Parents of children attending a Dublin 8 school are concerned about the future of the school, as the Trust behind the school have not confirmed if it’s lease will be renewed.
Canal Way Educate Together signed a ten-year and nine month lease for their current building on Basin View in 2014, without the input or consultation of the school’s board of management. Canal Way Educate Together was the first school to be divested from Catholic patronage.
The Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) lease the current school building to the Department of Education. Parents have said that neither the Department or the Trust have not given any indication to parents on whether the lease will be extended beyond 2024.
Outside of owning the physical building, ERST have said they have ‘nothing to do with and have no responsibility” for the day to day running of Canal Way, as detailed in a statement to Dublin Gazette, saying that the responsibility for the school lies with it’s patron, Educate Together.
“There are over five years yet to run on this lease. It is less than half way through it’s term. ERST has given no consideration to the issue of the lease because of the length of time yet to run on it. Furthermore, there have been no requests made by the Department regarding the lease,” Edel Hackett, a representative from ERST told Dublin Gazette.
If the lease is not extended, the current class of Junior infants and Senior infants will not be able to finish their primary education at Canal Way.
There are also issues with a lack of classroom space for students, with long waiting lists meaning the school cannot accommodate all students that are waiting for a place. However, Hackett told Dublin Gazette that ERST have permitted any requests for additional building on the site made to date.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton confirmed that the Department of Education had liased with ERST to provide an additional number of classrooms, but Sinn Fein Senatior Maire Devine said that this is a ‘temporary’ measure.
Senator Devine raised the issue within the Seanad on February 6th, noting that there is no other co-educational school, or another school similar to Canal Way in the local area.
“How can the children, teachers, principal, parents and community function securely with such a short-term miserable lease? This is causing chaos and anxiety for parents. There is nowhere else to enrol their children.
“Why should they have to go anywhere else? My neighbour, for example, put her son’s name on the school’s waiting list four years ago when he was one month old. However, he cannot be accommodated at the school this September,” Senator Devine said.
Fianna Fail Senator Catherine Ardagh also raised the same issue in the Seanad on February 14th, stating that the school have been forced to cut down to a single stream class as opposed to two due to issues with space, and may not be able to accommodate any junior infant class in the coming academic year.