BREAKING NEWS: New secondary school for Dunshaughlin

Dunshaughlin is to get a new secondary school, Meath East TD and Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne has announced.

Speaking from Brussels this morning, Minister Byrne said that with the massive population explosion in the village, another secondary school is a necessity for the future young people of the area.

Dunshaughlin Community College with over 1,200 students has continued to expand, while there are three primary schools in the village – St Sechnall’s NS, Scoil na Rithe, and the new Dunshaughlin Community School, as well as several primary schools in the hinterland catchment area.

The first step will be establishing a patronage process with a public consultation on who will ultimately run the new educational facility.

The news means that Dunshaughlin will become the first Meath centre outside the towns of Trim, Navan and Kells, to have more than one secondary school.

Department of Education announcement:

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has today invited school patron bodies/prospective school patron bodies to apply for the patronage of four new post-primary schools to be established in September 2021.

Minister Foley said: “This is an unusual and challenging time for school patrons and school communities. It is important that the patronage process for the post-primary schools which are to open in 2021 is conducted in as normal a fashion as possible, with patrons being given the opportunity to apply to run the new schools, and parents given the opportunity to express their preference on the choice of patron.

“Despite the continuing situation with regard to Covid-19, it is important that the 2021 post-primary patronage process gets underway now in order that the incoming school patrons have sufficient time to make the necessary preparations for the schools’ opening in 2021.”

Today’s invitation follows on from the announcement since 2018 of the establishment of 45 new schools to cater for demographic growth over the four-year period from 2019 to 2022.

The Department has recently completed the first step of an updated review of demographics at post-primary level, having regard to updated information on demographics and additional residential development. Following this review the Minister for Education has approved a number of changes to the list of post-primary schools to be established in 2021, as follows:

New post-primary schools, not previously announced, will be established in the following school planning areas:

• Dunshaughlin

• Gorey

A patronage process is run after it has been decided that a new school is required.

Accordingly, a patronage process will now be undertaken in respect of the four post-primary schools to be established in 2021 which will serve the following school planning areas:

• Ballincollig

• Booterstown_Blackrock & Dún Laoghaire

• Dunshaughlin

• Gorey

Prospective patrons should complete an application form available on the Department’s website https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Establishing-a-New-School/Establishing-a-New-School.html and submit it to the Department by e-mail by 3p.m. on 21 October 2020. The information in this form will provide key information to parents and guardians in expressing a preference, which is one of the key determinants in decisions on patronage.

Inviting applications from interested patrons/prospective patrons today, Minister Foley said: “Parental preferences for each patron, from parents/guardians of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity of provision currently available in these areas, will be key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.”

An online patronage process system (OPPS) has been developed to provide objective information to all parents and guardians which will allow them to make an informed choice in expressing a preference for their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education, including their preference for their child to be educated through the medium of Irish or English. The OPPS will open for parental preferences soon after the patron application process is completed.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). This Group was set up in 2011 to advise the Minister on the patronage of new schools following its consideration of a report prepared by the Department on the applications received.

The schools will be established in line with the requirements and criteria originally announced in June 2011 for the patronage of new schools. These requirements and criteria are published on the Department’s website and will also be provided to prospective applicants. Applicants must confirm that they will comply with each of the requirements and criteria in order for their application to be processed.

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