Ruari Quinn TD,
Minister for Education and Science.
Greystones School Capacity and Location
I think that the Department is not putting the schools in the correct locations and I also get a number of people having difficulty finding a school place.
The new part of the town is in the South (Charlesland 1600 high density homes and other close by estates 800 homes). The new schools are in the North, 5.6km away. The 3 older schools in the centre have been extended, often by getting permission at the last minute in April when people could not get into school that year. These schools are 3.3 to 4.5km from Charlesland and the older roads have poor paths and narrow roads for cycling. The result is everybody drives creating major traffic jams. These will get worse as numbers build up.
The Council has zoned space in Charlesland for 2 new Primary Schools and a third Secondary School (on the advice of Wicklow’s planners) none of which are approved by the Department of Education. The new areas have very good footpaths and cycle paths and most could safely use them to get to a school in Charlesland instead of being driven across town at the moment.
From a Town Planning viewpoint it is blindingly obvious there should be a school in Charlesland. A new school should have been built there instead of extending the existing schools on an ad hoc basis each year. It might cost the Department a bit more in the short term. However another 600 prospective houses are zoned here (the land is serviced) in the immediate Charlesland area so this capacity will undoubtedly be used. I think this Charlesland School should be approved now. Council staff say the land can be purchased.
I have illustrated this on a map which I will scan separately in case it does not go through.
The existing school and the new one opening this year have a combined 240 nominal places between them. The outturn of the 7 local primary schools this year is 290 rising to 471 by 2021.
I had expected that the new Educate Together School announced for Bray would take at least 60 from Greystones because of the demand from the large ET Primary School here. However I am now led to believe that that school may not include Greystones in the catchment area. This would have postponed the need for a third Secondary School by a couple of years. I think that the Bray ET should include Greystones, and possibly Wicklow Town, in the catchment as this will give a couple of years grace until the third school is needed in Greystones.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Cllr Derek Mitchell