The State expects to spend more than €2bn over the next six years building schools and extensions, mostly to cater for the continued growth in pupil numbers.

Details of the programme, which will comprise more than 300 new schools and extensions at primary and second level, was announced today. 

Over the next three years, numbers attending primary and second level schools are expected to grow by an additional 25,000 and 15,000 respectively.

Department of Education projections show that, after years of strong growth, by 2018 primary school numbers should reach their peak and then begin to decline.

However, the growth at second level is set to continue for another decade.

Between now and 2025, it is estimated that more than 41,000 additional second level school places will be needed.

This latest building programme will see new schools built and existing ones extended, mostly to create all the additional school places needed to meet this demand.