Depart­ment buys site in Black­lion

Bray People - - NEWS FOCUS -

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.

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