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Minister Bruton announces plans to establish 42 new schools over the next 4 years

Phased start up initially with a view to ultimately providing over 20,000 new school places

New online system being developed to ensure parents have best information on all proposed models of patronage

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D. today announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next 4 years (2019 to 2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by his Department into the current and future need for primary and post-primary school places across the country.

We are fortunate in Ireland to have a growing population. However, this growth puts pressure on our public services. If we are to have the best education and training system in Europe, we must ensure that we adequately prepare for this future need by planning for the necessary modern school facilities now.

The Minister announced 42 new schools today - 26 schools at primary level and 16 at post-primary level, however he said that the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular would have regard to the impact of the increased rollout of housing provision to meet balanced regional development as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

The Department will also continue to monitor areas where the accommodation of existing schools may need to be expanded in order to meet the needs of the local population. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing schools.

For each new school announced today, a process will be run to establish parental preference for the patronage of that school. A key determinant of the successful patron, is the preferences of parents of pre-school children in that area. Patronage processes for schools due to open in 2019 will take place this year. The Minister also announced today that a new online Patronage Process system is being developed. This new system will allow for more efficient collection and processing of parental preferences.

Making the announcements today, the Minister said “Since 2011, we have created 122,000 new and replacement school places. We are now creating more school places than at any other period in the history of the State. In 2010, some 9,000 school places were created. In 2017, we built approximately 18,800.

“If we want to be the best in Europe, we need to make sure that we are planning for future need and providing state of the art facilities for future generations. I am announcing these 26 new primary schools and 16 new post-primary schools today which, together with large-scale projects such as school extensions and projects under the Additional Accommodation Scheme, will serve to meet education needs over the next 4 years across the country.

“For each new school announced to open in 2019, a patronage process for that school will take place this year .The new online Patronage system that is being developed will make it a lot easier and more efficient for parents to register their preferred patron and their preference as to whether the new school should operate through Irish or English.”

The Department’s website is also being updated to ensure that the current status of existing major projects in the school building programme is set out in a more user-friendly format. The status of projects will be more regularly updated to reflect their progress as part of the €8.4 billion investment in school buildings under Project Ireland 2040. Please see here:

Since 2011, we are building more school places than during any other period in the history of the state.

Since 2011:

· Large scale projects provided over 122,000 permanent school places (over 89,000 additional places and 33,000 replacement places).
· In addition, almost 53,000 permanent school places were provided under the Additional Accommodation Scheme. This is a devolved scheme that meets the demand for essential classroom accommodation for mainstream and special needs purposes such as those arising from demographics, adjustments to the pupil teacher ratio and prefab replacement etc.
· The Department remains fully committed to all projects on the existing building programme and is progressing all as quickly as possible.

Notes to editor