Plight of schools in Darndale and Baldoyle raised in Dail Eireann

by Rachel Darcy

A Dublin Bay North TD has said that there is an urgent need for the Department of Education to liaise with two primary schools in North Dublin.

Deputy Tommy Broughan (Ind) raised the issue in Dail Eireann on Tuesday, calling on the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, to engage his department in assisting Our Lady Immaculate SNS in Darndale, and St Laurence’s School in Baldoyle.

Our Lady Immaculate is seeking assistance in regard to staff, while St Laurence’s are looking for assistance to consolidate their current two campuses into one.

Deputy Broughan has said that he has made representations to the Minister on behalf of both schools, but there has been no progress.

Our Lady Immaculate have raised concerns about reduced staff numbers, following students temporarily leaving school after witnessing two traumatic murders near the school that occurred in broad daylight earlier this year.

St Laurence’s requires important upgrade and repair works, as the school currently operates across two campuses 700m apart, but have been unable to obtain grants to complete the required maintenance.

Deputy Broughan said: “St Laurence’s School in Baldoyle has put in a proposal for a single school campus and for funding to upgrade the facilities at Brookstone Road.

“I have raised the matter with the Minister, but the school is still awaiting decisions.

“Our Lady Immaculate SNS in Darndale had a temporary drop in student numbers which meant that their teacher allocation was reduced.

“The number of students is due to increase again in the next school year, but the school will have lost a staff member.

“I have also raised this directly with the Minister but did not receive a reply in time for the start of the 2019/2020 school year.”

In the Dail, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said that the Department based the level of required staff on the enrolment in the school the previous September, and that an appeal made to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board by Our Lady Immaculate for additional staff was unsuccessful.

“The school will be entitled to an additional mainstream class teacher in the 2020-21 school year based on its latest enrolment returns. The primary staffing appeals board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

“There is no change to the staffing of St Laurence’s national school in the current year, and the school has not submitted an application for additional teaching staff to my Department,” Minister McHugh said.

In regard to St Laurence’s NS, the Minister said that the school can apply for the Summer Grants scheme in the new year, to hopefully receive funding for the works. They had previously been provided with grant approval for mechanical repairs in September of this year, but this does not cover consolidating the two campuses.

Minister McHugh said: “With respect to St. Laurence’s, I am not familiar with the two separate campuses idea. I can only suggest that if the application under the emergency works scheme was turned down, the summer works scheme will be open early in the new year. That could provide an opportunity for another application.

“I am also interested in the two campus idea and more synergy between schools. I will need more details and will ask my officials to give me a run down on that.”

Dublin Gazette contacted the Department for further comment, but had not received a reply by the time of publication.

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