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Matthews seeks assurances regarding secondary school places for Wicklow

Date: 15 March 2022

Green Party TD, Steven Matthews has written to Minister Norma Foley and senior officials within the Department of Education seeking assurances that the confusion and upset caused for parents and students regarding the allocation of first year secondary school places last year in Greystones is not repeated anywhere in Wicklow this year. Deputy Matthews made these submissions by letter and via the Parliamentary Question channel and has asked that resources are put in place to ensure the smooth transition of all students from primary school to secondary schools in the Wicklow catchment area. Discussing the issue, Deputy Matthews said:

“As anyone caught up in the issue last year in Greystones will recall, the allocation of 1st year places in was badly mismanaged. It wasn’t an issue that impacted everyone but through no fault of the parents/ students, many ended up being caught up in an extremely slow and upsetting allocation process that went on till the summer.

“Last year, it required the intervention of the 5 Wicklow TDs, monthly meetings with the Department and countless correspondences between our offices on behalf of parents and students to the Minister. This is not an efficient or fair way of doing business, particularly when you are dealing with students who are already facing a challenging transition into secondary school.

“I fully accept that Greystones is a rapidly growing area and that this adds logistical issues to school allocations, but this was foreseen by elected reps and parents long before the Department of Education took substantive action in finalising waiting lists and ultimately students getting offered places. At the time I commended the Department officials who were ultimately successful in accommodating every student on the waiting list but called for a full review of the process so that it wouldn’t play out in the same manner again.

“In her reply, Minister Foley has assured me that all measures are in place to avoid a repeat of any of the significant challenges faced last year. If there are any specific concerns in relation to the allocation of school places, I would encourage parents to drop me an email directly and I would be happy to help in any way I can, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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