The photo above and letter below appeared in The Echo on 27th December, 2017:
I am writing to you in response to your excellent article in The Echo on December 1 about a letter sent to the Dept. of Education by councillor Martina Genockey requesting attention on the urgent need for a secondary school in the Saggart/Citywest area.
I am an activist and parent with Citywest Educate Together Secondary School Campaign. We have been campaigning since 2014 for an Educate Together secondary school in our community to follow the wonderful education our children have been afforded in Citywest Educate Together National School.
Frankly, we thought we’d plenty of time, but now it seems the Dept. of Education is ignoring the need for secondary schools in our area despite setting up four primary schools.
I was one of the original campaigners for the start up group for this school, and The Echo was also a great supporter of this campaign. In no small way did The Echo help our campaign to gain public attention.
And look at our primary school now. It is thriving and has exceeded my biggest dreams for my children’s primary school, and it gives the area a choice of education.
So far, our secondary school campaign has yielded results – we successfully worked with local councillors when we started, to make provision for a second-level school in the local area plans for Citywest.
Most people think we’re a fairly new area, but I’ve lived in Citywest for 18 years and we’ve been exporting our teenagers to other communities for second-level education for even longer than that.
With a population explosion in the area, and even more houses being built, it seems insanely poor planning to make provision for four completely full primary schools and no secondary school for miles.
Our first class in Citywest Educate Together National School graduates in 2019 and needs a secondary school that year.
Are we to see this first Educate Together class split up and take up places in other community’s schools?
We want them to stay together and stay in their own community, causing less congestion on the roads and less congestion in other schools. What Dublin public school doesn’t have an overcrowding or oversubscribed issue?
Over 1,900 children will attend four national schools in our area in the next three years – it seems unfathomable that the Dept of Education has made no provision for secondary education for all these Citywest and Saggart children.
The South Dublin County Council has provided for a secondary school in their plans for Citywest, so what is the Dept. Of Education waiting for?
The need for a secondary school becomes urgent for our primary school attenders in 2019, and we would like to see that choice in education continued in our area by having Educate Together as a secondary school too.
Our area has been deemed the highest growth area in Dublin; we have five autism classes across two of the four national schools, with a waiting list of 40 in Citywest Educate together National School alone.
There are no plans or provision for our students with special needs to graduate to a secondary school locally either. Are they too to expect to be bussed to other communities for the next level of their education too? Why is the Dept of Education ignoring the needs of our youngest and most vulnerable members of society in the fastest growing area of the capital?
A secondary school would also bring a much-needed focal point to our community – we have never had the joy of having a community centre.
And we believe an Educate Together Secondary School will maintain the choice and diversity that our primary school afforded and achieved for our community, while furthering the sense of community for those often-left-out teenagers.
I am writing to you to ask for you to consider doing a follow-up article on our campaign, with possibly a photo of our campaign group standing outside the area where there are plans for a secondary school to be built once given the go-ahead from the Dept Of Education. I could also send you a picture if it would be easier?
We have campaign contacts at the following:
Facebook – Citywest Educate Together Second level Campaign
Twitter – citywest ETcamp2
In the face of inequality we’ve a long way to go balancing the scales nationally, but in the fastest growing area in the capital, wouldn’t it be right and fair to see an Educate Together model continue into secondary school education for our diverse and clued-in community?
Thank you for your time on this,
Leona Mc Mahon,
Citywest Educate Together Secondary School Campaign.