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11th April 2019 | Education, Press Releases

Surely there’s a better way for schools to be announced than by tweet?: Catherine Martin

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Catherine Martin, TD for Dublin Rathdown and Green Party Deputy Leader today said: “This week we have once again in Dublin Rathdown seen the drip-feeding of important information about schooling arrangements to the community in Goatstown made via social media.

“Many people in the community in Goatstown, with the new Goatstown Educate Together National School due to open this coming September, learned that a permanent site had been secured by vague and unspecific references on social media, with very little community engagement.

“I raised this issue with the Tánaiste today in the Dáil, and I am very disappointed that in his response to my question he did not address the need for Government to review how announcements of new schools and/or their sites are being communicated to communities.

“This new school was announced last year, only 12 months after parents at Our Lady’s Grove, Goatstown had been told by the Department that expansion of their school wasn’t seen as necessary due to lack of demographic demand in the area.

“In 2016, the Ballinteer Educate Together National School community learned vital news about their school relocation from a tweet.

“Almost every announcement in our area about schooling seems to be a surprise to the school community involved with little forward planning, and is not conveyed with appropriate engagement with the local community. This trumpeting by tweet, this teasing of information is incredibly unhelpful and disrespectful to the parents, children, residents and communities concerned.

“The Department needs to be aware that a school community isn’t just the staff and children and the patronage body – it’s parents, local residents in the area and community groups.

“Surely there’s a better way to communicate important news – the Department should be working with and keeping updated all of these people as important developments are announced, so that our communities are able to fully engage in a constructive planning process.”