Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (297)

Robert Dowds

Question:

297. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to the planned changes to enrolment policy, if he will ensure that Gaelscoileanna at both primary and secondary level are able to give priority to children who come from households where Irish is in use. [31502/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, I announced at this year's Teacher Union Conferences that I will shortly bring to Government draft heads of a bill – the Education (Admission to School) Bill 2013. I will seek to publish the Bill in draft form to allow a full public discussion, including inputs from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection and the education partners. I also intend to publish draft regulations that I plan to make when the Bill is enacted. In bringing forward these proposals, it is not my intention to unnecessarily intrude into how schools do their business. My policy objective is to ensure that the way in which schools decide on applications is structured, fair and transparent. As the Bill and the Regulations will be published in draft form, they will also be subject to a lot of detailed scrutiny before becoming law. I will be reflecting carefully on the views expressed in the consultation process to ensure they strike the right balance between school autonomy and fairness in our education system.