Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne has said the Minister for Education has questions to answer as to why the opening of two new schools in 2019 was deferred due to a lack of enrolments.
The opening of two new eight classroom primary schools, one to serve the Swords school planning area the other to serve the Dunshaughlin school planning area were deferred as there were no enrolments at all.
Deputy Byrne said the Department’s planning and forecasting was flawed and queried whether the Department are taking the timeline for housing developments in an area into account.
He said, “This issue only came to light as one of the schools is in my own constituency and it was brought to my attention that there were no enrolments.
“According to the Minister for Education’s own press release in April 2018 these schools were announced due to ‘increased demographic pressures.’ Yet here we are in November 2019 with two new schools ready to go but no pupils to attend them.
“I’m not convinced that the department’s methods for measuring the demand for new schools is fully accurate or that it is taking into account all new local housing developments.
“It’s clear that there has been little or no communication between Departments otherwise the Department of Education would have known that the new local housing development in Dunshaughlin was delayed. These are simple issues which should be planned for and avoided.
“It leaves a very messy situation, there are principals and teachers recruited for the schools but no pupils – it’s madness,” he concluded.