In recent weeks local Fianna Fail Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has impressed the urgency to the Minister for Education Norma Foley TD in relation to a shortage of available school places in the town of Newbridge, and Kildare, both in mainstream and for those with special educational needs..
In response to the issues raised, the Minister acknowledged that the Department of Education is aware of increasing pressures and demands for additional post primary places in South Kildare and is working to solve the problem.
Full commitment has been given to a new school building which will replace Curragh post primary school. This new building will facilitate and 1,000 students and once completed will address the demographic need in Kildare, Curragh and Newbridge and surrounding villages such as Milltown, Athgarvan and Suncroft. At present the Department of Education is in advanced negotiations with landowners to secure a suitable site to provide this additional capacity. Fiona has expressed ger concern about capacity in the intervening years.
Thankfully, St. Conleths Community college have agreed to enrol an additional 1st year class for the 2021/2022 school year to cater for a total capacity of 1,000 students.
The new accommodations for Cross and Passion College Kilcullen and the Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge will also increase their intakes to cater for 1,000 students respectively in the near future.
Senator O’Loughlin commented on the situation saying, “I have been in regular contact with my colleague Minister Foley in relation to the school place shortages in South Kildare.”
“I acknowledge that the issue is firmly on the Minister and her Departments agenda, and that concrete actions are being taken to deal with the shortage.”
“Many parents have made contact with me who are struggling to find an appropriate school place, particularly in Newbridge, and the stress is palpable. I have voiced their concerns and struggles at the highest levels and will continue to use my position as education spokesperson to try and solve this shortage. ”
Fiona concluded “The issue of school places has been ongoing for some time, but we needed to see real engagement from the Department, and I believe from my dealings with the Minister that we now have that.”