As a new generation of South Kildare children begin primary school this week, a major report released today paints a clear picture of the need to expand second level options in the region.
Commissioned by the South Kildare Educate Together 2nd Level (SKET) campaign group and based on CSO figures, the report has been presented to the local TD’s, and will be sent to the Minister for Education today. It sets out serious concerns relating to school capacity, projected future demand and the region’s increasingly diverse population.
The Department of Education & Skills (DES) believes that “while the school planning areas in the region are experiencing some demographic growth, the level of growth and the rate of year-on-year increase is not to such an extent that would currently warrant the provision of additional new schools at this point”, and has committed to keep these areas under review.
However, the SKET Campaign believes the demand is already there, and calls again for a meeting with the Forward Planning Unit of the DES. As shown in the report, the south Kildare region saw a 16% increase in the 13 – 18 year-old age group, between 2011 and 2016. This is twice the national growth, and they expect this to jump to a 24% increase from 2016 – 2025.
That 24% increase does not take into account migration into the area since April 2016, or that expected as a result of planned residential developments in the area. By these calculations, using CSO and DES data, as of 2016 the Campaign is predicting a shortfall of 415 second-level places by 2025. Again, it’s probable that this is a conservative figure, as the current figures available do not account for growing migration into the south Kildare area.
They believe this is justification for policymakers to plan a new-build school, as the current planned school extensions will not suffice.
Said Paula O’Carroll campaign spokesperson,
“The report we’re publishing & sending to the Minister for Education today clearly highlights the future facing the children of south County Kildare. School places are running out – by current projections, over 400 young children won’t have any place to go when they finish primary school in 9 year’s time. We’re calling on our local representatives to step up their efforts to secure the future of our children’s education…..
We have over 2500 names of children whose parents are pledging their support and desire to send their children to an Educate Together run second-level school – census data shows an increase of 54% of people identifying as non-Catholic in the area.
We believe the case for a new school remains stronger than ever. It is our intention to continue fighting for and aspiring to the best future educational provision for all children and families in the community. #NotGoingAway. #ASchoolForEveryone”.
Read Full report here —- A Profile of South Kildare Secondary School Demographics
South Kildare Educate Together Second-Level Start-up is a voluntary group of parents, whose aim is to provide choice in the South Kildare region, where little exists, to cope with the growing demand for places needed at second-level, and who are dedicated to the establishment of an Educate Together Second-Level in Kildare South.