Ahead of the Department of Education's review of its school building programme, to determine what additional schools will open over the next number of years, the Galway Educate Together Second-Level Startup Group will meet local TDs to press for a new secondary school for the city.
The meeting will take place on Monday April 9 and the GET2LS is anxious to press its case as Galway was not included in the last round of new post-primary schools announced by the then minister for education and skills in 2015 - despite the year on year increase in student numbers Galway has been experiencing.
Since 2015, student numbers have continued to grow at both primary and post-primary levels and by 2019, Galway post-primary student numbers will exceed available capacity. Furthermore, the 2016 census figures showed an increase of more than 3,000 in the Galway city and suburbs population over the 2011 census figures. The Government’s recently issued National Planning Framework document, Project Ireland 2040, projects that Galway’s population will grow from its current 80,000 figure, to 120,000 by 2040 – an increase of 50 per cent in the next 20 years.
According to GET2LS PRO Maggie Hall, it is "critical the Department plans for this scenario by including a new post-primary school for Galway in the forthcoming announcement". The group pointed out that, since Educate Together was recognised as a second-level patron in 2012, it has opened nine new post-primary schools, such as in Cork, Limerick, and Dublin, with four more opening this year. With five Educate Together primary schools in County Galway, the lack of a post-primary option in Galway is "increasingly glaring".
"Students need a breadth of skills and attributes to succeed in today’s diverse world and changing workplace,” according to Educate Together CEO Paul Rowe. "They need to be able to learn, unlearn, and relearn throughout their lives. Our second-level schools aim to provide an education that will enable all students to contribute meaningfully to their communities, embrace the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society, and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to live their lives and to build their careers in the 21st century.”