The Educate Together national office is currently engaging with Department of Education and Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School on the matter of the school’s proposed temporary relocation to a site on Rathmullen Road.
The school, which was sanctioned by the Department in 2018, opened in 2019 in temporary accommodation at the Laytown Bettystown Youthreach centre. It moved to its current site on Mill Road in 2020.
Educate Together, as patron of the school, has been in regular contact with the Department of Education since the school’s establishment in relation to its location and accommodation. Until recently Educate Together understood that the school would remain on its current site on Mill Road for the 2021/22 school year, and that the Department of Education would provide additional temporary accommodation on that site.
Last Friday 29th January, the Department informed the patron of a proposal to build a larger temporary premises for the school at Rathmullen Road (on the site of St Oliver’s Community College) and to relocate the school to that site temporarily. Educate Together shared this information with the school community.
The school’s board of management has raised significant concerns with the patron in relation to this move. Educate Together shared these concerns with the Department of Education in a meeting today. Educate Together also requested further information about the permanent site for the school and the proposed temporary relocation.
Educate Together expects to engage further with the Department and the school board of management in the coming weeks in order to ensure a suitable interim accommodation solution for the Drogheda ETSS school community for August 2021 and, importantly, to ensure a suitable permanent building is provided as soon as possible.
Educate Together is very conscious of the challenges for new and developing schools in operating in temporary accommodation. The organisation is committed to working with the Department of Education and other stakeholders to ensure that suitable temporary and permanent accommodation is provided for schools in a timely fashion.
However, considerable improvements are required in our planning systems so that school communities have certainty in relation to their accommodation much sooner, and so that they do not have to move multiple times. In this regard, Educate Together has called for a cross-departmental review of the wider planning processes around school buildings and school sites.