Wicklow People - - NEWS - By ES­THER HAY­DEN

PUPILS at Grey­stones Com­mu­nity Na­tional School face be­ing ed­u­cated in the func­tion room at Grey­stones Rugby Club be­cause of a lack of space at the school.

Deputy Stephen Don­nelly said it is para­mount that Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, Richard Bru­ton, in­ter­vene to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion. He said that while a site has been ear­marked for a new school con­struc­tion is not ex­pected to start un­til 2018. How­ever he said that he hoped it would be ready to open by Septem­ber 2018. The school which first opened its doors in Septem­ber 2015 has been op­er­at­ing from a se­ries of Por­tak­abins on the grounds of Grey­stones Rugby Club.

Deputy Don­nelly said it had been ini­tially flagged to the KWETB that two ad­di­tional Por­tak­abins would be needed this Septem­ber to cope with the in­creased stu­dent pop­u­la­tion at the school.

How­ever, as of last week, no ap­pli­ca­tion had been made by the KWETB, for fund­ing.

Deputy Don­nelly said that many par­ents at the school are op­posed to hav­ing their chil­dren ed­u­cated in the func­tion room of the club for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons.

‘Par­ents are very an­gry about this. They are ap­palled that the KWETB let this is­sue arise when they were warned of the prob­lem last year.

‘Some par­ents are against us­ing the func­tion room for re­li­gious rea­sons while some rea­sons sur­round al­co­hol con­cerns.’

Deputy Don­nelly has been work­ing closely with the par­ents and school all year to try re­solve the is­sue and raised the is­sue with Min­is­ter Bru­ton twice re­cently in ad­di­tion to mak­ing con­tact with De­part­ment of­fi­cials in For­ward Plan­ning Unit.

‘As of now there are two new more per­ma­nent Por­tak­abins re­quired but these haven’t been through For­ward Plan­ning and would also need plan­ning per­mis­sion from Wick­low County Coun­cil.

‘At that rate they won’t be in­stalled in time for Septem­ber so chil­dren will have to be ed­u­cated in the club­house.

‘It is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able that young chil­dren would have their class­room lo­cated in a bar. The need for the Por­tak­abins was raised months ago and se­ri­ous ques­tions need to be asked why it has been left so late. Wick­low County Coun­cil is do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to help, but I can­not un­der­stand why the KWETB didn’t have this is­sue sorted out months ago.

‘Par­ents feel they are be­ing stonewalled by the KWETB. There is ab­so­lutely no rea­son for this to be hap­pen­ing.

‘There is now no way of get­ting two semi-per­ma­nent Por­tak­abins in place by Septem­ber so par­ents want the KWETB or the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion to fund a sin­gle tem­po­rary por­tak­abin which will house both the af­fected classes as a bridg­ing gap un­til the most per­ma­nent Por­tak­abins are in place.

‘If this were to hap­pen there would be no need to force chil­dren to move into a func­tion room. It’s a rel­a­tively small amount of money needed to solve this prob­lem and I have asked the Min­is­ter to make that fund­ing avail­able im­me­di­ately.’

Deputy Don­nelly said that both Wick­low County Coun­cil and the Grey­stones Rugby Club had been very ac­com­mo­dat­ing say­ing the prob­lem was not of their mak­ing.

Grey­stones Com­mu­nity Na­tional School.

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