Worry for parents as report shows most secondary schools in Dundalk are oversubscribed

Most of Dundalk secondary schools are fully or oversubscribed according to an unpublished Department of Education report.

The report, which was revealed in the Irish Times, is ‘very worrying for Dundalk parents’, Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú says.

The Dundalk deputy said the report showed that Dundalk Grammar School, St Mary’s College and Coláiste Rís were oversubscribed for September 2023, while Coláiste Chú Chulainn was fully subscribed and the status of St Vincent’s Secondary School (with 905 students) and Bush PP (with 815 students) was unknown.

Only St Louis secondary school (with 492 students) and Ó Fiaich College (with 289 students) are undersubscribed.

Deputy Ó Murchú said parents are ‘rightly worried’ about getting a school place for their children in coming years.

He also highlighted the fact that parents with children with special educational needs are facing ‘an even tougher battle’ with many of the autism units and classes in secondary schools oversubscribed.

He said: ‘We are in this situation because of a direct failure of a broken modelling system, that focuses on capacity in existing schools, while failing to take demographic changes or decades of long under-resourcing of schools into account.

‘Many parents and their children, who in some cases live within metres of their school, are not able to secure a school place for the next school year.
‘It is placing avoidable stress and pressure on families and they deserve better.

‘Oversubscription of schools naturally equates to increased class sizes and we all know the detrimental impacts large class sizes can have on a child’s education, particularly those with special educational needs.

‘They create barriers to effective learning and hinder students’ academic and personal development.

‘Sinn Féin believe that smaller class sizes in Louth are vital as they can facilitate greater student participation and engagement.

‘Smaller class size will help increase individual attention and make it harder for students, particularly those with special educational needs, to get left behind and this in turn will lead to enhanced academic performance.
‘Government must address this crisis immediately. Every child should have a school place come September’.

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