Anxious wait for parents and pupils over demand for Trim school places
Huge demand for places in Boyne Community School in Trim means that at least 30 children are still without a place in the school this September, causing much worry and stress for both parents and children.
Karen Dempsey, whose son Aaron is in sixth class in St Michael's Primary School in Trim, said he is the only one of his friends who did not get into Boyne Community School. He was 117th on the waiting list after the first round of offers and after a number of rounds, he is still 30th on the list.
They live in Trim and did not apply to any other schools as it wasn't feasible to travel to another town and they want him to go to school in Trim, where his sister is already in Scoil Mhuire.
“He is very upset. He has six or seven close friends and they have all got in. He is the only one in his friends group that hasn’t. Kids have been through enough already with Covid. It is really unfair to all the kids that havent got a place,” said Karen.
This year a total of 362 applications were received for 192 places. While siblings automatically get a place, the rest of the places are given out on a lottery basis to the remaining children from a wide catchment area. It is understood that this year, 92 children had siblings in the school already.
Karen feels that the school needs to change its enrolment policy so that children from Trim are given priority, especially as boys don't have any alternative school in the town.
She said if a child has a sibling in the school, they automatically get a place but after that, it is a lottery that includes other areas outside Trim. Her two other children are girls- one has gone through Scoil Mhuire and the other is still at school there. “Boys in Trim don’t have any other schools to apply to in the town. “They are saying children from Longwood for example can apply to Trim but they have a school there. Trim schools should have priority as there is nowhere else for boys.”
She said she and her husband are both working and wouldnt be able to get Aaron to school in another town and feel they shouldn't have to when they live in Trim.
“He was originally 117 and is now down to 30th but I dont know how many more places will become available. I haven't applied anywhere else for him, I shouldn't have to.”
School principal Jean Ryan said they are still working their way through applications and have been in constant contact with parents in relation to their applications. She added that they will continue to do this over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, local councillor Noel French said the situation causes huge distress and worry for parents and has happened on a regular basis over the past ten years.
He said: “I think the school first of all needs more accommodation, more classrooms and more facilities for practical subjects.
“I think there is something wrong with the system when every few years, we have a major problem with it.
“It causes huge distress and worry for parents and children and this has happened on a regular basis over the last decade and I think something should be changed so that this worry and stress is taken away. If that takes more accommodation and facilities that that is what is needed.
“I think it is ridiculous that children going to a Trim primary school and from Trim town or the Trim area cannot be sure of a place in their local secondary school. As far as I am concerned, there should be places for any student that wants to attend.”