Problems for parents in securing school places
SECURING a secondary school place has become more stressful for families in Clondalkin and Lucan, with many parents forced to apply to multiple schools for a place much earlier than they would have in previous years.
TD Mark Ward (SF), says parents usually apply in April/May, but this is starting much earlier in Lucan and Clondalkin, exacerbated by proposed construction projects to cater for an increase of student capacities at a host of local schools in the constituency.
Many projects for local schools are already approved by the Dept of Education, but work has yet to begin on some, while others have yet to go out to tender.
St Kevin’s Community College, on Fonthill Road, Clondalkin, plan to increase school capacity to 1,000 pupils.
In this case, the Dept has approved the construction of interim accommodation to facilitate the expansion, and are engaging the school to put appropriate permanent accommodation in place.
A project in excess of €20 million is proposed to cater for increased capacity at Holy Family Community School in Rathcoole, but this is still in the planning stage and has yet to go out to tender.
“Parents are concerned about secondary school places, my concern is there are very little timelines in place for these projects,” said Deputy
“It’s a big issue in Lucan and Clondalkin, but seems to be a bit more in Lucan, especially for the first child in a family to go to a school. Parents are getting very little information from the schools, and are applying to multiple schools, which is a symptom of the problem.”
Deputy Ward raised it with Education Minister Norma Foley in the Dáil and put in Parliamentary questions, seeking answers on nine schools in the catchment area.
In the responses, the Minister said a permanent school building project for Coláiste Pobail Fóla School, Saggart – which opened interim accommodation in the Citywest area in 2020 – has been assigned to the Department’s Design and Build delivery programme.
Deputy Ward said the delays are also affecting special educational needs, including Griffeen Community College’s planning application for a 1,000 pupil post-primary school building, including a four-classroom Special Educational Needs Unit.
The Dept said it is not possible to provide an indicative timeframe for the Griffeen project until the necessary statutory approvals have been secured.
Collinstown Park Community College in Clondalkin has been approved funding to build a two-classroom SEN Base, but additional costs associated with the fire and DAC certificates are being assessed, according to the Dept.
Deputy Ward said it was “an important message to get out that if parents get a place for their child, to let the other schools know”.