Par­ents seek clar­ity on school’s fu­ture

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

PAR­ENTS of chil­dren at North Wick­low Ed­u­cate To­gether Sec­ondary School in Bray are de­mand­ing an­swers as they await con­struc­tion of a per­ma­nent school build­ing.

NWETSS is cur­rently on Put­land Road, in premises also used by Bray Adult Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre and for­merly part of the Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege cam­pus.

In let­ters sent to min­is­ters, TDs and govern­ment of­fi­cials in Wick­low, DunLaoghaire-Rath­down and na­tion­ally, par­ents have ex­pressed their frus­tra­tion about what they say is a ‘lack of progress’ in build­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate school for their chil­dren.

A De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son said that a ma­jor cap­i­tal pro­ject to pro­vide per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion for North Wick­low Ed­u­cate To­gether Sec­ondary School is be­ing ad­dressed through the De­part­ment’s Cap­i­tal Pro­gramme. ‘It is en­vis­aged that this ac­com­mo­da­tion will be pro­vided through a cam­pus ar­range­ment with a lo­cal In­sti­tute of Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion on its cur­rent site,’ said the spokesper­son. ‘This pro­ject will also in­clude the re­de­vel­op­ment and pro­vi­sion of en­hanced ac­com­mo­da­tion for the In­sti­tute. In the con­text of ini­ti­at­ing ar­chi­tec­tural plan­ning for the pro­ject, the de­part­ment is li­ais­ing with Kil­dare and Wick­low Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Board. The de­part­ment will con­tinue to li­aise with the school’s pa­tron in this re­gard.’

In a state­ment last week, the par­ents said: ‘We ex­pect the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills to up­hold its com­mit­ment to build a per­ma­nent school. In­stead it ap­pears that no progress has been made at all on the de­vel­op­ment, de­sign and con­struc­tion on the site iden­ti­fied of­fi­cially al­most 16 months ago, on the No­vara Road cam­pus.

‘Now we find that the there has been no pro­vi­sion made to house the school once the lease on the tem­po­rary premises ex­pires a month be­fore the end of the cur­rent school year and be­fore the Ju­nior Cer­tifi­cate ex­ams. This ne­glect of our chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and wel­fare is ut­terly un­ac­cept­able.’

The par­ents said that the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills and the KWETB have failed to sort out any dif­fi­cul­ties, to pro­vide stu­dents with ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­i­ties in the in­terim and to pro­ceed with con­struc­tion of a build­ing.

In July 2017, the school’s board of man­age­ment con­firmed the lo­ca­tion of the forth­com­ing build­ing, while prin­ci­pal Jonathan Browner said that they had no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion at that time re­gard­ing when to ex­pect a move.

The pro­ject had orig­i­nally been ear­marked to be­gin in 2018.

The Labour Party’s general elec­tion can­di­date in Wick­low, Jack O’Con­nor, said that the lack of a per­ma­nent home for NWETSS has left the school man­age­ment and par­ents alike with lit­tle se­cu­rity for the ed­u­ca­tion of stu­dents into the fu­ture.

‘It must be re­mem­bered that the North Wick­low Ed­u­cate To­gether com­mu­nity were awarded the pa­tron­age of a new sec­ondary school as far back as Novem­ber 2013, five long years ago,’ said Mr O’Con­nor. The lease for the cur­rent premises ex­pires in April 2019, weeks be­fore the start of the school’s first ever Ju­nior Cert.

‘I un­der­stand that a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion has taken place with the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and the Kil­dare Wick­low Ed­u­ca­tion Train­ing Board but no as­sur­ance has yet re­ceived from ei­ther body to al­lay the fears for the fu­ture of the school,’ he said. ‘It is my un­der­stand that there were plans to lo­cate the ET Sec­ondary School in a new school build­ing on the grounds of BIFE on No­vara Av­enue.’

The cur­rent home of North Wick­low Ed­u­cate To­gether on Put­land Road.

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