herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Parents make call for Milltown to get primary school

Supporting the Milltown School Initiative were, from left, Elaine Mc Mahon, Gillian Cullen, Kevin Humphreys, Paul and Ciara Brassil, Aggie O Keefe, Lorna Lynch, Clodagh Heffernan and Catriona White
Supporting the Milltown School Initiative were, from left, Elaine Mc Mahon, Gillian Cullen, Kevin Humphreys, Paul and Ciara Brassil, Aggie O Keefe, Lorna Lynch, Clodagh Heffernan and Catriona White

PARENTS in Milltown will present the Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan with a petition seeking a primary school for the area.

The suburb is one of only a handful in the country that does not have a primary school.

The Milltown School Initiative was established in March to campaign for the department to build a local school, which is "urgently needed" in the community.

Spokesperson Lorna Lynch told the Herald that a survey conducted in the area showed that local children were attending 19 different schools across 10 areas in Dublin.

stressful

"It also showed that parents were applying for an average of six schools for their children. It's such a stressful time," she said.

Despite applying for six places, children were offered just one place in most cases.

"It does nothing for the community. For instance, on my road the four school-going children will be going to different schools next month," Lorna said.

"I know of families who have moved out of Milltown to access better schools," she added.

The Mount Saint Anne's primary school closed in the area in the early '90s due to under-subscription. In the interim, the area attracted significant residential development and as a result it underwent a demographic shift.

Ms Lynch said some of the young families who have moved into the area didn't realise there is no school.

"It's hard to imagine that there is any area in Dublin that doesn't have even one national school. We are used to hearing about parents looking for choice in the area but we don't have a single option," Ms Lynch added.

Surveys conducted by the group show there are enough children to fill a standard class size for the next few years.

The group is currently gathering signatures for their petition and they will present it to Ms O'Sullivan next week.

An earlier meeting with the minister in May was "very positive", Ms Lynch said, and those involved with the campaign are optimistic that they will be successful.

The group held a family fun day on July 19 to raise awareness for their campaign, which saw some 300 people turn out.

Ms Lynch said that the campaign has united people in the community as young families, older residents and businesses are keen to see a school located in the area.

"A school brings a lot to an area, even if it is just a matter of having somewhere to hold after- school activities," she added.

A number of local politicians, including junior minister Kevin Humphreys, have been working alongside the campaign group.

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