Cork based Senator, Tim Lombard, has expressed great concern over the lack of progress regarding the redevelopment of Ballinspittle National School.
“Ballinspittle National School has seen significant growth and development in recent years, as has the village and local area. Consequently the school has reached maximum physical capacity; the GP room has been divided for two resource teachers and classes, there is no room available for indoor PE or drama, and critically there are 19 students with sensory break needs whose only option is to take their sensory time in a hallway.
“Capacity is the issue; there is currently no physical space for the necessary programmes to go, thus the school requires major extension to its existing foundations in order to meet the current and anticipated future demand for school places.
“This needs to be resolved; students are missing certain educational opportunities and it is inappropriate to have a sensory space in the hallway. It was pleasing when these issues were recognised and the school placed on the six-year building capital programme in November 2015, however there are now concerns that the project is not progressing fast enough. A technical site visit is the next fundamental step, without which no further progress can be made.
“In the original proposal construction was to commence in 2017. Now time is ticking and for that 2017 commitment to be met the project must be progressed immediately. There is a huge amount of work, expertise and planning that goes into a project like this, which has huge time implications but unfortunately now we are facing a situation where Ballinspittle National School will be forced to function well beyond their capacity and ability.
“Yesterday I was very happy to have the opportunity to bring this matter to a Seanad commencement debate, and in response the Department stated that a site visit date will be confirmed after Easter.
“Time is of the essence with this project; the growing local population and school demographic cannot be ignored, the school is already operating above maximum capacity with increases expected and planned for by the start of the 2018 academic year.
“This technical site visit is a matter of urgency for the progress of construction works and I will continue to communicate with the Department to ensure this is forthcoming as soon as possible.”