I warmly welcome confirmation from the Department of Education & Skills that Scoil na Mainistreach in Quin will receive eight additional classrooms. I have worked closely with the school in recent months and years and appealed directly to Minister Ruairi Quinn on behalf of the school.
Today, the department of Education & Skills have written to the Board of Management outlining a plan for the future development of the School in which they confirm that additional accommodation is required in a stand alone building, to address needs from September 2013 onwards.
I want to say firstly that this is a very good day for the community in Quin and surrounding areas. The local school authorities have battled for a long time to have their case heard. I was happy to take their case to the heart of Government as I believe the particular demands in terms of pupil numbers both present and projected together with the sheer lack of space in Quin deserved special attention.
Thankfully, the Department & Minister for Education agreed with me and have made a decision to proceed with the development of an additional eight classrooms in Quin to meet the huge pressure there in terms of pupil numbers.
The additional eight main stream classrooms will be provided to the school to allow it to grow to a twelve classroom facility.
This accommodation will be provided as a stand alone building on the school site. It is projected that this accommodation will be needed by September 2013.
I have had a series of contacts with the Minister for Education in relation to this school over a long period of time and particularly over the last few months. This is wonderful news for Quin, for the school itself and the pupils and parents who depend on it.
I want to pay tribute to the school principal Anne Fitzpatrick and the Board of Management for their tireless work to arrive at this point. I also want to thank my Government colleague, Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn, for taking on board my representations and making this decision in the best interests of pupils and the wider community.
See below a copy of my correspondence to the Department of Education.
Subject: Scoil Na Mainistreach, Quin, County Clare RN 14757N
Dear Minister Quinn,
I am making representations on behalf of Scoil Na Mainistreach, Quin, County Clare RN 14757N in respect of their recent submissions to the Department of Education & Skills dated the 5th of October & 13th October 2011.
Scoil Na Mainistreach have applied for grant aid for the provision of permanent accommodation for the 2012/13 school year. Their correspondence referred to above includes a completed application requesting grant aid for an additional classroom and a third Learning Support room. One of their classrooms and two of their Learning Support rooms were deemed unfit by the Department last year and the process to replace these temporary buildings with a permanent structure is now in place as per the grant issued on the 2nd of June 2011.
The School Board have requested an extension in the drawdown of the grant for this project so that consideration can be given concurrently to both applications. The Board and their Architect, Mr. Michael Leahy are of the view that it would be more cost effective if approval was given for a two storey structure as opposed to the single storey permanent structure already sanctioned. As part of this application Mr. Leahy submitted plans on the 13th of October to the Department.
The local Inspectorate in its report published in June 2011 commented “the school building is now deficient in meeting the needs of the current school population. As it is expected that the school population will continue to grow, the current building is likely to be increasingly deficient in meeting the school’s needs into the future”. This fact is borne out in the projected figures of enrolment from 2012 to 2016 which are as follows 2011 – 259 enrolments, 2012 – 273 enrolments, 2013 – 295 enrolments, 2014 – 314 enrolments, 2015 – 324 enrolments and 2016 – 331 enrolments. Quin Village was highlighted in the 2011 Census Figures as a centre of major population increase experiencing a jump of 38.7% from the 2006 Census figures.
Scoil Na Mainistreach is a very progressive school, it’s located in the Ennis area which is identified as an expanding area by the Department, the projected enrolment figures together with the Census figures make a very strong case for the sanctioning of the two-storey building sought by the school authorities. I fully support the schools application and am asking you as Minister for Education & Skills to give it strong consideration.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.