The latest response from the Minister for Education to me indicates that it is still the intention to proceed to tender for the new school building by the end of 2022. If this is the case, it looks like being at the last minute and there is still a long way to go until the new site is constructed and fully operational.
The Minister's reply was as follows:
"I wish to refer to your correspondence in relation to Griffeen Community College.
"It is intended that the school building project for Griffeen Community College will be included in the next bundle of projects to proceed to tender in Q4 2022 and will be tendered to my Department’s Design & Build Contractors Framework.
"The tender process takes approximately 8-10 months. Once a Contractor has been appointed, it is anticipated that construction would commence shortly thereafter."
In my correspondence I also asked how long it would take to complete construction. The clarification given was that "construction of a 1,000 pupil post primary school on a Design & Build programme would normally take some 70 weeks".
The new extension in the current temporary building beside Kishoge Community College should be open in January. However it is useful to know the timescale involved to show the earliest possible time that the full size building (see scheme below) will be ready from time of tender being awarded, which is 8-10 months after it is first advertised. We are still several years away, it seems.
The process of school applications is complex and unwieldly and under the Education Act each school board of management (or group of schools under a shared patron) has the autonomy to set out its enrolment policy each year on various grounds. Overall in the Lucan area the deficit of places is lower than anticipated each year due to multiple applications to multiple schools locally, creating "false lists" until the actual numbers are known some months after initial applications. Therefore the vast majority will eventually end up getting a place in a Lucan school. This is helped by some parents who choose schools in adjacent areas over local ones for various factors. It is also the case that some parents have no choice but to apply to adjacent areas such as Leixlip, North Clondalkin and more recently Luttrelstown.
The Department of Education is slow to respond to demographic changes and my own preferred option of a Common Enrolment System (similar to what four out of five ET primary schools are doing here) looks to be some distance away due to patronage issues and even the preferences of individual schools. But something more streamlined is needed.