Sunday 17 December 2017

Sheehan taken to school on catchment area rules in enrolment debate

Cllr George Lawlor.
Cllr George Lawlor.

THE crisis in secondary school provision for students, especially those pupils attending Wexford town schools, was highlighted by Cllr Michael Sheehan.

In a wide ranging, multi faceted motion, Cllr Sheehan called for an audit of enrolment numbers in the county, information on the level of secondary students travelling outside their catchment area and third level progression.

Cllr Malcolm Byrne seconded the motion, adding that an evidence based plan is needed. He said with the numbers coming through primary schools, an additional 2,000 secondary school places are needed.

Simplifying the motion, Cllr Deirdre Wadding said: 'We need to find out how many places are needed for kids in 6th class. We definitely need a new secondary school for Wexford.'

Cllr John Hegarty said although he agreed with the sentiment of the motion, he questioned how it was worded, adding that enrolment numbers are available via a phone call.

'There is no catchment area. It doesn't exist. Third level progression, I am not sure how that is relevant.'

Cllr George Lawlor said he raised this issue 18 months ago.

'I'm delighted he has finally decided to come on board,' he said, adding that children are travelling from Gorey to attend school in Wexford town, meanwhile pupils living opposite the school can't get a place.

Cllr Lawlor said a new school is needed for the town, adding that this could involve Selskar College, while Educate Together is also looking for a premises in the town.

'We are dealing with the department of Education who have no foresight.'

Cllr Michael Whelan said Ramsgrange Community School has pupils from Passage East and schools in New Ross have pupils from South Kilkenny, expressing concern about creating catchment areas.

Chairman Tony Dempsey said catchment areas may need to be created, adding that the council has to work with ministers Paul Kehoe and Brendan Howlin on the matter.

Wexford People

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