Kathleen Funchion TD calls on Department of Education to ensure students don’t suffer further from school structural assessments
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Education Kathleen Funchion TD has urged the Department to clarify what measures are being put in place as a matter of urgency, so that students in schools affected by the structural assessments scandal do not suffer further.
The Carlow/Kilkenny TD said:
"The Minister has stated that pupils might be asked to stay at home if major concerns are flagged to them and that a comprehensive engineering assessment of other schools has begun.
"That is obviously a necessary step. But what immediate measures are being put in place for students who have been told to stay at home? The education of students cannot be impaired as a result of all this.
"The Department of Education has ordered an examination of 30 schools built in the past ten years after 'significant structural issues' were recently identified at a north Dublin school.
"The schools are based in Dublin, Laois, Kildare and Cork and the assessments are set to begin in the coming days. We know that a total of 200 students have been affected from 18 classrooms which have been deemed unsafe.
"It’s come to light that the initial discoveries occurred during fire assessments at a number of schools, and that 'various degrees of deficiencies' had been identified.
"The schools involved were built by Western Building Systems based in Tyrone and were built during a ‘rapid build' period between programme between 2009 and 2013.
"Clearly students cannot be put in danger, but where part of a school or a classroom is considered a hazard immediate alternatives need to be found so that it is not the student who suffers.
"What measures are being put in place as a matter of urgency so that they can continue with their education? We can’t just tell students to stay at home indefinitely until the problem is solved.
"I would ask the Department of Education and Skills to clarify what interim or temporary measures are being taken to ensure that all students affected by these revelations can continue with their studies and that they do not suffer the brunt of this alarming situation."