Quinn says 20 secondary schools being built to meet rise in student numbers

Education Minister also considering training of teachers in science, technology, engineering and maths

Education Minister Ruairí Quinn: “A number of these schools have already commenced operation, and the remainder will open between now and 2016.’’   Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Education Minister Ruairí Quinn: “A number of these schools have already commenced operation, and the remainder will open between now and 2016.’’ Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

He said they would cater for an estimated 1,000 pupils per school. “A number of these schools have already commenced operation, and the remainder will open between now and 2016.’’

Mr Quinn said the delivery of major school projects to meet significant demographic demands would be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years.

Additional classrooms
He added that the department would also consider applications from schools for funding for additional classrooms where an immediate enrolment need was arising.

Fianna Fáil spokesman on education Charlie McConalogue said the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals had raised serious concerns about the shortage of qualified teachers to deal with the soaring number of pupils expected to enter the second-level system. Its director, Clive Byrne, had predicted a 15 per cent increase in new students in six years’ time.

Mr McConalogue said there was particular concern that there was no data available on the number of teachers likely to retire in the next few years.

Mr Quinn said proposals would be brought forward for the training of teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Sinn Féin spokesman Jonathan O’Brien said there was a need to ensure teachers coming out of training colleges would fill the shortfall caused by those retiring.