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.
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
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