18 May 2022

Educate Together "disappointed" it won't be involved in running new Curragh Post Primary School



Educate Together has welcomed the announcement of urgently needed plans to expand educational provision in South Kildare, while expressing surprise and disappointment that these plans will not provide an additional option for parents seeking diversity of school choice in the area through a trustee partnership.

It was announced on Monday that the Curragh Post Primary School will be expanded to 1,000 pupils and moved to an 8-acre site on the Magee Barracks site in Kildare town.  

Parents in South Kildare have been campaigning for an Educate Together second-level option for the area since 2014.

In December 2018, the then Minister for Education Joe McHugh TD announced the replacement and expansion of the Curragh Post Primary  School with a new 1,000 pupil school building, with the potential for Educate Together to become a Trustee Partner for the school.  

Educate Together said it agreed to work with Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) to explore whether a partnership could be established to meet the demand for school places in the area.

A statement from Educate Together said:

"Educate Together held meetings with the ETB between 2018 and 2020 and proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

"However, the ETB has now declined to enter into a partnership arrangement, preferring instead to continue to operate Curragh Post Primary School without Educate Together’s involvement as a Trustee Partner.  

While Educate Together welcomes the provision of these additional school places, the school patron body is extremely disappointed for the many families who have campaigned over the years, that Kildare Wicklow ETB has declined an offer to work with Educate Together in relation to an ETB / Educate Together partnership school, as originally envisaged."  

Educate Together said it will be seeking clarity from the Department of Education about how it intends to address the demand for Educate Together provision in the area.

Speaking about yesterday’s announcement, Dr Emer Nowlan, CEO of Educate Together said:  

“We welcome the announcement that the Magee Barracks site is to be used for much-needed additional school places, and wish the staff and school community of Curragh Post-Primary School well in their move to Kildare town.

"However, we share the disappointment of hundreds of families in South Kildare who campaigned over many years for the choice of an Educate Together second-level school for the area.”  

Educate Together is patron of three primary schools in Kildare, and is joint patron with KWETB of Celbridge Community School.

Speaking separately, Dr Deirdre Keyes, Chief Executive of KWETB,  welcomed the news that a site has been purchased by the Department of Education for a new state of the art post primary school facility for the mid/south Kildare Region.

She said she especially welcomes the confirmation that the school will accommodate up to 1,000 students and will have
four Special Education Needs (SEN) Units.

Dr Keyes added: "The new school will be a multidenominational, co-educational Community College.

"Curragh Post Primary will be a school for all and will provide parents and students with an exciting opportunity to avail of excellent educational opportunities in a contemporary holistic school setting.

"The school will operate under the patronage of Kildare and Wicklow ETB. The ETB will work in partnership with local schools and key partners."

In particular Dr Keyes said she looks forward to continued engagement with Educate Together as the school

Dr Keyes commended the work of local groups, public representatives, The Curragh Post Primary School, ETB and Department officials who have worked tirelessly over the last number of years lobbying for this much needed new school provision.

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