Parents of schoolchildren in Greystones and Kilcoole are being left in the dark regarding the patronage of the proposed secondary school, according to Social Democrats Councillor Jennifer Whitmore.
The new school set to be located in the Charlesland area of Bray, and set to serve the areas of Kilcoole and Greystones, is due to open in September 2020.
However, the Department of Education is yet to announce who will run the school.
Whitmore, a councillor in the area, expressed the concern of parents of children, stating that the transition to secondary school is difficult enough without the added stress of a lack of transparency over the patronage of the school.
“I am being contacted on a daily basis by parents concerned at the delay in deciding a patron for the new school and the lack of information being given out. It is now nearly 8 weeks since the patronage competition for the school closed, and there is still no information as to who will run the new school.
“Until that decision is made, there can be no progress towards hiring the Principal, establishing a Board of Management or locating accommodation for the school. There is a considerable volume of work that needs to be undertaken before the school can open in September of next year.
“This delay in progressing the school is placing a considerable amount of stress on parents and children. In particular, parents of children with any special educational requirements don’t know if the new school will be able to meet their needs.
“I have written to the Minister for Education to ask that he speed up this process and to outline the impact it was having parents and children. I know many parents have also done similar. Unfortunately, I have only received the standard departmental response so far,” said Whitmore.
The councillor concluded – “Ultimately, transitioning to secondary school is a big milestone for children and should be an exciting time for them. Instead, we have a large number of students in our locality who do not know what school they will be going to next year, what friends they will be with, or what type of subjects they will be able to do. It’s just very unfair, and I believe, unnecessary and I ask the Minister of Education Joe McHugh to please bring some urgency to this decision.”
Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly also expressed his concerns over the lack of transparency surrounding the governance of the new school.
In response, Donnelly called for early admissions to be opened at the earliest time possible.
“At this very moment there are hundreds of children in North Wicklow who don’t know which secondary school they’ll be able to attend next September. Our number one priority must be to ensure that there are enough places to provide a local education for them.
“Offers have just gone out for St David’s and Temple Carrig secondary schools, and while some pupils are celebrating their acceptance, many others have been left languishing on waiting lists.
“The Minister for Education could easily allow early admissions for the new secondary school opening in the Greystones/Kilcoole area in September 2020. This simple step would add a huge number of extra secondary school places to our community and provide reassurance for pupils and parents that supply will meet demand,” said Donnelly.