A new secondary school is needed in East Cork to address a clear shortage of places and rapid population growth, according to concerned parents and community members.
It is all too common to hear the accounts of children in the area left without a secondary school place until well into the year, according to the East Cork Educate Together Secondary School group.
“Some do not find places at all,” said Niamh Wylde, spokeswoman for the group. “Other students are forced to take up places in Cork city schools and begin their day at 5:30 am.”
A number of issues affect demand for secondary school places in East Cork, with demand particularly pronounced between Midleton and Carrigtwohill.
Now research carried out by the East Cork Secondary School groups pinpoints the demand, suggesting there are insufficient school places now, and in the future, to meet the surrounding areas.
New housing developments have attracted young families, and more than 8,500 residential units are currently zoned for development between Carrigtwohill and Midleton.
Statistics collated by the group from school enrolment data indicate that there was a greater percentage increase of enrolments both at a primary level and a post-primary level in East Cork, which was not seen at Cork County and at national levels.
Census data also shows how the population structure of young people up to the age of 18 in East Cork differs from that in Cork County and at a national level.
There were also more 0 to 8-year-olds in East Cork and lower proportions of 12 to 18-year-olds - the reverse of what was seen at nationally and in the county. This will lead to a “surge in demand” for places.
Census data also those people identifying as having ‘no religion’ or ‘not stated’ in both catchment areas greatly exceeds national and county levels. Currently, more then 540 students attend Midleton Educate Together National School.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said it is aware of the demand for additional post-primary school places in East Cork.
"Similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, the Department is engaging with patron bodies in East Cork, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year, or years, which may necessitate action including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions."