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Plans to relocate Drogheda Educate Together school scrapped amid backlash from parents

Earlier this month, local TDs branded the plans for relocation “ridiculous”.

Image: Fergus O'Dowd/Facebook

Updated Feb 18th 2021, 10:14 PM

THE DROGHEDA EDUCATE Together is to remain on its current site, it has been announced, after parents and school leaders expressed their dismay at plans to move the secondary school to a new location.

The Drogheda Educate Together school is currently located on Mill Road in east Meath, but plans ratified by the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) would have seen it moved to the grounds of St Oliver’s Community College in the town.

Local TDs branded the plans for relocation “ridiculous” and said the preference for all was to keep the school located in the east Meath area.

Plans for the new site would have seen modular buildings put in place that would “encroach on a significant portion” of the playing pitches and recreational space at St Oliver’s.

It would have been the third move for the Educate Together second-level school in the last number of years.

Following the backlash, the National Office of Educate Together held talks with the Department of Education on the matter.

In a statement today, Educate Together announced that the Drogheda school will stay on its current site on Mill Road for the 2021/22 school year and will not be relocated to a site on Rathmullen Road.

Educate Together said it is understood that the Department of Education has reached agreement in principle to purchase a permanent site for the school which incorporates its current temporary site on Mill Road, so that a permanent building can be constructed at the school’s current location.

Speaking about the announcement, Educate Together CEO Emer Nowlan said: “This is wonderful news for Drogheda Educate Together Secondary School, which can now continue to grow and develop in its current location, becoming a thriving school serving the community in east Meath.

“It is particularly welcome news for students in the school and their families for whom the uncertainty of recent weeks has been unsettling.”

The DETSS parents building committee responded to the news this evening in a statement, saying it is “delighted and relieved”. 

“We are extremely grateful to all of our local TDs who worked tirelessly over the past weeks to ensure our school remains on the Mill Road,” the committee said. 

The committee also expressed its thanks to Meath County Council, parents, students and staff members of the school. 

“Students can now enjoy the rest of the midterm and are assured that their school and parents have their best interests at heart,” it said. 

The committee added: “Whilst we very much appreciate that the decision to relocate our school has been reversed, we call on the relevant departments to engage with key stakeholders, in particular students and parents before decisions such as this are taken in an arbitrary manner. 

“This has been an incredibly stressful time for students, parents and the school’s staff and we do hope that no other school and community has to endure what we just experienced. 

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“We trust all key parties will ensure that building works begin as soon as possible and we look forward to seeing our permanent school flourish on the Mill Road as a key part of our powerful, united community.” 

The Department of Education has been contacted for comment.

With reporting by Sean Murray

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