Anger as kids can’t attend local school in Harold’s Cross

by Rachel Darcy

Parents of children from D8 and D12 are furious that their children are being forced to bypass the new second level school in Harold’s Cross and travel long distances across the city to Sandymount to find second level education.

Dublin Gazette reported on this some weeks ago, but the situation has not improved, despite intervention by politicians and written requests to the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh.

The patronage process for the new school will open in September and parents from D6, D6W and Clonskeagh will vote on it.

Parents of children from D8 and D12, many of whom live adjacent to the site, will not have a say as they are not included in the ‘school planning area’.

The new school will serve D6, D6W and Clonskeagh because the Department of Education has identified that these schools are over-subscribed.

But through a Freedom of Information Act request, parents have discovered that they are full because children come from D8 and D12.

One such parent, Asumpta Sweeney, said: “It is bizarre that children from D8 have been included in the catchment for the new ETSS in Sandymount, but will not be able to attend the new secondary school in Harold’s Cross.”

Eileen is a mother who lives in D8, just across the bridge from the proposed Harold’s Cross site.

Her daughter attends Canalway ETNS and she wants her to continue to second level with her school friends from D8 and D12.

She is included in the catchment for the school in Sandymount, but the travel logistics are prohibitive for a lot of families, and children from D12 are excluded.

Eileen’s daughter would be able to cycle to the Harold’s Cross school in 10 minutes as opposed to travelling for an hour across the city on a private bus that parents have to hire and pay for, estimated at costing €45 per child per week.

She said: “Making children travel long distances through the densest traffic in the city to access choice in education – passing two new schools on their doorsteps – is not just ludicrous, it is wrong.

“The Department of Education will have to accept culpability for the negative fallout from their actions.”

In response to the issues raised over the new school, a Department of Education spokesperson said: “Following national demographic exercises carried out in early 2018, it was decided that a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school is to be established in 2020 to serve demand arising in the D6/D6W school planning areas.

“The location for the new post-primary school to serve this demand to be established is Harold’s Cross …

“While the existing schools in the D8 and D12 areas have sufficient capacity to accommodate demand in those areas at present, the newly established school, and those coming on-stream in the next number of years, will provide further choice to parents and will also have the effect of reducing pressure on existing schools.”

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