Solution for Balbriggan school must be found by end of mid-term break, says FF

Update 8.57pm: A solution must be found to ensure students at Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan can go back to school soon.

Fianna Fáil's Education Spokesperson Thomas Byrne says the issue needs to be resolved before the end of the mid-term break.

Transition Year students have been told to stay at home this week after one of the school buildings was found to be unstable.

The Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board have say they may have to relocate students or get prefabs on site to ensure they can accommodate everyone.

Mr Byrne says the Department of Education has to come up with something and expects the transition year students to be accommodated again by the end of the mid-term break.

"Certainly, I wouldn't accept it beyond of Halloween break," said the Meath East TD.

"Yes, we can accept it as an emergency this week, and for their safety, this has to happen, and their not an exam year.

"But really and truly, I would expect this to be resolved by the end of Halloween break."

- Digital Desk

Update 11.45am: No concern for other schools after 'significant structural issues' discovered at Balbriggan school

No plans are being made to check other schools built by the same company that constructed Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.

The school was forced to close one of its buildings after an engineer discovered serious structural issues during a fire safety audit.

Students may now have to be relocated or prefabs brought in to temporarily replace the 18-room building.

CEO of Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB, Paddy Lavelle says at the moment they do not have cause for concern regarding other schools built by Western Building Systems.

"I don't know to what extent other schools may have been affected," said Mr Lavelle.

"But each building is unique, I don't expect that it is the same type of issue everywhere.

"Certainly in our case it is something that's significant and that has to be addressed over the near time.

"There are schools that we have had that are dealt with by Western but none of them have identified with this type of issue."

Earlier: 200 students affected by closure of school building due to 'significant structural issues'

Up to 200 students at a school in Balbriggan in Dublin will be taking classes elsewhere this morning.

A section of the building at Ardgillan Community College was closed with immediate effect over the weekend after a fire safety assessment found "significant structural issues".

Ardgillan College in Balbriggan. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

The Department of Education along with school management took the decision to close part of the school in the interests of the health and safety of the students.

Paddy Lavelle, Chief Executive Officer in the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board, says transition year students have been asked to stay at home this week.

"There are 910 students currently going to the school, there are about 90 transition years involved so they have been asked to stay at home and that will allow us to manage the rest of the students within the new school building which is the phase two building," said Mr Lavelle.

"We hope that after the midterm break there will be other arrangements to ensure that every student gets education from then on."

The decision to close Ardgillan Community College in Balbriggan was taken by management and the Department of Education on Friday, when a fire safety check highlighted the problem.

In a statement DDLETB said: "DDLETB and the School Management have emphasised that their absolute priority at all times is the health and safety of students and staff and the above measure is therefore considered appropriate."

Digital Desk

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