CONCERNS have been voiced that up to 100 children in east Cork could be left without a place in secondary school in September.
The issue was raised in the Dáil by Cork East TD David Stanton who said that while there are pressures in east Cork each year with regard to school places, he is particularly concerned about the situation this year.
“Every year we have pressures in east Cork with regard to second-level school places. Thanks to the work of the departmental officials, the education and training board and the principals of the local schools, it has been resolved every year, but every year it becomes more pressurised and it takes longer,” Deputy Stanton said.
The East Cork TD said that principals came together earlier in the year and compared notes and lists, but that “from the work I have done on the ground, I am concerned there could be up to 100 students without school places in September unless serious action is taken.”
Deputy Stanton said he highlighted the issue with the Minister for Education before Christmas and that the Minister had noted the impact of issues such as duplication of applications, school of choice, pupils being unable to get a place in their preferred school, some towns having single-sex schools, and an external draw with people coming from outside of the area on the matter.
“All of these issues have been dealt with by the principals and we still have a situation where in some schools there are up to 40 students who have not applied to any other school and who are on a waiting list to go to one particular school."
Responding to the East Cork TD, Minister of State at the Department of Education, Deputy Josepha Madigan said the Department has been engaging with patron bodies in east Cork to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year which may necessitate action.
“I understand this process is nearing completion and the schools in the area will be in a position to offer additional places in the coming weeks.”
Deputy Madigan noted that it is also open to patrons of schools to submit applications for additional interim accommodation to the Department for consideration should this be required.
However, Deputy Stanton said that he was concerned about patrons asking for extra accommodation because there is no compulsion or onus on them to do that.
She said she would be taking the issue to the Education Minister and “ensure every child in east Cork will have a secondary school place in September.”