CORK EAST FINE GAEL TD, DAVID STANTON secured a Dail debate regarding the severe shortage of second level school places in East Cork. Deputy Stanton secured a commitment from the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn TD that he would meet him to discuss how the shortages in school places can be addressed.
“The large population growth in the Midleton area in recent years had led to a huge demand in school places. Analyses I carried out in 2007 and 2010 shows that there were 1,500 extra pupils in local primary schools in just three years. Figures from the Department of Education show that as many as 64 new primary classrooms will be needed by 2015 and 77 new classrooms required by 2020. Both Midleton Educate Together and the Gaelscoil desperately need new premises.
“However, while it is clear that primary school enrolments are steadily increasing it is the post primary sector which is seriously under pressure to meet demand for places. Secondary schools in Midleton and Carrigtwohill are full, and schools in Fermoy and Cobh are also under pressure. Many of these schools have applied to the Department for extensions and improved facilities but these have not yet been approved.
“The Department of Education has estimated that almost 400 extra second level school places will be needed by 2015. Longer term estimates show that one new secondary school will be needed in Midleton, one if Carrigtwohill and one in Cobh by 2020. It is clear that in the long term Carrigtwohill needs a new co-educational school and I understand that the VEC are examining this option at the moment. Second level provision in Midleton is also an urgent issue and I hope that something can be done to address this.
“I am regularly contacted by parents who have children on waiting lists for secondary school and are very concerned. It was a recurring issue on the doorsteps during the general election campaign also. People are very worried. Minister Quinn described the shortage of second level places as a “serious crisis”. I hope to work with him to address this crisis and secure viable long-term solutions to second level schools places in the East Cork area.