Message from Chief Executive Regarding Post-Primary Facilities in West Cavan

October 1, 2021

Chief Executive of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board, Mr. John Kearney has today provided the following update to staff, Boards of Management and Parents/Guardians of students of St. Bricin’s College and St. Mogue’s College.

‘As it is the determined intention of the Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) to deliver world-class education facilities to all regions, I write regarding post­primary facilities in West Cavan which fall well short of the required standard that our talented students, inspiring teachers, exceptional school leaders, committed parents and guardians of St. Bricin’s College and St. Mogue’s College truly deserve.

CMETB is currently progressing multi-million Euro post-primary projects in Cavan Town’s Breifne College, Virginia College and Kingscourt’s Coláiste Dún an Rí. Several other significant capital projects are being delivered in County Monaghan with CMETB recently commencing, on behalf of the Minister for Education, the delivery of an ambitious regional capital investment programme for primary schools. It is only fitting that similar progressive post-primary facilities of an impeccable international standing are delivered for West Cavan.

I attended a recent meeting of Local Representatives and Stakeholders with the Minister for Education, Norma Foley T.D., whereby:

‘It was agreed that there should be a collaborative approach to identify a pathway forward to meet the educational needs at post-primary level in West Cavan.

Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board will undertake a robust analysis of all potential options in this regard, informed by data on projected enrolments provided by the Department of Education and by community need.

This assessment will reflect the value of community engagement and will involve all stakeholders.

Any application for capital funding submitted to the Department by CMETB will be considered in line with the requirements of the Public Spending Code.’

The Department of Education has provided CMETB with detailed data on projected enrolments indicating a declining enrolment for both schools in the coming years. The projections are based upon current primary school enrolments, historical primary school transfer trends and ESRI projections of population by single year. There are many variables that can impact upon enrolments and a change in the trend of pupils transferring into or out of a School Planning Area can alter the enrolment landscape.

It is important to note that post-primary school enrolments are projected to peak nationally in 2024. While there will be some local variations, the general trend in post-primary school enrolments is expected to be very much downward from the mid-2020s onwards. This is a feature of the changing age profile of the population and is happening despite overall population growth.

Declining pupil enrolments, contrary to recent media inferences, inflict profound reductions in teacher allocation, subject options, and subject levels for post-primary schools. Declining enrolments also present conflicting challenges in progressing school capital investment plans as all viable proposals must be duly reinforced with increased pupil enrolments being fully realised in individual classrooms.

There are many options to be explored in seeking to meet the educational needs at post­primary level in West Cavan. The Department of Education has agreed to a request from CMETB to amalgamate St. Bricin’s College and St. Mogue’s College as the proposal to amalgamate both schools into a new school building provides certainty to post-primary students in West Cavan that they will have access to modern general classrooms, specialist rooms, PE Hall, and a fully equipped fitness suite as well as appropriate facilities for special needs students.

Other options, irrespective of the impositions of declining enrolments and the Public Spending Code, will also be fully explored by CMETB in seeking to meet the educational needs of post­primary level in West Cavan.’

Yours sincerely

John Kearney

Chief Executive of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board.

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