Don­nelly seeks study for new sec­ondary school


Bray People - - NEWS -

A NORTH Wick­low TD has called on the Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion to ex­am­ine the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other sec­ondary school for Grey­stones as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

Deputy Stephen Don­nelly wants Min­is­ter Richard Bru­ton to con­duct a ca­pac­ity study, which would take into ac­count the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of the town.

Re­fer­ring to the cam­paign for Grey­stones Com­mu­nity Na­tional School, which has only been granted plan­ning per­mis­sion in re­cent weeks, Deputy Don­nelly said the turn­ing point was a meet­ing with Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion n of­fi­cials where the depart­ment’s growth h pro­jec­tions were chal­lenged.

‘Grey­stones has a rapidly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, which wasn’t be­ing fac­tored into pro­jec­tions,’ he said. ‘Once this was changed, the num­bers made the case for the new Charles­land school.’

With the new pri­mary school se­cured, the Grey­stones Deputy is now turn­ing his at­ten­tion to en­sur­ing there are enough spa­ces avail­able lo­cally when chil­dren move onto sec­ondary level. While the town is al­ready served by St David’s aand Tem­ple CCar­rig, quite a num­ber oof stu­dents aare leav­ing Grey­stonesGreysto ev­ery day to at­tend school.

‘Ev­ery year I speak with par­ents wor­ried about sec­ondary school places. The town is blessed with two fan­tas­tic sec­ondary schools. How­ever, ev­ery day many, many stu­dents leave the town for school, which is not as it should be. And the num­ber of stu­dents is grow­ing fast,’ he said.

‘So it’s time to see what the Depart­ment thinks: do the num­bers stack up? If so, we need to start think­ing about a new school now. In my pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence cam­paign­ing for Grey­stones Com­mu­nity Na­tional School, the process is a long and drawn out and may take a num­ber of years.’

‘I’ve asked the Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion to con­duct a full de­mo­graphic anal­y­sis of fu­ture need in the area with a view to en­sur­ing that there is space long term for th­ese chil­dren,’ said the TD.

Mean­while, Deputy Don­nelly is also de­mand­ing the Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion carry out an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into fire safety breaches at Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath. The depart­ment re­vealed last week that the Grey­stones school was one of five na­tional schools in the coun­try which failed to com­ply with fire safety stan­dards.

School Prin­ci­pal Rita Ní Thuathail told this news­pa­per that the school had lob­bied the depart­ment to get ac­cess to the re­port for two years and its con­tents had come as a shock. The main is­sue was the lack of il­lu­mi­nated emer­gency light­ing while an up­grade of the floor struc­ture to meet a 60-minute fire re­sis­tance stan­dard was also re­quired. The school has been given a sched­ule of works, which are due to be­ing in eight to 12 weeks time.’

While Deputy Don­nelly com­mended the school on its re­sponse, he said that ‘ they, their staff and their stu­dents should never have been put in this po­si­tion.’

‘When were th­ese fire breaches found? Why were they not iden­ti­fied be­fore the school was opened? Could any other Wick­low schools, teach­ers and stu­dents be at risk? We need a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion into th­ese and many other ques­tions.’

Deputy Don­nelly has called on the Min­is­ter to con­duct a full re­view of all schools im­pacted, par­tic­u­larly those schools still un­der con­struc­tion.

‘Even if th­ese breaches are tech­ni­cal in na­ture, it is deeply wor­ry­ing that they could have re­mained for so long with­out either iden­ti­fi­ca­tion or rec­ti­fi­ca­tion. Par­ents ex­pect and de­serve to know that the stan­dards put in place to keep their chil­dren safe are be­ing ad­hered to,’ said Deputy Don­nelly.

DeputyDe Stephen Don­nelly (left) also wants a full re­view in­toin fire safety breaches at Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath.

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