Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (254)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

254. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the availability of a school place in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26530/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, established the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) with the statutory responsibility to ensure that each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education. The Act provides a comprehensive framework promoting regular school attendance and tackling the problems of absenteeism and early school leaving. The NEWB, through it's network of Educational Welfare Officers (EWOs) works with schools and families to provide appropriate support in relation to the procedures for enrolment in schools. In this way, the NEWB works to assist parents where they are experiencing difficulties in finding school places. In considering any individual case, the NEWB will have regard to the needs of the child concerned and will liaise with other agencies as appropriate including the National Council for Special Education.

I would also note that the selection and enrolment of pupils in schools is the responsibility of the authorities of the individual school concerned. Where a Board of Management of a school, or a person acting on behalf of the Board, refuses to enrol a student in a school, expels a student or suspends a student for 20 or more days in any school year, the parent or guardian may appeal under section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 to the Secretary General of the Department of Education & Skills, or in the case of a Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) school to the VEC in the first instance.

I have requested the NEWB to make contact with the parent/guardian identified by the Deputy and offer appropriate advice and assistance in accordance with the Board's statutory remit. The Deputy may also wish to advise the parent/guardian concerned to contact the NEWB at 01 463 5513 for the Regional Office concerned or centrally at 01 873 8700.