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School pays out €120k to rent €50k prefab classroom

ALMOST €120,000 has been spent renting a prefab as a school classroom -- more than twice its purchase price.

The building in Swords has cost taxpayers almost €1,000 a month to rent for the past 10 years. A new prefab can cost as little as €50,000 -- though they can cost up to €89,000.

The school could have bought two prefabs outright for the money they have spent renting one.

The prefab was installed at Holy Family Senior National School in River Valley in February 2000 and has been in use ever since.

The principal of the school confirmed to the Herald that the prefab, which contains just one classroom, has been rented for a full decade. He indicated that the increase in the pupil-teacher ratio might mean the school having to lose a teacher next year and the prefab classroom might not then be required. But he said it could be needed again the following year.

He acknowledged that the prefab, one of two in use at the school, could have been purchased outright if the funds used for renting it had been used to buy it.



forced

Fine Gael has pointed out that one in every five junior infants starting primary school in Ireland in the 2008-09 school year is being taught in a prefab.

Almost half of all Dublin schools are now being forced to facilitate teachers and children in temporary accommodation.

A survey of city and county education facilities revealed that thousands of pupils were being taught in prefabs.

At a number of schools, some of these 'temporary' classrooms have been used for more than a decade. The survey showed that more than 10,000 pupils were confined to learning in prefabs.

Similar studies around the capital revealed that the average number of schools using temporary accommodation was 46pc.

The average cost of temporary accommodation was €29,000 per school.

The vast majority of principals who replied to the survey said they found their situation completely unsatisfactory.

hnews@herald.ie