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Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Sam Boal Education Minister Norma Foley
# new school
Around 700 Ukrainian refugee children registered with schools so far, says Education Minister
Foley said that this figure is likely to rise in the coming days as more children are registered.

THE EDUCATION MINISTER has said that there are approximately 700 Ukrainian children who have registered with a school in Ireland since fleeing the war in Ukraine, but that this figure is likely to rise in the coming days.

According to Education Minister Norma Foley, there are around 700 Ukrainian students who have been formally registered with either a primary or secondary school in Ireland.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Foley said that it was “more than likely” that there was a lot more than that in Irish schools.

“It’s very difficult to get the definitive number because schools are currently just registering them as they arrive, and sometimes it might take a number of days for that registration to take place,” said Foley.

“So we have in around 700 formally registered but they’re more than likely with a lot more than that in our schools.”

The Minister was speaking at Trinity Comprehensive School in Ballymun, where nine Ukrainian refugee students have arrived since the war broke out in late February.

Anastasiia Rudnytska, a 15-year-old student from Ukraine, started at Trinity Comprehensive last Wednesday.

Anastasiia had originally travelled into Poland with her mother before crossing into Germany and flying from Berlin to Dublin.

Since she arrived in Ireland, Anastasiia says that people have been “so good and friendly” to them and helped them get what they need.

She says that she enjoys her new school since she started, adding that she finds the system much easier than the Ukrainian system.

“It’s better than Ukrainian school because in Ukraine we have a hard system. And this year we have easy, easy system,” said Anastasiia.

Rostyslav Kuznetc, a 14-year-old student from Odesa in Ukraine, said that he had been on a family holiday in Istanbul when the war broke out.

He was unable to return to Ukraine, but said that his father had a friend in Ennis so they came to Ireland on 1 March with his mother, father, brother and his brother’s girlfriend.

Rostyslav said that he likes the people in Ireland as they are “communicative and friendly” and that he enjoys talking with his teachers at school.

Deputy Principal of Trinity Comprehensive School, Susan Kilpatrick, told The Journal that the new students are being supported by the school with extra English classes as well as making efforts to integrate and include them in the school.

Kilpatrick said that it was important that the new students received a structure and that they were able to build relationships with other students and teachers.

“The biggest area for us at the very start is support, routine, structure and making that connection and relationships with these students as well, you know, and that they feel safe and welcomed into school,” Kilpatrick said.

School capacity

Foley said that the Department of Education are have a “significant” database that details where there is capacity within schools around the country and where there might be less capacity.

She added that the Department is working with the Department of Children to ensure that accommodation for Ukrainian families with children is matched to where there is capacity in schools.

On overall capacity across all schools, Foley said that there was no “upper limit” in place at the moment, but said that despite the unprecedented situation they would ensure that education is provided.

When asked whether or not prefab classrooms could be built to accommodate refugee children, Foley said that the initial capacity would be utilised first.

“We are happy to meet the demands as they arrive and again, I would very clearly say we have schools who have significant capacity at different parts of the country.

“It it would be hugely beneficial if we could utilize those places in the first instance.”

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