For Written Answer on : 22/03/2022
Question Number(s): 547 Question Reference(s): 14813/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education the resources that her Department put in place in the 2021-2022 school year to facilitate extra secondary school places in east County Cork; the further resources she intends to put in place in the 2022-2023 school year given the demand for school places in the east County Cork area; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy may be aware for school planning purposes, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and utilises a Geographical Information System (GIS) 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.
My Department is aware of increasing pressures and demand for additional school places in a number of school planning areas including in east Cork.
However, 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 is working to establish the true extent of any capacity issues through ongoing discussions with the relevant school authorities. In that context, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including patrons of schools in east Cork to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming years which may necessitate further action to that already in train.
Under Project Ireland 2040, my Department continues to make progress to increase the infrastructural capacity in the schools sector, in order to meet demographic and other demands. It is expected that the enrolment pressures in these, and other areas will reduce in the short-term as such planned additional capacity comes on stream and as demographic demand moves past its peak.
The Capital Programme details the school projects that are being progressed under Project Ireland 2040. The current status of large-scale projects being delivered under Project Ireland 2040, including projects in the area in question, may be viewed on my Department’s website at, www.gov.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.
The Capital Programme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, including accommodation for pupils with special educational needs, if required, for schools where an additional enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme (the Additional Accommodation Scheme) can also be found on my Department’s website at www.gov.ie and this information is also updated regularly.
Specifically, in east Cork, there are a number of significant school building projects providing additional capacity at post primary level:
- Carrigtwohill Community College (76333G) is a co-educational post primary school with an enrolment of 535 for the 2021/2022 school year. A project to provide a permanent school building for 1,000 pupils is currently at Stage 3. Interim accommodation has been approved for the 2022/23 school year consisting of 6 general classrooms, 1 home economics room, 1 Class SEN base and 2 social spaces pending delivery of new build.
- St Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill, (62140P) is an all girls post primary school with an enrolment of 792 for the 2021/2022 school year. A project to facilitate its expansion to cater for 1,000 pupils has been devolved to the school authority for delivery.
- Christian Brothers Secondary School Midleton (62360G) is an all-boys post primary school with an enrolment of 907 pupils for the 2021/22 school year. A project to facilitate its expansion to cater for 1,000 pupils has been devolved to the school authority for delivery.
- St Mary’s High School, Midleton (62380M) is an all girls’ post primary school with an enrolment of 758 pupils for the 2021/2022 school year. In respect of the 2022/23 academic year the Department is working closely with CEIST as patron of St. Mary’s High School, Midleton, who are delivering interim accommodation at this school to facilitate provision of the required school places. The Department continues to engage with the school patron in respect of a project for a new school building for St. Mary’s High school to cater for 1,000 pupils.
- Pobailscoil na Trionóide, Youghal, (91513S) is a co-educational post primary school with an enrolment of 1005 pupils for the 2021/2022 school year. A project to facilitate its expansion to cater for 1,200 pupils has been devolved to the school authority for delivery. Interim accommodation was approved for the 2021/22 school year to facilitate school expansion (6 classroom units)
- Coláiste Mhuire, Cobh (62180E) is a co-educational school which had an enrolment of 702 pupils for the 2021/2022 school year. A devolved grant has been approved to the school to facilitate its expansion.
Additionally, the Department is continuing to engage with all patrons of schools in the area to identify any additional required interim solutions to meet the need for post primary places in the East Cork area. My Department will continue to work to advance these and other projects in East Cork and to ensure sufficient mainstream and SEN school places at both primary and post primary level.