Department buys site in Blacklion
FOLLOWING ON FROM a presentation by the North Wicklow Educate Together 2nd Level Action Group at last week's sitting of Greystones Town Council, Cllr. Stephen Stokes said he believed a second level Educate Together school was ‘ needed in Greystones immediately to provide balance'.
Cllr. Derek Mitchell said, ‘ Clearly the town needs a new school, if not this year then in a year or two but it is not in the capital programme up to 2014.' He said the Department of Education had, however, purchased land for a new school in Blacklion.
He said he felt the addition of a new school in the town would encourage people receiving education outside of Greystones to stay in the town ‘ and I think Educate Together is the best way to offer that choice'.
Cllr. George Jones said, ‘I think we have to give people a choice, there is a great choice of primary schools. Greystones is a very peculiar town in terms of second-level education.'
He said in the past all males were educated outside the town as St. David's was originally a very small secondary school for girls.
‘ There has always been a blind spot in terms of second-level schools and it's a very complicated situation. I wish you well in your endeavours and we all want the best facilities in terms of education for the town.'
However, Cllr. James O'Sullivan was not convinced it was a matter for the council. ‘ We had the County Wicklow VEC here last month and I said the same thing to them. I am very conscious that this issue can often be turned into a political football. I think it is most important that the Department of Education carry out a fair and measured response and I think local education is very important. I can completely empathise with your needs but I will be staying out of the matter. I think it is a matter for the Department.'
Cllr. Tom Fortune held a similar view. ‘ I don't think this body will have any function here but there is an absolute need for a second level school. There is a lot of similarities between your vision and that of the VEC I wonder is there a possibility for both bodies to come together to develop a school where you get what you want and they get what they want.'
Amy Mulvihill of Educate Together said that while there were many similarities there were also many differences.
Cllr. Simon Harris said, ‘We need to provide a diversity of education and I think it is important when the Department of Education are making a decision on patronage it is transparent and democratic. If it is the democratic wish of the town for a new school under Educate Together, I think the Department needs to take that on board.'
Cllr. Chris Maloney said, ‘It is not really our job to decide on a particular school but to lobby for a school to come to Greystones. What I want to see is the best standard of education in the town.'
Cllr. Kathleen Kelleher wondered what feeder schools would service the second level Educate Together and what would be the catchment area.
Ms. Mulvihill said those decision were up to the Board of Management.
Cllr. Ciaran Hayden said that he had a daughter in 6th class in St. Kevin's NS and she was the only girl in her class going to St. David's with the majority of her classmates going to the Loreto in Bray by choice. He said he agreed that the council's most important job was to lobby the Department of Education for a new school. ‘I think we should worry about getting a school and we can worry about patronage after.'
St. David’s School in Greystones.