Uproar over plans to move Lucan school to Kingswood

By Hayden Moore

PARENTS of students attending Griffeen Community College were this week furious over plans to locate the Lucan school approximately 7km away to Kingswood Community College this September.

The Board of Management in both secondary schools were informed by CEO of Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB), Paddy Lavelle, in a meeting this week and it has been met with some backlash from concerned parents.

Kingswood Community College 07 compressor 1 1

Kingswood Community College new building opened in September

Today (January 16), the Department of Education confirmed, after being contacted by The Echo, that they would “re-evaluate” options in relation to the issue.

A spokesperson from the Department of Education said: “The Department will re-evaluate options to accommodate Griffeen Community College in September 2020 and remains open for discussions with DDLETB and local school management and principals.”

Griffeen CC has been temporarily housed in Kishoge CC since first opening in September 2017.

As revealed to parents earlier this week, there were plans in motion to move the school to Kingswood for a period of 12 to 24 months while they await the construction of their permanent building.

If plans were to go ahead, over 260 students, teachers and Special Needs Assistants of Griffeen CC would be transported by bus every day to and from Kingswood CC.

Linda Slater, who has a 12-year-old in First Year in Griffeen CC, expressed her concerns about the affect the transportation and move would have on the students’ mental health.

“What sort of an affect is this going to have emotionally on the children?” said the mother.

“The day will be horrendously long for them because they’ve to get up early and get home late.”

“As adults we don’t like commuting and sitting in traffic, imagine what that’s like for the children.

“I’m not sure if there will even be any extra-curricular activities anymore, and sports is a big part of it for me.

“At the end of the day, Kingswood is completely unreasonable and it’s too far. What will happen the kids who are late anyway and miss the bus?

“And this government say they are concerned about the mental health of our young people.”

Worries have been expressed to The Echo by parents that they may have to pull their children out of the Lucan school if it goes beyond the promised two-year plan.

“It’s frustrating from the kids and teacher’s perspective because they’re not being given the opportunity to give their best,” continued Linda.

“Now kids are being shipped all the way to Kingswood and a Lucan school essentially becomes null and void.

“Some parents were saying that they’re going to pull their kids out of the school, what happens when they do? The DDLETB will pull the plug on it because there is not enough interest.

“it’s a joke, the principal has been promised and promised and constantly fobbed off by the department and DDLETB. I feel bad for her because they’re trying their best and they’re completely in the firing line.”

On the Department’s decision to “re-evaluate” the issue, Linda said: “Where are they re-evaluating it to?

“I’m going to remain under the impression that nothing has really changed because I’m well aware that it’s three-weeks until the General Election and until there is something written on paper, I won’t be reading too far into it.

“We’ve been down this road before as I’ve already said, being told things to do with the school and then nothing, promised and then let down.

“I’d say I’m still very cautiously optimistic about it.”

Kingswood CC opened its doors last September with just over 600 students, and are expected to reach its capacity of 1,000 students within three years.

The plan is to have 715 students attending Kingswood CC by September of this year.

Speaking to The Echo this week, CEO of DDLETB Paddy Lavelle said: “We have space in Kingswood Community College, as they are not yet at capacity, and they have the ability to provide temporary accommodation there.

“[Griffeen] have been in Kishoge for three-years and they are in need of their building now with more students joining the school, so the Department has advised us that this is the best possible solution.

“There is a design and build scheme in place for Griffeen that will see the school delivered in two-years, and in fairness to the department they have given it the best possible shot they can because it’ll be there in two-years instead of four or five.”

Paddy Lavelle did reveal to The Echo that, although too early in the development to provide an estimate of when it would be completed, the permanent accommodation for Griffeen Community College would be built in two phases.

Once the location has been identified and construction of the first phase is completed, DDLETB believe that students will be able to move in to the building before the second phase of construction kicks off.

Griffeen CC were contacted for comment but were unavailable at the time of going to print.

Kingswood Community College were contacted in relation to the move but declined to comment on the matter.

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