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.
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
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