capacity for 800 students.
Minister Simon Harris said that a new online system will be developed to provide information on proposed models of patronage.
'We are fortunate in Wicklow to have a growing population,' said Minister Harris. 'However, this growth puts pressure on our public services. If we are to have the best education and training system in Europe, we must ensure that we adequately prepare for this future need by planning for the necessary modern school facilities now.'
Parents will be asked for their preference for patronage for each of the new schools.
'The new secondary school for the Greystones area will be particularly welcomed by parent of students in Greystones Community NS who have been highlighting the need for additional capacity,' said Minister Harris.
The Department has not revelaed a location for the school, but with appropriate zoning already in place at Charlesland, many suspect it will be located there.
Cllr Derek Mitchell said that the Charlesland site was zoned 15 years ago.
'Councillors deliberately zoned it so that it is next to excellent sports facilities, including a running track, five-a-side pitches, tennis courts and a junior baseball diamond,' he said.
'Rarely has a school been built next to such good public sports facilities,' he said.
The site at Charlesland also includes space for Greystones Community National School, which is currently in temporary buildings at the rugby club.
A group of concerned parents and Cllr Jennifer Whitmore had recently started a campaign for a new secondary school in Greystones/Kilcoole.
'We are relieved that the demand for places has been recognised and that a school will be built to accommodate those children,' she said.
Deputy Stephen Donnelly said that parents trying to get their child a primary school place in Greystones know there is massive demand for the current limited places. 'This issue will inevitably lead to an increased demand for secondary school places,' he said.
Local area rep for Fine Gael, Alice O'Donnell, did an analysis of school enrolments at primary level over the last five years in Greystones. 'We now have 710 more pupils in our primary schools than we had in 2013,' she said. 'There is a big bulge in numbers in current third classes with an extra 244 pupils. They will need second level places in 2021.
'While St David's and Temple Carrig can offer some extra places, it is clear that we need a third secondary school,' she said.
Ms O'Donnell. said that the patronage process will most likely take place next year.