Education Minister approves expansion of Crossmaglen Gaelscoil

May 18, 2015

An increase in enrolment numbers at Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa in Crossmaglen has been approved by the Department of Education.

Minister John O’Dowd gave the green light to a development proposal to increase admissions from 15 to 21 for the Irish-medium unit at St. Patrick’s Primary School.  However the school’s mainstream setting was not as successful and its request to increase its admissions quota from 29 to 34 was rejected.

Commenting on his decision, Minister O’Dowd said: “I am agreeing an increase in the admissions quota at Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa, the Irish-medium unit at St Patrick’s Primary School from 15 to 21 pupils, in line with my duty to encourage and facilitate the development of Irish-medium education.”

Outlining his reasons for rejecting the proposal for St. Patrick’s English-speaking mainstream setting, he said: “The evidence presented does not support the proposed increase in the school’s English-medium quota, from 29 to 34 pupils, as enrolment trends at the schools in the local area indicate that there are sufficient English- medium places to meet the current demand.

“Although the enrolment at St Patrick’s Primary School has grown steadily in recent years, there are other maintained primary schools in the area that have high levels of unfilled places.  Additionally, the quota of 29 pupils, set by the school within its admission criteria, enables the school to admit up to 203 pupils into its English mainstream setting, this is within the seven classroom range and provides the school with one classroom for each year group, which the Sustainable Schools Policy recognises as the optimum size for a primary school.”

In conclusion, the Minister added: “An increase in the overall enrolment at the school will be through a managed process of expansion at the Irish-medium unit from Year 1. Over time, the total enrolment at the school will be able to grow up to a maximum enrolment of 350 pupils to cater for the projected demand for additional Irish-medium places in the area.”