1,200 pupils must wait until later this week before schools reopen

1,200 pupils must wait until later this week before schools reopen
Tyrrelstown Educate Together

Latest: Two Dublin schools facing concerns over their structural safety will remain closed until later this week.

1,200 pupils must wait until later this week before schools reopen

The Department of Education and Skills held a meeting today with the school authorities at Tyrrelstown Educate Together National School (ETNS) and St Luke’s National School to discuss the impact of the precautionary measures completed on Sunday.

ETNS and St Luke’s were forced to temporarily close due to safety concerns over two weeks ago.

Further work will be undertaken on Tuesday, and occupancy will initially be at ground-floor level only, with other classes being temporarily accommodated off-site.

A department spokesman said: “The Department is working closely with the school authorities to facilitate the reopening of both schools as soon as possible.

“Taking account of the time also necessary to address operational issues, such as traffic management, over the course of today, tomorrow and Wednesday, all parties are now working towards the schools reopening later in the week.”

The details of when the schools will open will be communicated by the school authorities directly to parents.

A total of 42 schools are being examined and preliminary indications suggest in many cases the structures are sound.

Education minister Joe McHugh previously stated that initial assessments on schools with structural issues would be completed by Tuesday evening.

The developer at the centre of the controversy is Western Building Systems (WBS).

The review was prompted amid concerns for the integrity of facilities built by the Tyrone-based construction firm between 2009 and 2013.

Western Building Systems said the Department of Education had declared each of the closed schools to be “fully compliant” after construction was completed.- Press Association

Update 6:43pm: It will be Thursday before 1,200 pupils can return to two West Dublin Schools.

Tyrellstown Educate Together and St Luke’s National School both remained closed today, despite safety work to address structural issues being carried out over the mid-term break.

They've been closed since October 24.

The Department tonight issued a statement saying it's working closely with school authorities to facilitate the opening of both as soon as possible.

A three-hour meeting between school representatives and Department of Education officials took place earlier.

Only the ground floors will reopen on Thursday, meaning some students will take shuttle buses to temporary accommodation.

Education Minister Joe McHugh says the schools will be safe for students.

"The engineering solution for the ground floor and putting strengthening and supporting systems in place is something the engineers will stand over," he said.

A review of how the Department of Education awards school building projects is to take place after the structural defects controversy.

19 other schools built by Western Building Systems reopened this morning after works were carried out.

Mr McHugh says it’s clear proper building compliance was not followed in every school building project: "This is a case of poor workmanship in some schools but it also proves that this company was in a position to build 19 schools to the best proper compliance that was necessary but obviously this wasn't adhered to in every school."

Update 7.54am: Two schools remain closed this morning as the schools building controversy continues.

St Luke's National School and Tyrrelstown Educate Together, both in Dublin, will not open their doors to around 1,200 students.

The schools had hoped to open the ground floors of their buildings this morning, however, a decision was taken last night to keep the schools closed because work to make the school safe was not finished to a high enough standard.

That is despite the Department of Education confirming that safety measures were in place for 22 schools in time for class this morning.

Elsewhere, one school building will remain closed at Ardgillan Community College in Dublin - and 19 schools have been cleared to open fully.

Kateryna Kozyk's daughter goes to Tyrellstown Educate Together and says many parents are struggling to find childcare

"My situation is different now that my husband can stay with her [daughter]," said Ms Kozyk.

"But I know a lot of families where both parents work and it's a huge problem because they can not find childcare and they don't know for how long they have to arrange that.

So they have to arrange relatives and childminders. It's very expensive and it is completely unclear when it will be sorted out.

Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Donnelly has been speaking to parents in Tyrrelstown in West Dublin and he says it is a difficult situation for parents and children.

"There's just so many issues that have to be addressed," said Mr Donnelly.

"There's safety issues, there's the bus issues, there's transport... It is a really difficult situation for everybody.

"Tyrrelstown is a brilliant community and I know that they are pulling together as much as they can but there is no doubt about it, there are huge concerns still"

Earlier: 19 schools cleared to open fully as building controversy continues

22 schools are expected to have safety measures in place in time for class this morning - as the schools building controversy continues.

One school building will remain closed at phase 1 of the Ardgillan Community College in Dublin - and 19 schools have been cleared to open fully.

Ardgillan Community College
Ardgillan Community College

Work continued late into the night as teams rushed to complete the required precautionary measures recommended following structural assessments on schools constructed by Western Building Systems.

The Department of Education says five teams involving over 250 workers have been on site through the weekend to facilitate the reopening of schools this morning.

Students were heading for bed as the Department issued their latest update, that 19 schools had been cleared to open

A Department source says school principals have been kept informed of progress throughout - and parents are being contacted by their school authorities directly, about local arrangements.

- Digital Desk

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