More than half of the nation’s schools were rated as “not good enough” for students to go to, according to a report released on Monday by the Irish Times.
The report by the Children’s Aid Agency found that just under half of Irish schools were “not fit for purpose”, while another 11% were “below acceptable standards”.
The report said the “tremendous increase in demand” for learning in Ireland’s schools had created a “huge opportunity for the Government to provide more affordable and quality childcare and education”.
“This is why it is vital that the Government sets out a clear vision for childcare and early learning in the next school year, and that it delivers on the promise of a new childcare and learning centre at Derry’s new Children’s Centre,” the report read.
It said that while the “possibility of a childcare centre at the Childrens Centre has been ruled out”, the Government should also “continue to work with local partners to ensure that there is a suitable childcare and Early Learning centre in every district.”
The Children’s Advice Bureau said that there had been “overwhelming demand” to visit the Children Centre in Derry.
However, the report said that the childcare centre would not open until the new childcare centre is completed.
The Childrens Advice Bureau has called for the construction of a more suitable childcare facility in the area.
The Department of Education has said that it was “not aware” of any changes to the childcare arrangements at Doulton and St Mary’s Primary in Dingle, the other three schools the report identified as “below unacceptable”.
The Doulston and St John’s Primary, which has been on the market for over 20 years, was one of the four schools the Children Advice Bureau highlighted as “non-essential”.
The department said that Doulington and St Patrick’s Primary would not be affected by the closure of the Doulster and St Michael’s Primarys.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection said: “The Department has been working closely with the Children Aid Agency to address the issues raised by the report.
These have included working with the agency to address issues around the provision of childcare and childcare support services.
The Childcare and Early Childhoods Act, 2016, requires the Department to establish a childcare and literacy centre for all primary schools by 2020.
The Childrens Aid Bureau has identified this as a key priority for the Children and Family Centres programme.”
The Children and Families Centres Program will provide free childcare and other support services for all children and families across Ireland, including childcare and support services, to help families transition into and out of school.
“This programme will continue to be supported by the Department, and the Department is working to ensure there is adequate support for children and young people to transition into early education and to provide the best possible support and education for children as they reach the end of their learning period.”
In the Derry region, more than two-thirds of the schools that were rated “not suitable” or “below satisfactory” were in the south.
The report also found that two thirds of all primary school pupils were in secondary school.
The department added that the majority of the primary schools were located in “large urban centres” and that there was a “need for greater flexibility” to accommodate different needs.
“We recognise that a new centre is required in all of the localities in the Dorset and North West Counties,” the department said.
“However, this does not mean that the Douthon and St Michaels Primary and Derry Junior Primary will not be able to operate at the same time.”