We are asking that you send the email below to our local TDs regarding our concerns about the new secondary school taking residence in our primary school building. Please copy the email and send it to each of the following:
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I am following up on my email sent in March to the Department of Education and Skills (DES highlighting my concerns regarding the decision made by them, to accommodate the newly announced Greystones Community College (GCC) within the building for the Greystones Community National School (GCNS). To date I have received no response from the DES regarding my concerns
As my elected representative I am requesting that you contact, as a matter of urgency, the DES on my behalf to obtain answers to my concerns outlined below.
My concerns in relation to accommodating the secondary school in the GCNS building are:
1. Planning Permission
The planning permission granted (file ref: 17/780) on the 02nd October 2017, for the development of the Greystones Community National School building in Charlesland, was subject to 14 conditions. Condition number 1 states, “This permission refers to the development as described in the documents lodged, save as the conditions here under require.”
The documents lodged by the applicant (The Minster of Education & Skills) describe the development as, “New Greystones Community National School (Roll No.204731) consisting of as new 3-storey, 24-classroom 4,673sq.m primary school……”
When will the new planning permission be lodged, to facilitate the change of use to a mixed primary and post-primary school?
2. Delay to the occupancy of the new building for GCNS.
The original completion date for the primary school was June 2019. It is now March 2020 and we are still awaiting a move in date. As a result, our children are still without a library, a sports hall, adequate SEN rooms, playground facilities etc.
Can the DES guarantee that issues (including but not limited to planning & technical) around the decision to change the development to a mixed use primary and post-primary school development, will not delay the move of the primary school into its permanent home before the current school year is over and guarantee that the children and teachers of GCNS will be the first occupants of their new building?
3. Reduced access to facilities for the primary school children.
The new building offers possibilities to our children that cannot be made available in temporary accommodation. These include a library, sports/drama hall, space for after school activities, playgrounds etc.
Can the DES guarantee that full access for GCNS students and teachers to these spaces in the building will not be affected or reduced?
4. Risk that GCC will be accommodated for more than one year.
The children of GCNS have spent the last four and a half years in prefabs, so I am only too aware of how long the building process can take.
Can the DES guarantee that GCC will only be accommodated in the GCNS school building for no more than one school year? Is there an accommodation plan in place for GCC for the school year 2021/22?
5. Safety of the primary school children.
There is a material difference in capacity and maturity between primary school children and post primary school children. GCNS has strict policies and procedures in place that ensure the safety of our children. Many of these policies are not applicable at post primary level and vice versa for example there are exceptions to reporting requirements for mandated persons under section 14(3) of the Children First 2015, which would not apply at primary level. I am concerned that my child will be exposed to maturational behaviours and practices that are not appropriate for young children.
Can the DES guarantee that GCNS will be able to influence the policies and behaviour being adopted by the post-primary school students, to ensure they are appropriate for a primary school environment, while they are accommodated within the GCNS building?
If the above guarantees cannot be delivered upon, I request that the decision to accommodate GCC within the GCNS school building for the 2020/2021 school year be reversed and that GCC is located back to the existing prefabs at the Greystones Rugby Club.
I would appreciate a response in relation to the above highlighted matters,
[PLEASE INSERT YOUR NAME]
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