Belfast Telegraph

Patrons to apply to run new schools

School patrons will be able to apply to run 40 new schools due to be built across the country over the next six years.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said that under the new arrangements the patrons must show evidence parents want their children educated in schools run by them.

They are being built to cater for the increased demand from a projected 70,000 extra pupils by the start of the 2017 academic year.

"Parental preferences should be at the centre of considerations about the type of school to be recognised," Mr Quinn said.

"The new arrangements will provide that patron bodies proposing schools at either primary or second level will be asked to provide evidence of demand."

Of the 40 new schools, 17 will be in the Dublin area while 12 will cover the capital's commuter belt in Wicklow, Kildare, Meath and Louth. The remainder will include six in Cork, three in Galway, and one each in Wexford and Cavan.

They will generally be 16-classroom primary schools and up to 1,000-student post-primary schools.

Mr Quinn said his officials are forecasting an increase of more than 45,050 primary pupils and 24,900 post-primary pupils by the start of the 2017/18 school year.

Building costs will total 380 million euro, with some public-private partnerships. There will also be additional extension projects to existing schools.

A new schools establishment group will also be set up to advise the minister on the patronage of the new schools. It will be chaired by Dr Seamus McGuinness, a retired senior lecturer at Trinity College Dublin's education department.

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