16. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason no new Gaelscoileanna are due to be opened in September 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14271/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): In November 2015, 13 new schools were announced to be established in 2017 and 2018; four of these were primary schools.  Following completion of patronage processes for all four schools in May 2017, three of the four were established in September 2017, one as a Gaelscoil in Ballincollig under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta.  The remaining primary school will be established in 2018.

From 2011 to 2017, 30 new primary schools have been established, 7 of which have been Gaelscoileanna, under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta.

- 2017   Gaelscoil an Chaisleáin, Ballincollig, Co. Cork

- 2016   Gaelscoil na Fuinseoige, Goatstown/Stillorgan, Dublin

- 2013    Gaelscoil Mhic Aodha, Kildare Town

- 2013    Gaelscoil Shliabh Rua, Ballinteer/Stepaside, Dublin

- 2013    Gaelscoil Teach Giúise, Firhouse/Oldbawn, Dublin

- 2012   Gaelscoil an Chuillin, Mulhuddart/Tyrrelstown, Dublin

- 2011  Gaelscoil na Mí, Ashbourne, Co. Meath

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required.  It is open to all prospective patron applicants to propose provision of Irish-medium education in their application.  Parental preferences for each patron from parents of children who reside in the school planning area, together with the extent of diversity currently available in the area, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.  Parental preference for the medium of instruction of the new school is a specific part of the assessment process and informs decisions concerning the school’s medium of instruction.  In this regard, prospective patrons were requested to submit completed parental preferences indicating the language through which parents would prefer their children to be educated.

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, incorporating data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises at primary and post-primary level to determine where additional school accommodation is needed.

It is anticipated that decisions based on current nationwide demographic exercises will be announced in the coming weeks, after which patronage processes will be run to decide both who will operate each school and the medium of instruction of these schools.