Lack of access to a local secondary school
Sir, – I see once again that it is time for the feeder schools supplement (December 5th), and the usual guff about “progressive efforts” to “crack structural inequalities” in access to third-level education.
Meanwhile, hundreds of pupils in Dublin face a more fundamental educational injustice: lack of access to a local secondary school. Inchicore, for example, has four excellent primary schools –three of them Deis schools – but no co-educational or boys’ school. Similarly, there is no secondary school in either Kilmainham or Chapelizod. More than that, through visits to open days it has become apparent that many of the schools that are accessible are not equal to the schools of other parts of Dublin. For example, of the three closest coeducational schools to Inchicore, two do not offer chemistry or physics to Leaving Cert.
And yet, when a new secondary school opens in 2018, billed as a school that will serve Dublin 2, 4, 6, and 8, it will open in Sandymount. I need not point out that this part of Dublin already has secondary schools, and that to get to Sandymount from Dublin 8 it takes an hour and two separate buses.
Thus when we assess why students from certain areas are discouraged from attending third level, we should consider very carefully the educational messages the State is sending to those students when they finish primary school: we don’t care if you have to travel long distances to school, we don’t care if you never see your friends again because they are dispersed to a dozen schools around the city, and we don’t care if many of the schools you do have access to will give you fewer choices than those available to students in other places. In short, you no longer count. – Yours, etc,