Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 20 October, 2005
Written Answers - Multi-Denominational Schools.
Mr. McCormack Mr. McCormack
181. Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Education and Science if a decision will be made in order that the State puts the development of multi-denominational education on a statutory footing and to make it an objective of the national development plan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29862/05]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: In accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998, I, as Minister, am obliged to have regard to the need to reflect the diversity of educational services provided in the State. Applying this provision to the development of multi-denominational education, at primary level, my Department has supported the establishment of a significant number of new multi- denominational schools in recent years. Of the 24 new schools granted provisional recognition in the past three years alone, 12 are multi-denominational. At post-primary level, the requirement for multi-denominational education is met by the State sector through non-designated vocational education committee schools.
To underpin the establishment of new schools, my Department has made a number of changes in recent years which have assisted patron bodies in the provision of accommodation. One of these changes, which was strongly welcomed by the patron body for multi-denominational schools, was the abolition of the local contribution to the building costs for State owned school buildings, which had cost up to €63,000 per school. Other innovations include the development of the design and build model to provide permanent accommodation much faster, such as in the case of the new multi-denominational school in Griffeen Valley, Lucan, which was designed and built in less than 13 months.
Many multi-denominational primary schools are established in areas of rapidly expanding population growth. School building projects in these areas are assigned a band one rating under the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects. This is the highest band rating possible, which results in the delivery of permanent accommodation in the shortest timeframe achievable.
These measures are a strong indication of my Department’s commitment to supporting an educational diversity agenda, including multi-denominational education provision. It will continue to do so as part of its own statutory obligations and in the context of the national development plan, which is structured to support the development of all educational sectors regardless of ethos.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers Multi-Denominational Schools.