Newbridge's St Conleth's Community College special needs unit and school extension opens

The wait is over

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Newbridge's St Conleth's Community College special needs unit and school extension opens

Work being carried out at the St Conleth's Community College extension in Newbridge several months ago

The long awaited opening of the Special Needs Unit and the extension of St Conleth’s Community College in Newbridge finally took place yesterday, Monday November 5.

The new building was supposed to open in September for the start of the school term however, delays with certification and paperwork put an end to that target.

The parents of the six children enrolled in the special needs unit felt they were being left in the dark as the delay continued, leaving their children ten weeks out of school.

They expressed great relief when they were informed of the progress last Friday, November 2.

Yesterday, Dep Martin Heydon confirmed Kildare County Council last week approved all stages of the building control regulations for the 500 space extension.

“Not only can that significant extension now be used from Monday, it means the six children with moderate learning difficulties, who have been without a school place since September, will now be able to commence school in their new special unit in St. Conleth’s from Monday. Much needed good news for all of the parents and students affected,” he said.

“The ongoing review of second level future demand in Kildare South, which was due to be announced by the end of October, has now been extended to later in November on account of the significant workload on officials in the building unit of the Department in recent weeks.”

A statement issued by the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) last Friday, November 2 said it was delighted to confirm the council had validated the necessary building certification for the new extension.

“This means that the final steps to formally hand over the building to KWETB can be completed. Importantly, the school will now be able to avail of the new building’s Special Needs Unit, access to which has been delayed,” it said.

KWETB said it was mindful of “the difficulties the delay in commissioning the building has caused to students, parents, and staff”.

KWETB said it would like to thank all involved in the delivery of this project and to thank all those affected by the delay for their patience.

Dep Fiona O’Loughlin also met with the Minister on the ASD unit delays.

“Education is about supporting children to develop in all aspects of their lives and I am delighted that the six children in Newbridge will start their school year on Monday in the fantastic new facilities in St Conleth’s,” she said.

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