Cllr Naoise O'Cearuil
The patronage of two new Kildare primary schools to be established this year has been announced by the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh.
Educate Together will have patronage of an eight classroom english speaking primary school in Leixlip and An Foras Patrunachta will be patron of a new eight classroom gaelscoil in Maynooth.
The two are among 12 to be announced nationally with another at Dunshaughlin in Meath.
The Department of Education said that in all cases, the Minister accepted the recommendations of the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).
The schools were announced in April 2018 to serve a number of locations nationwide under increased demographic pressures.
The Department of Education said it is envisaged that these primary schools will be established in interim accommodation initially, pending permanent accommodation solutions being put in place as part of the Department’s Design and Build Programme. “The Department has appointed a project manager to assist in the procurement of interim school accommodation for the schools opening in September 2019 and interim accommodation solution options have been identified for all of the schools.”
Cllr Naoise Ó Cearúil said the the new primary school in Maynooth is due to open in September this year. “The Department have said that they are actively looking for a suitable location for the school.”
Cllr Ó Cearúilsaid parents in the town had “a significant input into the awarding of the patronage as they had the opportunity to vote on their preference through a departmental website.”
Other bodies that applied for the patronage in Maynooth include the Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board, Scoil Caitríona, the Church of Ireland and Educate Together.
An Foras Pátrúnachta are an Irish language patron based in Maynooth business campus and are the patron for most gaelscoils in the Country.
Cllr Ó Cearúil said: “I am delighted that the parents of Maynooth and the Department have decided that there should be a second Gaelscoil in the town. My parents established Gaelscoil Uí Fhiaich in the town in the 90’s and it has grown to such an extent that there is a large waiting list. This decision means that education through the medium of Irish is now more accessible to everybody. This announcement, along with the announcement that a Gaelcoláiste is to be established in 2019 shows the strength of Gaeilge in our community.”
Orla Matthews of the Leixlip Educate Together National School campaign group also welcomed the news. She said: '“We are so happy to finally have an Educate Together National School here in Leixlip. Leixlip has a diverse community and we have been campaigning for years for a multi denominational school to cater for all beliefs, we are just so relieved it is an Educate Together and now we can’t to enrol my son for September."
Minister McHugh said the establishment of these new schools forms an essential part of plans to ensure that sufficient new school places are available to cater for the growing cohort of pupils at primary level over the coming years. “Additional places will also continue to be provided by extending existing provision, as included in the Six Year Programme of Capital Investment in Schools 2016-2021,” he said.
The Minister also said: “Parental preference has become a key determinant in deciding the patronage of new schools and I’m pleased to say that the views of parents as expressed through the process are strongly reflected in the decisions I have made.”
The patronage process for new schools is overseen by the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). This independent advisory group was set up in 2011 to advise the Minister on the patronage of new schools following its consideration of a report prepared by the Department on the applications received. Minister McHugh accepted the recommendations of the Group in all cases in respect of the four post-primary schools due to open in September 2019.
The members of the NSEG are Joe Hamill (Chairperson), Retired Secretary General of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc, Head, School of Education, National University of Ireland Galway and Professor Sarah Moore, Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick.