Ronan Moore, the Social Democrats’ general election candidate for Meath West, has welcomed the Department of Education’s announcement last night that it will reverse a decision to cap enrolments on five Educate Together schools in Trim, Tuam, New Ross, Tramore and Castlebar.

The Department had earlier this year instructed these five schools to cap intake of Junior Infants at half-stream – 13 pupils for the next school year, instead of the standard full-stream intake of 26.

Mr Moore said:

“I am pleased the strong outcry against the decision from parents, school staff, boards of management and the patron body Educate Together, has resulted in this unfair and discriminatory decision being reversed.

“However, serious questions about the future of these schools remain. The Department has said that the schools can now grow to full-stream, but within the ‘constraints of the accommodation that can be made available’.

“All five schools are currently housed in temporary accommodation with the promise to move into permanent buildings as part of the divestment process, but none of these are close to being ready.

“For example, in my home town of Trim, Co Meath, the Department is still expecting the Educate Together to relocate to a disused primary school building which has been lying vacant for many years, which can only accommodate four classrooms and has no green area whatsoever.

“What is more, there have been objections to the school’s relocation due to a lack of parking capacity and excessive traffic.  How can Trim Educate Together become a full-stream school if this is the only accommodation offered?

“I am calling on the Department to invest in a new purpose-built school for the Educate Together in Trim so that the school can grow to at least full-stream and our children are educated in an appropriate, modern day, safe environment.”

ENDS

24 March 2018