Minister verifies plans to build secondary school

by Gazette Reporter
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PLANS to build a new secondary-school in the Glencullen/Sandyford area have been verified by the Department of Education last week.
A spokesperson for the office of Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn (Lab) told The Gazette: “It is anticipated that further additional post-primary provision will also be required in this area to meet demographic demands through the medium of English. The location of these new schools (which will be in the free scheme) is adjacent to Glencullen and Sandyford.”
Local politicians and parents have been calling for the construction of a new secondary school to meet the educational needs of a rapid population growth in the area.
According to Cllr Lettie McCarthy (Lab) every year the parents of sixth class children experience the same frustration about which second level school to send their children to.
“I represent an area that has experienced the greatest population growth of any of our neighbouring areas and it is very sad to see primary school friendships severed every year due to the fact that we do not have a post-primary school that can cater for all children, regardless of their religion, gender or ability to pay fees – a school that will have up-to-date classroom equipment and proper sport facilities from day one.
“There is no obvious feeder school for this area and it is a very big concern to parents of young families.
“I am working closely with Minister Ruairi Quinn and I am delighted with the progress to date since he took office.  The planning and building unit of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) are in regular dialogue with the planning authority in relation to the identification of a suitable site for a post-primary school since June 2011,” she said.
John C Byrne, Fianna Fail local area representative and chairperson of St Mary’s National School Board, said: “Over the next five years there will be over 700 students leaving the six English medium primary schools in the area with the majority having to go outside the area to avail of a secondary school.”
Local mother Catriona Cahill said: “I’ve three children in primary school at the moment and one in secondary.
“When we were looking for a second level school for her we would have loved if there had been a local co-education one where they could all go.  There is a distinct lack of non-fee paying secondary co-ed schools here.”
On hearing the intention of the Department of Education to build new, non-fee paying secondary schools in the Glencullen/Sandyford area, Catriona said: “It’s really good news. There are schools in my area but the majority are fee paying and if parents can’t afford to pay, it’s a problem.
“Also, even the fee-paying schools are not within walking distance of the area. We were lucky in that we got our daughter into a Stillorgan secondary and it’s close enough.  There is a waiting list for it now.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education added: “In June 2011, Minister Quinn announced that 20 new post-primary schools are to be established in the coming years across a number of locations to meet significantly increasing demographics in those areas.
“This announcement included a proposal to establish a new post-primary school in the general Ballinteer region. This new school will be a gaelcholaiste in the Dundrum area and is scheduled to commence in 2014.”

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