Capital plan: O’Sullivan expects 62,000 extra school places

Initiative includes funds for 19,000 primary spaces and 43,000 at post primary

The capital spending plan announced on Tuesday includes funding for 19,000 additional primary school places which will be required by 2018, when enrolments in the sector are set to peak.

Funding for a further 43,000 additional post-primary school places required by 2022 will also be provided.

Money will be allocated to a programme of replacing “pre-fab” accommodation with permanent classrooms and facilities.

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan welcomed the “significant” capital funding over the next six years of €3.8 billion for projects under the remit of her department.

“By comparison the initial allocation under the previous five-year capital programme was €2.2 billion,” she said. “This is a very significant investment in education, a policy decision that has been a hallmark of this Government.”

Ms O’Sullivan said an additional 60,000 school places at primary and post-primary level had already been provided by the Government through new build and extensions projects.

“The new six-year investment programme will fund the construction of 62,000 additional school places at primary and post-primary level to address demographic demand,” she said.

“Funding will also be available for the refurbishment of schools in older buildings that require improvement...I am particularly pleased that the plan includes funding to replace prefabs with permanent accommodation.”

The Minister said the plan also provided for investment of €210 million in IT and wireless broadband capacity in schools.

“At third level some €350 million will be invested in improving facilities at campuses across the country, with €40 milion dedicated to the major DIT development underway at Grangegorman.”

Enrolments in the primary school sector are set to peak in 2018 and projected to fall thereafter. The peak will affect the secondary level sector by 2025.

Educate Together welcomed the investment announcement, saing it was "much needed and long overdue".