Planning for better schools

Sir, – The recent census revealed that the number of primary schoolchildren has increased by 44,000 in just five years. However, we are not providing enough facilities for them. Some five-year-old children in north Co Dublin have serious difficulty finding a school place.

We furthermore make it hard for parents to balance childcare and work commitments. I believe we can do better.

Let’s consider an educational levy on new housing developments. If we are building new homes for families, we know additional educational facilities will be needed. By levying large residential developments, we can ensure that resources for new school places will be made available as communities grow.

We should also compulsorily purchase new school grounds where they are needed. This is becoming increasingly urgent as our population grows but the State’s approach to educational planning lags.


The school day should start earlier. In continental Europe it typically starts at 8am, enabling working parents to make the office by 9am. This extra time could be used to eliminate homework in primary schools, as research shows that this does not increase a child’s skill level, and can put them off homework at secondary level.

Let us also put pre-school childcare facilities into every primary school in the country. Co-locating them allows parents with more than one child to do a single drop-off, thereby reducing traffic on our roads and parents’ stress levels.

Finally, let’s connect our schools and housing with a network of safe walking and cycling paths. This offers strong health benefits for our children, as well as traffic reduction and environmental benefits for everyone else.

By implementing these changes, I believe that we can better align our education system with the needs of parents today.

Most importantly, we can ensure that the school facilities we need are in place in good time for our growing population. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Stand by for a stretch of glorious weather as the children go back to school. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.