The opening of the much anticipated Malahide Portmarnock Educate Together Secondary School, has been postponed until 2018.
Educate Together has been working intensively with the Department of Education and Skills in its efforts to source suitable temporary accommodation for the school for September 2017. While efforts to advance plans on two sites have been ongoing, potential planning and other issues remain with both and there is no guarantee that these will be resolved by September.
Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate Together said, “All at Educate Together are extremely disappointed to have to postpone the opening of Malahide Portmarnock ETSS. Having been granted patronage of the school last November, it was hoped that accommodation could be sourced in good time to give parents some certainty around where they would be sending their children to school in September 2017. Unfortunately this has not transpired, but we are determined to work with the Department of Education and Skills to source suitable accommodation for a 2018 opening.”
He continued, “While significant numbers of students were enrolled for the school, following its sanction in November 2016, uncertainty around the temporary location of the school has resulted in the enrolment numbers understandably diminishing. They have now reached a point which is not sufficient to create a sustainable, dynamic learning environment. Educate Together is committed to opening the school in 2018 and, while difficulties regarding accommodation still exist, we will continue to work closely with the Department of Education and Skills and other stakeholders to ensure the school opens in suitable accommodation. The news was greeted with dismay by local TD, Darragh O’Brien (FF) who told the County Leader, ““This is gravely disappointing and that school is badly needed. There are pupils right now in the Malahide, Portmarnock and the greater Kinsealy area who can’t get into secondary school. The Government announced this school with great fanfare and I have put in at least 10 parliamentary questions every single month, specifically about the opening of this school.”
O’Brien continued, “I have been told time and time again by Minister Richard Bruton, as recently as two weeks ago, that the school would open this September, albeit in temporary accommodation and that they were well advanced in relation to their negotiations for the purchase of a permanent site. I intend to raise this again when the Dail is back, if it is the case that the school is not going to open until September 2018.”
“I have effectively been misled in the Dail by the Minister. He has told me in writing on numerous occasions, that the school would definitely open this September. This school needs to be delivered in this area and if you speak to people in Malahide Community School and Portmarnock Community School, they are sending students away. It’s a disgrace and I’m desperately disappointed, but I will continue to pursue this with Minister Bruton,” concluded O’Brien.