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For Written Answer on : 09/04/2024
Question Number(s): 488 Question Reference(s): 14635/24
Department: Education
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Education further to Parliamentary Question No. 462 of 17 January 2024, to provide an update on the review of the guidelines of the use of school buildings outside of school hours; when she expects new procedures for the use of school buildings to be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


My Department supports and encourages the use of school buildings for community and recreational purposes, where feasible, and this has remained a core feature of the new Guidelines (or Procedures as they are now called).

However, the decision on the use of school property is a matter for the property owner taking into considerations the requirements of the school, students and staff.

My Department first published the Guidelines on the use of School Buildings outside of School Hours in October 2017. The purpose of these guidelines was to provide guidance to schools in relation to their current arrangements for the use of school buildings outside of school hours. The Guidelines outline the various scenarios and informs where consent of the Department of Education is required.

The process of reviewing these 2017 Guidelines is near completion. Part of the review included a school survey to inform the updating of the existing Guidelines. This survey was issued to patron bodies of a sample of selected primary and post-primary schools for distribution. The survey invited schools to share their views on topics including: whether and how their school facilities are currently used by organisations other than the school, future plans for the use of school buildings, and any current barriers encountered regarding the use of school buildings after hours. The responses to the survey were returned and analysed and have informed the review. Following the survey, further engagement took place with the stakeholders, patron bodies and other government Departments on the Procedures, including the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. It is expected that the new Procedures will be published very shortly.