Author Archives: Jennifer Buttner

Are Certainty And Equality Too Much To Ask For In 2016?

Was it really so long ago, when it was just a given that you would continue on to the local second-level school, with most of your friends? Lyn, just one of the many parents who has been impacted by admission policies change in her local second-level school, writes about the effect on her family, and wants to know if Certainty & Equality in Second-level provision are really too much to ask for in 2016?

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Minister’s Letter in Response to Campaign Group Data

Since our second meeting with the Minister & Deputy Jack Wall on January 28th, the campaign group have been awaiting a response from the Minister, as she had promised at the meeting.

At that meeting the Minister acknowledged our data, and promised us that she would respond (early the following week) that our data was being reviewed by the Department of Education & Skills.

Over the last 4 weeks, the campaign group have continued to request this response, both from the Minister’s office and from Deputy Jack Wall.

Finally, 4 weeks after that second meeting with the Minister, we have received the following letter today, 25th February.

Minister Letter 25 Feb 16 P1

Minister Letter 25 Feb 16 P2The group welcomes the Minister’s acknowledgement of our valuable data and her request that the Department senior officials continue to expedite the analysis of our data, and that they have this completed as soon as possible.

The campaign group look forward to working with the newly elected TDs of Kildare South post the General Election 2016, to maintain the urgency of this situation for Kildare South, and to get the decision for a much needed new Second-level school to be made at the earliest opportunity.

We acknowledge the support of Jack Wall in following up on this matter.

Are you a concerned parent? Make your voice heard.

You Can Register your interest here for a Second-level Educate Together school in Kildare South & follow our campaign on Facebook & Twitter.

 

 

Minister Pledges Review

The Minister for Education is to review her decision to deny the south of the county a new second-level school, according to campaigners for an Educate Together facility.

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Members of Campaign Group with Minister Jan O’Sullivan & Deputy Jack Wall

The South Kildare Educate Together Second-level Group (SKET 2L) again met with Minister Jan O’Sullivan, along with Deputy Jack Wall on January 28th. The campaigners have been relentlessly lobbying on the issue for months, gathering over 2000 signatures of parents.

This follows on from the initial meeting with the Minister in November, where she agreed to share the demographic analysis with the group, which was received before Christmas.

Having analysed the Department’s data for Kildare South, group members met with the Minister and Deputy Jack Wall, to outline their serious concerns with the Department’s analysis, which they believe has overestimated the current/planned capacity while underestimating the predicted demand in Kildare South.

“The group demonstrated the inaccuracies in the assumptions made by the Department of Education & Skills, specifically feeder school inaccuracies, admission policy restrictions and inclusion of restrictive fee playing places in capacity available” said the group in a statement to the press. “They outlined that future growth and expansion in the area, including influx of employers and investment in housing infrastructure, is not being taken into account”.

The group also voiced their concerns regarding the disparity of dedicated ASD Class Facility provision from primary to second- level in the area.

Deputy Jack Wall also stated to the Minister that the mid-East area of Ireland, including Kildare, is experiencing a significant growth, and that not only was a new second-level school required now, but that future provision must also be reviewed by the Department now.

Jennifer Buttner, chair of the campaign group said “We are deeply concerned about the assumptions made by the Department’s demographic review of Kildare South , and we thank the Minister of Education Jan O’Sullivan, for taking the time to meet with our group, where she listened to, and acknowledged, our concerns. The Minister agreed to bring our data back to the Department early this week, and revert to the group before the General Election.

We would like to thank Jack Wall TD for facilitating the meeting, and acknowledge the support of Fiona McLoughlin Healy, Mark Wall, Sean O’Fearghail TD, and Martin Heydon TD.

Our grass roots, parent-led campaign will continue in earnest, on behalf of the 2100 children’s names now registered for a South Kildare Educate Together Second-level, to exhaust every avenue open to us, in our campaign for a NEW Second-level school build which will provide choice, diversity, and equality-based education locally for all families in Kildare South”.

This piece first appeared in the Leinster Leader on 9th Feb 2016

Are you a concerned parent? Make your voice heard.
Talk to your GE16 candidates. Email your concerns to the Minister’s office.

You Can Register your interest here for a Second-level Educate Together school in Kildare South & follow our campaign on Facebook & Twitter.

Education Questions You Should Ask Your Local Election Candidates

Now that the General Election is around the corner, and canvassers are starting to arrive at your doors, have you considered what issues you might raise with them? Are you concerned about the provision for second-level education in Kildare South?

Now is the time to make your voice heard. Here are some Education Questions You Should Ask Your Local Election Candidates when they call to your door.

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Download GE16_Candidate Questions Flyer, print out and keep it near your front door for convenience.

Are you a concerned parent? Make your voice heard.
Talk to your GE16 candidates. Email your concerns to the Minister’s office.

You Can Register your interest here for a Second-level Educate Together school in Kildare South & follow our campaign on Facebook & Twitter.

Campaign for Second-level Educate Together Fights On

The Campaign Group for a Second-level Educate Together school in Kildare South continues to fight on, and challenges the demographic exercise performed by the Department of Education & Skills, and the subsequent decision by Minister Jan O’Sullivan to deny a new school build for Kildare South.

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Kildare South was included in a list of areas for ongoing demographic review, and the Department of Education & Skills agreed to share their demographic analysis data of Kildare South with the group, when they met with the Minister on 17th November. The group received this data mid December.

Having analysed the Department’s demographic data, group members met with Kildare South elected representatives Jack Wall TD, Sean O’Fearghail TD, and councillors Mark Wall and Fiona McLoughlin Healy, on Thursday 14th January, to outline their concerns with the Department’s analysis.

All present acknowledged that there are inaccuracies in the assumptions made by the Department of Education & Skills, and that future growth and expansion in the area, due to the recovering local economy, is not being taken into account.

Deputy Jack Wall confirmed that the Minister has agreed to meet again with the campaign group, within the next 2 weeks, so they can present their concerns.

Jennifer Buttner, chair of the campaign group said

“We have analysed the Department’s demographic data for Kildare South, and as expected, we are deeply concerned with the assumptions made. At a high level the main issues we see are :

  • The Department defined Feeder Areas are very different to what is happening in reality on the ground e.g. the Kilcullen area shows 3 primary schools on Department map, but in reality there are 9 feeder primary schools listed with the Kilcullen Cross & Passion College.
  • Additional places in Naas are being factored in to the Newbridge and Kilcullen area capacity by the Department. In reality, Newbridge & Kilcullen children don’t choose to attend schools in Naas, and often only do so when no places of choice are available to them in their area.
  • The widely varying Admission Policies in operation across the second-level schools in the area are not factored into the Department’s analysis.
  • Kildare Town Community School is already enrolling at capacity from their catchment area, and that is in advance of children leaving 6th class from the 2 new primary schools in Kildare town from 2019 onwards.
  • The fee-paying Newbridge College is assumed in the Department’s capacity figures for the Newbridge area. The group strongly believe that only non-fee paying, publicly funded, schools should be included in the capacity assumptions.

We look forward to meeting the Minister of Education Jan O’Sullivan, and the Department officials again, within the next 2 weeks, to highlight our concerns.

We will continue in earnest, on behalf of the 2060 children’s names now registered for a South Kildare Educate Together Second-level, to campaign for a NEW Second-level school build which will provide choice, diversity, and equality-based education locally for all families in Kildare South”.

Press Release 18th January 2016

Are you a concerned parent? Make your voice heard.
Talk to your GE16 candidates. Email your concerns to the Minister’s office.

You Can Register your interest here for a Second-level Educate Together school in Kildare South & follow our campaign on Facebook & Twitter.

Why I Support The Campaign for a Second-level Educate Together School

Why bother campaigning for a school you don’t want to use?

South Kildare is hosting a campaign in support of the foundation of an Educate Together Secondary School to serve the town of Newbridge and the wider locality.

From the first day that the project was explained to me, I have been in favour of the establishment of such a  school, although it wouldn’t be my first, or even second, choice for my own children.

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Letter to Minister from Concerned Kildare Parent

There is a very real crisis in South Kildare right now, that is not being solved by the current school buildings announcement.

Our campaign group are regularly meeting worried and stressed parents, many of whom don’t yet have second-level places secured for their children for 2016. And this situation is only going to continue to get worse.

Children end up moving outside their area, without their peers, to secure a second-level school place which is extremely stressful, when they are at such a vulnerable age in their young lives.

Here is a letter from one such concerned parent:

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Our Statement in Response to School Building Programme

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The Campaign for Second-level Educate Together in Kildare South acknowledge the School Building Programme 2016-2021 that was announced today by Minister Jan O’Sullivan, but are extremely disappointed that Kildare South has NOT been granted a NEW Second-level school build. Extensions have been granted for local Second-level schools (Monasterevin 2016, Kilcullen 2018, Newbridge PBS 2019-2021, Athy 2018), but as we had already strongly expressed to our elected representatives, the policy of extensions over new builds are not the answer.

  • 1900 namesExtensions neither provide for choice nor diversity in provision.
  • Extensions do not address the need for an ASD unit in this area.
  • Extensions will be insufficient to meet demand.
  • Extensions do not acknowledge the almost 1900 children whose parents want an Educate Together Second-level in Kildare South.

We welcome that our area has been mentioned for ongoing demographic analysis, and we will continue in earnest to campaign, both this Government and the next, for a NEW Second-level school build which will provide choice, diversity, and equality-based education locally for families.

Thank you for your on going support.