Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has slammed the Department of Education and Skills and said that North Wicklow Educate Together has been badly let down by them.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday evening Deputy Brady said “Since the North Wicklow Educate School in Bray opened in August 2016, they have been treated appallingly by the Dept of Education and Skills. The school was due to reopen again on 28 August in temporary accommodation in the old Ravenswell school in Bray. This follows the ending of the lease in the old Presentation College building on Putland Road.
“It now transpires that a licence agreement between the Department and the owners of the old school the Religious Sisters of Charity still hasn’t been signed. This is needed to allow contractors to carry out extensive refurbishment work before Educate Together moves in.
“In the Minister’s reply to me in the Dáil she said that the delay in signing the licence agreement was due to Covid and that the Department are working on contingency arrangements if the school building project is not completed in time for the start of the new school year.
“This is a shocking situation created by the Department. North Wicklow Educate Together have completely packed up in the old Presentation College school building as they had been assured that they would be in Ravenswell in time for the new school year, now as it currently stands, they don’t know where they will be. The situation is made worse by the complete lack of information coming from the Department to the school.
“The treatment of the school by the Department has been appalling from when it was opened in 2016 in the temporary premises in the old Presentation College school on Putland Rd, Bray.
“The Dept was aware of a 2015 High Court agreement between the former owner and the Kildare Wicklow Education Training Board for vacant position of the premises in April 2019.
“Last year right up until the 12th hour the school didn’t know where they would be located for the 2019/2020 school year. Finally, at the last moment the Dept informed the school that a 12-month extension was secured on the lease, but they had to be out by 30th June just gone.
“In January this year it was announced that the school would move temporarily to another old School, the former Ravenswell Building in Bray from September 2020. It now appears that the school is being badly let down by the Department’s foot dragging.
Deputy Brady concluded “The Minister needs to immediately take this issue in hand and ensure that the licence is signed allowing the work to proceed so the school can reopen on 28 August as planned. The education of the children has already been disrupted due to Covid19; we don’t need it further disrupted by the inaction of the Department.”