19th July 2016 – Minister Bruton Commits to Review Campaign’s Data Analysis & Department’s Decision to Deny Kildare South a New Second-level School
The campaign group met with Minister for Education & Skills, Richard Bruton, along with Kildare South elected TDs Martin Heydon, Sean O’Fearghail & Fiona O’Loughlin, on Tuesday 19th July last, to present some recent data analysis to further challenge the demographic exercise performed by the Department of Education & Skills for South Kildare, and the decision by Minister Jan O’Sullivan last November, to deny a new school build for Kildare South.
The group also had the opportunity to meet an Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who kindly gave them some time to highlight their concerns, and the problems faced by the growing number of parents seeking second-level places for their children in the Kildare South area. The Taoiseach was very supportive and committed to talking to the Minister for Education & Skills on our behalf.
Having analysed the Department’s data for Kildare South, group members had previously met with Minister Jan O’Sullivan last January and outlined 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 have now just again outlined those concerns to the present Minister, Richard Bruton.
The group presented new data which shows a significant second-level shortfall in the area going forward, and again 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-paying places in capacity available.
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.
Kildare South deputies Martin Heydon, Sean O’Fearghail & Fiona O’Loughlin also outlined the volume of queries they are receiving from parents in their constituency offices, in relation to second-level provision in this area, and supported the campaign’s call for a new second-level school for Kildare South.
Jennifer Buttner, of the campaign group said
“We are deeply concerned about the shortfall figures we have collated, and the assumptions made by the Department’s demographic review of Kildare South. The recent CSO figures show a 5.6% population growth in Kildare since 2011, and confirms the growth of the county that we anticipated, and are witnessing, in the shortage of second-level places here.
We thank the Minister of Education & Skills Richard Bruton, for taking the time to meet with our group to understand our data, and acknowledging our concerns. The Minister agreed to review our data and concerns with the Department, and we look forward to hearing his response.
We would like to thank Martin Heydon TD for facilitating the meeting, and acknowledge the support of Sean O’Fearghail TD, Fiona O’Loughlin TD & Cllrs Fiona McLoughlin Healy, Mark Wall & Joanne Pender.
Our grass roots, parent-led campaign will continue in earnest, on behalf of the 2500+ 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 much needed places, choice, diversity, and equality-based education locally for all families in Kildare South”.
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