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For Written Answer on : 20/06/2023
Question Number(s): 301 Question Reference(s): 29213/23
Department: Education
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Education if she is aware that there are still children with no second level school place secured in east Cork ahead of the commencement of the 2023/2024 school year in September; the action she intends to take to ensure that these young people are offered school places; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


As the Deputy will be aware, for school planning purposes, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and utilises a Geographical Information System to anticipate school place demand. Information from a range of sources, including Child Benefit data, school enrolment data and information on residential development activity is used for this purpose.  Additionally, Project Ireland 2040 population and housing targets inform my Department’s projections of school place requirements. 

While my Department is aware of increasing pressures and demand for additional school places it is important to note that where enrolment pressures arise, it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:

• Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area
• School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area
• Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school they are not available to all pupils
• External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area

My Department’s main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in the area.  In relation to school admissions, it is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998.

Parents have the right to choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.

My Department is working to establish the true extent of any capacity issues across school planning areas through ongoing discussions with the relevant school patrons and authorities. 

This close engagement will allow my Department to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming years which may necessitate further action to that already in train including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions.

The Educational Welfare Services (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is the statutory agency that can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The local service is delivered through the national network of Educational Welfare Officers (EWO). Contact details are available at