Ryan calls for action to reduce school waiting lists
Sinn Féin TD for South Kildare, Deputy Patricia Ryan, has written to the Minister for Education asking her to address the long waiting lists for school places for next year.
In answer to my Parliamentary Question on the waiting list for schools in Kildare Town and Monasterevin, Minister Foley replied that she is now aware of the increasing pressures and demand for additional post-primary school places in a number of school planning areas including Monasterevin and Kildare town. She feels that the long waiting lists may be driven by duplication of applications.
From talking to Parents, this is not a major factor. We need to stop being surprised by waiting lists. We know how many pupils are in 4th, 5th and 6th class in our Primary schools. We need to look ahead and address the future need for Secondary schools. At the moment we are fire fighting, building Prefab classrooms and cramming students into them. This wouldn’t be necessary if we planned ahead.
The Minister also thinks that one of the problems is that pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school, but there are places in other schools in the area. This would not be a problem if our schools had equal opportunities to improve their facilities. It’s only natural that parents want the best for their children, they shouldn’t have to choose between schools because one is suffering from neglect.
She also references external draw, pupils coming from outside the local area, as contributing to the problem. If these pupils had schools with free places in their own area, we would not have this problem. Going to Secondary school is a stressful time of change for many pupils, we need to stop adding to their stress. We need to ensure there are enough places for everyone.
I am asking the Minister to look at the future needs of our schools over the next few years, look at the number of houses planned in these areas, and put together a plan to deliver school places for everyone that needs them. We shouldn’t be pinning our hopes on a new school on the Curragh, we need new school places close to the population centres. We should be making it as easy as possible for pupils to get to school, and to reduce our car dependency.