Angry Parents Say They Have Been Let Down By Cork ETB

By Seamus Whelehan

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Parents of children who have missed out on places at an East Cork Secondary school say they have been let down by the Cork Education and Training Bord (ETB) admission process.

Frustrations reached boiling point last Thursday 12 December at a public meeting arranged by the Carrigtwohill Community College Parents Association as over a dozen pupils from the village’s primary schools failed to get a place at the Community College.

13 children due to start secondary school in Carrigtwohill next September have been told there is no place for them due to a growing overcrowding crisis in the school.

Instead they are being offered places in Cobh, Glanmire or Midleton, which would mean a daily 16 mile round trip.

At least five have been advised they are eligible for home schooling as there is no place anywhere for them.

The Carrigtwohill residents said they had been confident of a place at the post primary having campaigned for the school and had been successful.

They believed the 3 local national schools would operate as feeder schools to the new college.

In 2012 the village had been selected for the development of a three school campus under the government’s rapid build scheme.

However, a litany of errors has led to numerous failed applications to the planning authority.

On the 21 November Cork ETB informed the parents the department of Education said it would be at least 2023 before a permanent facility for the College could be provided.

The board however failed at the time to outline its 3 year plan to cope with increased student numbers at their temporary facility, a former office block in the Fota business park.

At a packed meeting attended by public representatives and TDs  the ETB confirmed planning is in place for 90 additional school places, with planning pending for a further 30 spaces.

For the school years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 planning has been granted for 5 prefabricated buildings a science laboratory and toilet blocks.

Three prefabs are already in place with work progressing on 2 additional units with a programme of works to be published next month.

Sinead O’Brien who has a son attending the Community College said it may be too late for many families, who may have purchased uniforms for other schools by the time extra space is provided.

She said the places “will be offered to other people from outside the parish and in two to three years their siblings will get priority over Carrigtwohill again.”

ETB Director of Schools Pat McKelvey said they were taking the sensible approach by not taking additional students until they were sure of the accommodation.

Minister David Stanton who attended the meeting said both the ETB and the Department of Education and Skills are working with Cork County Council to resolve all the planning issues.

This year he said is the worst for multiple enrolments but said he believed the waiting list will dramatically drop later in the year.

John Fitzgibons Director of Further Education Cork Education and Training with Cork ETB Director of Schools Pat McKelvey
Denis Leamy CEO Cork ETB with Sheila Quill the bords Director of Organisations, Supports and Development
Green Party Cllr Alan O'Connor with Deputy Sean Sherlock Labour and Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry
Frustrations at boiling point over Carrigtwohill Community College construction delays
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