Parents furious over long waiting lists for new school

By Aideen O'Flaherty

KINGSWOOD parents are “up in arms” over their children being placed on lengthy waiting lists for a place in their local secondary school, Kingswood Community College, for pupils who are starting first year in 2020.

Over 120 Kingswood locals have signed a petition about the issue of local children having difficulty getting places in the school.

Kingswood 13 1

 Work is well advanced at the new state-of-the-art secondary school in Kingswood

In 2020, a total of 180 children will be admitted into first year in the school, which first opened in 2016 and is currently housed in prefabs as a permanent school building is presently being constructed.

According to the school’s Admissions Policy and Procedures 2020-2021 document, criteria for access to first year 2020 includes residing in the catchment area of the school, which encompasses Kingswood, Cookstown, Belgard, Cheeverstown, Jobstown, Fortunestown and Citywest, and being a pupil in ‘priority schools’.

The criteria are separated into four bands, with the first band requiring that the prospective pupil resides in a catchment area and attends one of the following priority schools: St Kilian’s Senior School in Kingswood, St Kevin’s Boys’ and St Kevin’s Girls’ schools in Kilnamanagh, and Solas Chríost in Belgard.

Sharon Saunders, whose 12-year-old son Josh is due to start in Kingswood Community College this September, told The Echo that she is struggling to get a place for her other son, 11-year-old Ryan, in the school, and that he is No. 103 on a waiting list for a place.

Both boys live in Kingswood and attend St Killian’s Senior National School and, according Ms Saunders, other parents in the area are also frustrated by the difficulty they’re facing in getting places for their children in Kingswood Community College.

Ms Saunders said: “Parents are disgusted, they’re up in arms about this.

“This shouldn’t be happening, considering it was promised to us for so long that kids in the area would get into that school.”

Ms Saunders, who applied for enrolment for Ryan last October, said she’s aware of 11 other children in his class in St Killian’s who also didn’t get a place in Kingswood Community College for first year in 2020.

“Everyone’s going mad about it,” she said. “Kingswood and Kilnamanagh didn’t have a secondary school – this school was promised to [children from the area], but we can’t get our kids in. My son should be first or second on the waiting list – not 103.”

Sharon’s son Josh will be starting in Kingswood Community College in September, however he has a mild learning disability and Sharon is worried about separating her two sons, as they regularly play together, and Ryan will also be separated from boys he’s been friends with since early childhood.

“The kids are devastated,” said Ms Saunders.

She also claims that there has been “a serious lack of communication” between parents of children in the feeder schools and Kingswood Community College, as she said the college primarily communicates through email, which not all parents use, and no leaflets about the school’s enrolment were given to parents.

Ms Saunders is currently in the process of appealing her son’s refusal of a place in the school, and will be meeting with the Department of Education and Skills next month to find out the outcome of her appeal.

A spokesperson for Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB), who are patrons to the school said: “Kingswood Community College has an enrolment policy that it uses to administer admission to the school. The policy, through instruction from the Department of Education and Skills, includes a prescribed catchment area and a list of feeder schools.

“The school communicates with local primary schools in order to help with the admissions process. The Principal of Kingswood Community College, accompanied by former students, visits four priority schools and speaks directly with prospective students regarding admissions. In addition, information regarding enrolment is communicated by the Principal to the primary-school Principals, who then liaise with their parent bodies.

“Information regarding Kingswood Community College’s Admissions Policy and catchment map is available at www.kingswoodcc.com.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Skills told The Echo, in part, that “all new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required, in the first instance, to prioritise pupil applications from within the designated school planning area(s) which the school was established to serve.

“This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area where they have sufficient places.”

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