Secondary school crisis looms in Naas next year

Concern

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

Secondary school crisis looms in Naas next year

KWETB CE Sean Ashe and Naas Community College principal, Ciaran Keegan at the site of the school in January 2015

Second level school students face a possible shortage of places in Naas schools next year.

The looming crisis has prompted Fianna Fail TD James Lawless to encourage parents to use a legal mechanism normally deployed when a child is refused or denied a school place.

The problem arises because of likely shortfall in the number of places that will be available at Naas Community College (NCC), Craddockstown, in September 2018.

A total of 96 places were originally available at NCC but the school management managed to increase this to 120.

However it is likely that 111 first year students will not have a place. According to Dep Lawless this waiting list is likely to reduce when the other schools in the town (Naas CBS, St. Mary’s College and Piper’s Hill College) make offers to students.

This means that offers may be made to some of the 111 students.

Some places will come available as those among the cohort of 120, who received places at the school, may accept offers from the three other schools. But it’s very likely that some students will still be without a place in a secondary school in the town.

NCC will make a second round of offers later this month, again in December and in January to fill places that have been newly created by first year students opting to take up a place elsewhere in Naas.

“Last year everybody who needed a school place actually got one but this is not guaranteed to happen in 2018.

“For this reason the school have sent out Section 29 forms to those parents whose children do not have a place in NCC. We want them to fill out the forms and return them to the Department of Education. I’ve been in contact with the Department and met the Minster for Education Richard Bruton to highlight the problem,” said Dep Lawless.

Section 29 of the Education Act allows parents to challenge a decision to deny a school place to a child.

Dep. Lawless said the solution is to start the NCC project at Millennium Park as quickly as possible.

“We need to get the project to tender because it will take 15-18 months to get built.

It may not be ready until September 2019. The planning permission is in place and the project has been sanctioned; it needs to be be fast tracked,” Dep. Lawless told the Leader.

The new school will accommodate some 1,000 students - similar to the number enrolled at its sister school Piper’s Hill College, at Kilcullen Road.