Petition is successful with 1,227 signatures
To: Minister for Education and Skills
Finish Our School
After various activities such as protest march, public meeting, meeting with Minister Bruton to hand in this petition, the building project to complete Lusk Community awoke from a three year hiatus and work finally commenced on-site a few weeks ago. People power won over bureaucratic inertia!
Lusk Community College was supposed to be completed for the beginning of the 2015/2016 school year. We now learn that the second phase required to complete the building is chalked in for 2018. In the meantime the staff and students have to contend with sub-standard facilities and overcrowding. Please finish the construction of our school.
Why is this important?
As parents of children attending Lusk Community College we were dismayed when the second phase of the school building which had been promised for September 2015 did not materialise. It has since come to our attention that despite the urgent need for additional space and facilities in the school, there are further delays to the second phase of the building being completed. Correspondence sent to a parent by the Department for Education and Skills on 22nd of September 2015 (Ref: 31873/15) and 1st of October 2015 (ref: 33688/15) via local representatives indicates that all statutory approvals have been obtained and the design team were working on stage 2b. However, in the Department listing of Major Projects it is stated that the project will not proceed to construction until the year 2018.
This is completely unacceptable. The first phase was intended to cater for 350 students, yet there are already 380 students accommodated in the school, and as of September 2016 there will be 530 children attending the school. This inaction by the Department is already leading to significant overcrowding and under-provision of facilities which will be further exacerbated with every new intake of students. The consequences of the delays include:
• Compromising of the health and safety of the students and staff.
• Increased requirement for prefabs which contribute to disruption to daily routines, increased costs in the short-term, reduced space in school grounds for sport and leisure and possible issues with disabled access.
• High density of students congregating in the single communal area, with no scope for different spaces for junior and senior students and a lack of seating at lunchtime.
• Insufficient classrooms to cater for specialised subjects. For example, in the Department of Education subject inspection of Science and Biology published on 14th January 2016 it states: “…given the high practical content of the Junior Certificate Science syllabus, one laboratory is insufficient to provide all seventeen science classes timetabled at the time of the evaluation.“ There will more than seventeen science classes in 2016-2017.
• Inappropriate use of space due to timetabling difficulties posed by insufficient number of standard classrooms. For example 30 pupil classes are taught in rooms intended for specialised subjects with smaller groupings such as Woodwork and classes being taught in the open communal area next to the school reception area.
• Lack of other school facilities including: library, ASD Unit, Sports facilities and changing facilities.
• Lack of provision of subjects such as technology and metalwork.
• Creating a bad impression within the community to the point where local families are again sending their children to schools elsewhere.
After a wait of over 30 years for a post primary school for Lusk the opening of the first phase of the school was heralded as a new stage for the town and surrounding areas. Lusk is a growing town with a large population of young children who will be reaching secondary school age within the next few years. These children as well as current students moving through the junior cycle and embarking on transition year and Leaving Certificate courses must be catered for within Lusk in a school of the calibre that was promised.
Our Constitution Article 42 1.1 states “We should cherish all the children of our nation equally”. The overcrowding and unfinished nature of Lusk Community College does not reflect this provision.
We urge you to consider all of the above as a matter of urgency and to revise the proposed timelines to bring forward the completion of our school accordingly.