Department of Education spent €3m on renting temporary school space in Cork last year

More than a quarter of the schools using rented spaces have been waiting on permanent accommodation for at least a decade
Department of Education spent €3m on renting temporary school space in Cork last year

According to data released to The Echo through freedom of information, this €3m has been spent on renting temporary accommodation for 77 schools across Cork.

APPROXIMATELY €3m was spent on renting school space in Cork last year, with 80 schools in some form of temporary accommodation.

More than a quarter of those schools using rented spaces have been waiting on permanent accommodation for at least a decade.

The Department of Education has confirmed that circa €3m was spent on the rental of temporary accommodation at schools in Cork in 2021.

According to data released to The Echo through freedom of information, this €3m has been spent on renting temporary accommodation for 77 schools across Cork.

At both a primary and post-primary level, one in five Cork schools are renting temporary accommodation.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said that temporary accommodation being used in Cork schools is “a legacy of the period of rapid demographic growth over the last decade”.

They added that this is reflected in the fact that the majority of the temporary accommodation arrangements are at primary-school level, with 58 of the 77 Cork schools housed in temporary accommodation being primary schools.

The department said that another driver of temporary accommodation agreements is the reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio and improved provision for pupils with special educational needs. It said this has resulted in an expansion of more than 15,100 additional teachers across the school system in the last nine years. All but three of the 77 Cork schools have building projects either proposed or in train. However, some schools have been waiting a significant amount of time in temporary accommodation, with 22 schools renting temporary accommodation for a decade or more and three using temporary rented accommodation for at least 20 years.

The spokesperson said that proposed building projects for these schools are currently in progress across the various stages of planning, design, tender, and construction, most of which are expected to be either under construction or completed in the period up to 2025.

“The strong planning and delivery of school- building projects under the NDP is facilitating the integrated replacement of temporary accommodation with permanent school buildings as part of the project,” they said.

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