Naas students in a race against time for secondary school places

Opinion

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

Naas students in a race against time for secondary school places

KWETB CEO Sean Ashe with NCC principal Ciaran Keegan, previously pictured at the Millennium Park school site

People power is being mobilised to bring education to Naas.

A list of names of students who've been denied a place at Naas Community College has been compiled.

In sporting terms they are the non-runners or reserves. They may yet get to take part in the race but they won’t know till much closer to the time.

It’s not a list you’d like to be on.

It has 11 names and they are the students for whom there is no room at the inn.

They don’t have a guaranteed place at the school for the start of the 2019 academic year.

You might have thought that by now there’d be enough advance in place to ensure that the public don’t have to be concerned about this.

You’d have thought it’d be safe to assume that the schools would be there to meet the demands of a growing population.

The Government has the census figures, the projected population growth and battalions of public servants to do this work.

It’s not rocket science.

The powers-that-be know that Naas will grow.

That’s why we have things like development plans. We know that the population is to expand, we know there it’ll likely expand.

Because we know this the houses and apartments are going up apace. But the schools and sporting facilities are lagging behind.

But nearly everybody does well comes to building houses. Kildare County Council gets lots and lot sof money in the form of levies, the landowners sell the land to the developers, the developers make profits selling houses to the public and the auctioneers get their commission (and newspapers get some advertising revenue).

There are two private housing developments being built on the ring road that connects the Kilcullen Road and Newbridge Road. Long before the first foundation was dug at either the footpaths and the underutilised cycle lanes were built.

Piper’s Hill College - as has been alluded to before - was open for some time before the footpaths leading to it from the town were finalised. The parents are being asked to pressurise the Department of Education by sending Section 29 forms to the Department. Section 29 allows a parent to appeal a decision to deny a student a school place.

There is planning permission for a new school at Millennium Park which will accommodate 1,000 students but for now the school exists in a smaller building at Craddockstown Road.

Planning issues have led to a delay and this in turn has made come people concerned.

The school’s board of management have been very proactive in efforts to find a solution - that is to fast track the building of the new school.

The BOM managed to squeeze some more places and so the first year class of 2018 will have 120 students instead of 96.

The successful names were simply drawn out of a hat and if places become available elsewhere in the town some names will be taken from list of 111 and given places and these places will be awarded by the end of January next.

BOM member and Fianna Fail TD James Lawless, who lives in Sallins is pressing the issue as forcefully as he can both with Department officials and the Minister Richard Burton.

Parents in Naas and surrounding towns are awaiting the outcome with some interest. They need to know the school will open on time.