herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Educate Together schools getting six times more applications than available places

Jan O'Sullivan
Jan O'Sullivan

Educate Together national schools are receiving up to six times more applications than they have available places.

A sample of four of the group's Dublin schools shows more than 1,200 applications were made for 335 places, with significant demand in some areas.

Educate Together said it has been calling on the Government for many years to provide more of its schools in Dublin to meet demand.

Spokesman Luke O'Shaughnessy said over-subscribed schools - based on the number of applications for junior infants this September - include Shellybanks in Dublin 4 with 261 applications for 139 places; Balbriggan, with 258 applications for 48 places; Holywell in Swords with 335 applications for 90 places; and Castleknock with 350 applications for 58 places.

The Department of Education recently appointed Educate Together as patron of a new national school that will open in the Pelletstown area of Dublin in September.

The Department is currently sourcing a premises for the school, according to Mr O'Shaughnessy

"Accommodation arrangements for September 2015 are expected shortly," he said.

"It is hoped that a principal for the school will be recruited by early April.

patronage

"The Educate Together national office has noted huge parental interest in the area since the department's announcement - over 150 pre-enrolments have been collected online in the last week alone."

Educate Together is set to apply for the patronage of a number of other schools in the Dublin area next year.

Its chief executive, Paul Rowe, said the demand is undeniable. "Simply put, Dublin needs more Educate Together schools," he said.

"Our existing schools and start-up groups are reporting that hundreds of children are being signed up to our already over-subscribed waiting lists."

Earlier this month, Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan announced that seven new primary schools are to be established in the next two years.

She said her department is predicting a continuing increase in primary school pupils up until at least 2019 in parts of the country.

Of the seven new schools, four will open this year, with the other three opening next year, she said.

Four of the schools will be in Dublin.

fdillon@herald.ie

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