Hundreds of children will struggle to get school places due to building delay, say campaigners

Work yet to commence on promised 1,000-pupil secondary school in Greystones despite enrollment pressure

Hundreds of children will struggle to access secondary school places in north Wicklow due to delays in the construction of a new 1,000-pupil school, campaigners have warned.

Construction has yet to commence on a permanent building for Greystones Community College, which was originally scheduled to open this year.

If it is not completed by September next year, campaigners estimate that the school – currently located in prefabricated units spread across the local rugby and GAA clubs – will have to reduce its intake by around 100 first year students due to space constraints.

On Friday afternoon, students from the college, as well as primary schoolchildren and their parents, took part in a “walk of solidarity” which finished at the site of the planned school in Charlesland, just outside Greystones.


Anya Llewellyn, chair of Greystones Community College’s building committee, said the enrolment situation was “out of control” and a direct consequence of poor planning and delays in providing school buildings.

She said many parents and their children, who in some case live within metres of their school, were anxious that they could not secure a school place.

“It is causing extreme stress and anxiety for the parents and students seeking to enter secondary school each year,” she said.

All three secondary schools in the town – Temple Carraig School, St David’s Holy Faith Secondary School and Greystones Community College – are oversubscribed.

The three principals warned last year that there would be 72 fewer secondary school places in the 2024/25 school year due to delays in constructing permanent school buildings.

However, in recent days, Minister for Education Norma Foley told local representatives that an additional 47 places are being made available to accommodate first-year students in the area.

She said more will be done when “clearer numbers for the requirements are made available”.

In relation to the plans for Greystones Community College, she said an invitation to tender for the project issued in April 2023 as part of a bundle of projects for ten schools.

She said the tender evaluation process is “well advanced” and will be coming to a conclusion shortly.

“Once the contractor has been appointed, it is anticipated that construction will commence shortly thereafter. The construction duration for the project is estimated at 65 weeks. The Department will continue to keep the school and its patron body updated as the project progresses,” she said.

She said requirements for school places are kept under ongoing review in the context of available information on population, enrolments and residential development activity.

All children who require school places will be provided for, she added.

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Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent