Dear Minister Quinn,
I wish to make the following submission in support of small rural schools in Counties Roscommon & Leitrim, including those listed below.
I would be opposed to the blanket closure of small schools, which I believe are the focal point of many communities.
Such a policy would disproportionately affect Counties Roscommon & Leitrim because both counties have a large number of such smaller schools many located in dispersed rural areas.
There may be a number of isolated cases where an amalgamation may be beneficial but such cases cannot be allowed to become a vehicle to threaten the long-term future of the existing network of rural schools especially in Counties Roscommon & Leitrim.
Ireland is a predominantly rural country. Yet the policy of the Fianna Fail-led Government over the last 14 years has seen the closure of banks, post offices rural garda stations, small rural businesses and the decline of the village pub. Therefore for many communities the local school, with its strong ties in the local community, is the only focal point left.
The attachment of local communities to their schools and the association of the school with a sense of place is part of the unique identity of the area with strong intergenerational connectivity.
Not only do small schools have a good reputation in achieving high standards of education, but they are also an integral part of the social fabric of a community.
It is important that any assessment of the impact of the closure of small schools also takes into consideration the social impact of such a decision.
From my knowledge of many of the schools in my constituency the idea of amalgamating small rural schools makes little sense, as it would achieve little if any savings. The reality is that in many instances they serve their own small rural catchments and are not close to any other small school.
There are however potential costs both in relation to the extension of the school transport service and, in some instances, the added capital cost of an extension to the school that remains open or even the need to build a completely new school to facilitate amalgamations.
Instead of closing small schools the Department of Education should support cooperation with similar, like-minded schools in order to exchange ideas, expertise and advice. In the current climate of IT connectivity structured inter-school cooperation can be easily developed.
The reality is that there must be no standard answer to a small school’s situation – every one is different and needs a different solution. I would therefore propose that the Department develop the links between schools and within their community. These links could then be used to address the unique challenges facing the local school.
While there have always been school closures and amalgamations in the normal course of events, these have always happened after discussions with the board of management, communities and parents in particular so that proper arrangements are put in place for the transition of children from one school to the other.
However, the current review is taking place in an environment where there have been significant changes in the school transport eligibility rules and this will cause further hardship to some families because of the anomalies that it will throw up. I believe the difficulty in achieving widespread acceptance of this policy change is being underestimated by the Department of Education.
The reality is that very young children will have to travel unacceptably long distances to avail of school,
In that context, the blanket closure of rural schools is a step too far and for communities which have already lost many vital services this decision would be the death knell for a locality.
I look forward to your considered response to this important issue
Denis Naughten TD
|County Roll No School Address Enrolment 09/10|
|ROSCOMMON||01086R||S N POL NAOFA||CASTLEREA||CO ROSCOMMON||49|
|ROSCOMMON||02327S||MANTUA N S||CASTLEREA||CO ROSCOMMON||6|
|ROSCOMMON||05220P||S N MICHIL NAOFA||WOODBROOK||CARRICK ON SHANNON||27|
|ROSCOMMON||06100K||S N CILL RONAIN||BOYLE||CO ROSCOMMON||18|
|ROSCOMMON||10967E||THREEN N S||CASTLEREA||CO ROSCOMMON||35|
|ROSCOMMON||11201U||S N NAOMH PADRAIG||SCRABBAGH NS||KILMORE||13|
|ROSCOMMON||11242L||CLOONBONNIF N S||CASTLEREA||CO ROSCOMMON||18|
|ROSCOMMON||11466K||LISMOIL N S||CURRAGBOY||ATHLONE||12|
|ROSCOMMON||11943S||BALLINLOUGH N S||BALLINLOUGH||CO ROSCOMMON||32|
|ROSCOMMON||12003V||S N RONAIN||CAISLEAN SAMSAIN||BEAL AN MULLA||20|
|ROSCOMMON||13262E||CLOVER HILL N S||ROSCOMMON||CO ROSCOMMON||16|
|ROSCOMMON||13498K||CLOONFOUR N S||ROOSKEY||VIA CARRICK ON SHANNON||41|
|ROSCOMMON||13839K||CARRICK N S||CURRAGBOY||ATHLONE||31|
|ROSCOMMON||13879W||SLATTA N S||S N SLATACH||KILGLASS||28|
|ROSCOMMON||13978B||S N NAOMH PADRAIG||BEAL ATHA FEARNAN||BOYLE||27|
|ROSCOMMON||14056G||MOUNT TALBOT N S||MOUNT TALBOT||CO ROSCOMMON||32|
|ROSCOMMON||14684M||AUGHRIM N S||HILLSTREET||CARRICK ON SHANNON||36|
|ROSCOMMON||14925I||S N NAOMH EOIN||BALLINAMEEN||BOYLE||32|
|ROSCOMMON||15045G||S N NAOMH PADRAIG||BEAL ATHA NA MBUILLI||CO ROSCOMMON||40|
|ROSCOMMON||15308M||ATHLEAGUE N S||ATHLEAGUE||CO ROSCOMMON||29|
|ROSCOMMON||15425Q||FAIRYMOUNT N S||FAIRYMOUNT NS||CASTLEREA||34|
|ROSCOMMON||15584N||GRANGE N S||BOYLE||CO ROSCOMMON||37|
|ROSCOMMON||15664L||GRANLAHAN G N S||BALLINLOUGH||CO ROSCOMMON||37|
|ROSCOMMON||15980V||CAMCLOON N S||ATHLONE||CO WESTMEATH||14|
|ROSCOMMON||16291D||CLOONCAGH N S||STROKESTOWN||CO ROSCOMMON||21|
|ROSCOMMON||16427C||CLONOWN N S||ATHLONE||CO WESTMEATH||30|
|ROSCOMMON||16816N||ATTYRORY N S||BALLINASLOE||CO GALWAY||29|
|ROSCOMMON||17094G||S N RATH CRUACHAN||BEAL ATHA NA GCEARR||CAISLEAN RIABHACH||28|
|ROSCOMMON||17100V||S N RATH ARADH||ROSCOMMON||CO ROSCOMMON||31|
|ROSCOMMON||17329H||S N PAROISTEACH||BOYLE||CO ROSCOMMON||23|
|ROSCOMMON||17353E||S N CILL TROSTAIN||STROKESTOWN||CO ROSCOMMON||28|
|ROSCOMMON||17492S||S N MHUIRE||KILMURRAY||CASTLEREA||31|
|ROSCOMMON||17622F||S N LASAIR NAOFA||ARIGNA||CARRICK ON SHANNON||21|
|ROSCOMMON||17709R||S N NAOMH MHUIRE||DRUMBOYLAN||LEITRIM P.O.||24|
|ROSCOMMON||17849K||S N O DUBHLAIN||BALLAGH||KILROOSKEY||36|
|ROSCOMMON||18005J||SCOIL MHUIRE GAN SMAL||FIOBHACH DISEART||BEAL ATHA NA SLUAIGHE||12|
|ROSCOMMON||18027T||CLOONIQUIN N S||AILFIONN||CAISLEAN RIABHACH||40|
|ROSCOMMON||18182I||NAOMH ATRACHTA||KINGSLAND||MAINISTIR NA BUILLE||25|
|ROSCOMMON||18272J||S N NAOMH EOIN||LECARROW||CO ROSCOMMON||38|
|LEITRIM||08390J||MASTERSONS N S||MANORHAMILTON||CO LEITRIM||21|
|LEITRIM||08673V||THE HUNT N S||CASTLE STREET||MOHILL||29|
|LEITRIM||09353I||NEWTOWNGORE N S 1||CARRICK ON SHANNON||CO LEITRIM||26|
|LEITRIM||13908D||BALLAGHAMEEHAN N S||ROSSINVER||SLIGO||19|
|LEITRIM||14898I||DRUMEELA N S||CARRIGALLEN PO||CO LEITRIM||28|
|LEITRIM||15116D||ARDVARNEY MXD N S||DROMAHAIR||CO LEITRIM||37|
|LEITRIM||16932P||AUGHAWILLAN NS||GARADICE||CO LEITRIM||24|
|LEITRIM||16951T||S N NA CRAOIBHELEITHE||DRUMKEERAN||CO LEITRIM||13|
|LEITRIM||17125O||DIFFEREEN N S||MANORHAMILTON||CO LEITRIM||37|
|LEITRIM||17132L||DRUMNAMORE N S||LAWDERDALE||CARRICK ON SHANNON||16|
|LEITRIM||17206O||GLEBE N S||LARGY N S||KINLOUGH||32|
|LEITRIM||17558W||S N ROSAN||CARRIGALLEN||CO LEITRIM||18|
|LEITRIM||18139H||S N NAOMH PADRAIG||TEARMON SPENCER HARBOUR||CARRICK-ON-SHANNON||30|
|LEITRIM||18329M||S N NAOMH MHUIRE||LECKANN||CO LEITRIM||34|
|LEITRIM||18589P||S N MHIC DIARMADA||COILLTE CLOCHAIR||CO LEITRIM||32|