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Monday, 25th March 2024

Munster blames government’s lack of planning for school enrolment crisis

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Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster.

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has called on government to address the delays in school capital projects in the Drogheda area immediately. 

An unpublished school capacity survey found that three out of four parents are unable to secure spots at oversubscribed secondary schools. 

It also showed that every secondary school in the Drogheda area is oversubscribed, with the exception of one, which is classed as ‘fully subscribed.’ 

“It’s of enormous concern that Drogheda schools are oversubscribed” Deputy Munster said. “It’s a matter of major stress for parents and young people in Louth and East Meath. 

“These shortages of school places are a result of poor planning and delays in providing school buildings by government. 

“They are also a direct failure of a broken modelling system, that focuses on capacity in existing schools, while failing to take demographic changes or decades of long under-resourcing of schools into account. 

“With development under the Northern Environs Plan we’re seeing zoning and planning for thousands of new housing units underway. The population on the northside of Drogheda is going to dramatically increase and we need to plan for that. 

“Students are being forced to travel far and wide to find an available school. Many parents and their children, who in some cases live within metres of their school, are not able to secure a school place for the next school year. Families and students in Louth and East Meath deserve better. 

“When schools are oversubscribed, it follows that class sizes increase and we all know the detrimental impacts large class sizes can have on a child’s education, particularly those with special educational needs (SEN). 

“They create barriers to effective learning and hinder students’ academic and personal development.

Smaller class size will help increase individual attention and make it harder for students, particularly those with SEN to get left behind, this in turn will lead to enhanced academic performance. 

“Government must address this crisis immediately. Every child must have a school place come September.”

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