Trina Golden, Principal of Owenabue N.S has condemned the Department of Education's proposal to split the development of her school, Owenabue Educate Together National School (OETNS), across two sites in Carrigaline. The school has been operating a temporary location in Herons Wood since it opened in 2020.
Under the Department’s plan, scheduled for implementation in September 2024, most classes will remain in the current accommodation in Herons Wood, while two classes will be placed in prefabricated classrooms on the site of Carrigaline Educate Together National School in Kilnagleary, situated on the opposite side of Carrigaline.
A number of concerns have been highlighted by the OETNS Board of Management particularly the logistics of the planned split.
This arrangement poses significant challenges for parents, particularly those with multiple siblings in the school community, who are now faced with the impractical task of shuttling between two locations amidst Carrigaline’s daily traffic gridlock. Moreover, the classes on the second site will have limited access to essential facilities, including support teaching spaces, sensory areas, and outdoor play spaces.
Trina Golden, School Principal, remarked, “The current plan from the Department of Education is not child-centred, and makes maintaining our relationship-focused school culture impossible. It contradicts the positive relationships and interactions observed in classrooms and learning areas recognised by the Department Inspector in our 2023 whole school evaluation. We appeal to the Carrigaline community to support us in urging the Department to reconsider this unworkable plan.”
Maeve McGinn, Parent Nominee to the Board of Management, commented, “This decision by the Department of Education is beyond comprehension. Not only is this separating friends and siblings, it is isolating a number of pupils away from the main school with almost no facilities or supports. Furthermore, parents with siblings in the school cannot possibly get their children to school on time, given the time it will take to travel between locations. Those children will be denied the full education they are entitled to.”
A Department of Education spokesperson said a project to provide a new 16-classroom primary school building for OETNS is being advanced by the department and is currently at Stage 1 — preliminary design. "Pending the completion of this new school building, interim arrangements for the accommodation of the school have been put in place. "In order to facilitate the continued growth of the school, additional accommodation is required for the 2024/25 school year. The department is currently engaging with the school patron, Educate Together, to put a solution in place in this regard," they said.