January 2018
Dear Editor ,
I am writing to you to ask for your help in bringing some much needed political and public attention to our campaign to get a secondary school for our area in Dublin 24, a working class community. Citywest and Saggart has been labelled the “fastest growing area in Dublin” yet we still have no secondary school for our children, but do have 4 full primary schools.I am an activist and parent with Citywest Educate Together Secondary School Campaign. We have been campaigning since 2014 for an Educate Together secondary school in our community to follow the wonderful education our children have been afforded in Citywest Educate together National School. Frankly, we thought we’d plenty of time but now it seems the Dept of Education are ignoring the need for secondary schools in our area despite setting up 4 primary schools. Attached is 2 photos of some of our campaign group standing outside grounds proposed for a secondary school in Citywest, D24.

I was one of the original campaigners for the start up group for our primary school, the small bit of publicity we could garner went a long way in helping us on the road to success and our eventual school. So far, our secondary school campaign has yielded results, we successfully worked with local councillors when we started , to make provision for a second level school in the local area plans for Citywest. I have attached the   local (SDCC) council’s development plan for the area of Citywest and Saggart. Also attached,  a close up on where there’s land designated for a much needed secondary school (ps means primary school, pps means post primary school) . As you will see, it is not too far from the TLC nursing home, Luas stop and new houses being built there.

Most people think we’re a fairly new area, but I’ve lived in Citywest for 18 years and we’ve been exporting our teenagers to other communities for second level education for even longer than that. With a population explosion in the area, and even more homes  being built, it seems insanely poor planning to make provision for 4 completely full primary schools and no secondary school for miles.Our first class in  Citywest Educate together National School graduates in 2019 and needs a secondary school that year. Are we to see this first Educate Together class split up and take up places in other community’s schools? We want them to stay together and stay in their own community, causing less congestion on the roads and less congestion in other schools! What Dublin public school doesn’t have an overcrowding or oversubscribed issue?

Over 1900 children will attend 4 national schools in our area in the next 3 years, it seems unfathomable that the Dept of Education has made no provision for secondary Education for all these Citywest and Saggart children. The South Dublin County Council have provided for a secondary school in their plans for Citywest so what is the Dept. Of Education waiting for? The need for a secondary school becomes urgent for our primary school attenders in 2019, and we would like to see that choice in Education continued in our area by having Educate Together as a secondary School too. Our area has been deemed the highest growing area in Dublin; we have 5 autism classes across 2 of the 4 national schools, with a waiting list of 40 in  Citywest Educate together National School alone. No plans or provision for our students with special needs to graduate to a secondary school locally either. Are they too to expect to be bussed to other communities for the next level of their education ? Why are the Dept of Education ignoring the needs of our youngest and most vulnerable members of society in the fastest growing area of the capital?

A secondary school would also bring a much needed focal point to our community, we have never had the joy of having a community centre. And we believe an Educate Together Secondary School will maintain the choice and diversity that our primary school afforded and achieved for our community, while, critically,  furthering the sense of community for those often left out- teenagers.

In the face of inequality we’ve a long way to go balancing the scales nationally, but in the fastest growing area in the Capital, wouldn’t it be right and fair to see an Educate Together model continue in to secondary school education for our diverse and clued in community? Wouldn’t it be right and fair to see a secondary school at all?

Today, as our children resumed school after their Christmas holidays, each and every one of our students in Citywest Educate Together National School took on the task of writing to the Minister of Education, Richard Bruton this morning, (see their letter template attached). They wished the minister a happy New Year and asked for news on a secondary school for their community. We will hand deliver them to Mr Bruton this week. If you could consider a space for us in your newspaper perhaps you would like me to forward you a photo of a class of students with their letters?

We have campaign contacts at the following: www.citywestetns.ie<http://www.citywestetns.ie>
facebook- citywest Educate Together Second level Campaign / Twitter- citywest ETcamp2

Yours sincerely,
Leona Mc Mahon
Citywest Educate Together Secondary School Campaign