Brannoxtown NS on 'life support' with just two pupils

The school remains open

Sarah Peppard

Reporter:

Sarah Peppard

Email:

sarah.peppard@leinsterleader.ie

Brannoxtown NS on 'life support' with just two pupils

Brannoxtown NS. (Photo: Google Maps)

It is understood a community action plan will be put in place in light of only two students returning to Brannoxtown National School for the 2017/2018 academic year, last Thursday August 29.

All members of the  Board of Management for the school, which fought extremely hard to keep the school open,  have resigned, apart from the local parish priest and Principal Dolores Burke, a source told the Leinster Leader.

Brannoxtown NS, which was established in 1985, witnessed a plummet in enrollment numbers this year.

Monsignor Dan O’Connor of the Archdiocese of Dublin, confirmed to the Leinster Leader that as long as the two students are in the school it will remain open, as they are “entitled to their education.”

Monsignor said a single manager has been appointed to the school.

He added that he hopes more students will enroll.

Fine Gael Kildare South TD Martin Heydon said that while the doors of the school technically remain open “it is on life support”.

“It is hugely disappointing, devastating for the local community.”

He said his focus now is to work with the Department of Education and the Patron to figure out a new “offering” for the future.

A public meeting will take place on Monday September 11 next at 8pm in the Baptist Church next to the primary school.

However, Deputy Heydon said that “two brothers in the school on their own is not viable”.

In a statement back in June, the Board said there were several reasons for the falling numbers including: “relocating — families moving away; emigration; families returning their children to the school in their locality (e.g. families who live in Kilcullen moving to Scoil Bhríde), moving to other schools for own reasons (e.g. increased opportunities for making friends and the availability of childcare).”

A huge campaign was launched in June last, to increase enrollment numbers at the school.

A liaison group was set up to try and encourage those, who had chosen to leave, to stay and to encourage the community to secure the future of the school.

On June 28, an emergency meeting called was told that the Department of Education had no plans to close the school.

Monsignor Dan O’Connor assured the school could stay open for two years, as long as there are at least eight pupils enrolled.

The meeting heard that 45 pupils had enrolled at the school in September 2016, but there were just 19 enrolled for September this year — many of whom had not officially confirmed their places in June.

The Department of Education were contacted for a response, however a reply has not been given as of yet.