40 schools to be built to meet pupil numbers rise

 

FORTY primary and secondary schools are due to be built over the next six years to meet a sharp increase in the school-going population.

The Department of Education is forecasting an increase of more than 45,000 primary pupils and almost 25,000 secondary school students by the start of the school year in 2017.

Of the new schools, 17 will be in the Dublin area and 12 in the commuter-belt regions of Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth.

A further six schools will be established in Cork, three in Galway and one each in Wexford and Cavan.

Eighteen of the new schools were announced by the previous government but have yet to come on stream.

The estimated cost of building the schools will be about €380 million. Some are due to be delivered using public-private partnerships and others from public funds.

Hundreds of extra teachers will need to be recruited over the coming years which will require a relaxation of the embargo on public sector recruitment.

There will also be additional school extension projects to cater for the growth in the school-going population.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said despite the state of the public finances, he was confident the funding would be found and hoped teacher-pupil ratios in schools would remain the same.

“This is a good news story if you are a builder or unemployed construction worker and the product will not end up on a ghost estate,” he said.

In Dublin, the new primary schools will be based in Sandymount/Ringsend, Swords, Carpenterstown, Tallaght, Ballinteer (Stepaside), Firhouse/Oldbawn and Lucan.

Outside the capital, locations include Midleton/Carrigtwohill, Grange/Douglas, Mallow and Riverstown/Glanmire in Co Cork; Galway city (west) and Kildare town.

At second level, new schools will be based in Rush/Lusk and Ballinteer/Stepaside in Dublin; Dundalk, Co Louth; Greystones, Co Wicklow; Celbridge, Co Kildare; Carrigaline and Midleton/Carrigtwohill in Co Cork.

The locations of other schools were announced by the previous government.

At primary level they include Blanchardstown West and Mulhuddart in Dublin and Ashbourne, Co Meath.

The secondary schools include Gorey, Co Wexford; Doughiska, Co Galway; Navan, Co Meath; Naas and Maynooth, Co Kildare; Claregalway, Co Galway; Drogheda, Co Louth; and Kingscourt, Co Cavan.

The figures for the growth in the school-going population are based on anticipated demographic trends, as well as child benefit data.