Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (199)

Jack Wall


199. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the options available to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare to obtain secondary education for their child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14832/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Educational Welfare Service of the Child and Family Agency (EWS) is the statutory agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The EWS may be able to offer assistance and advice on securing a school placement within the pupil's area. The contact details for the EWS is Educational Welfare Service of the Child and Family Agency, Block 3 South Dublin County Council, Tallaght, Dublin 24, phone number 01-4635513.

The selection and enrolment of pupils in schools is the responsibility of the authorities of the individual school. My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in an area. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice. As schools may not have a place for every applicant, a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants.

Under section 15 (2) (d) of the Education Act, 1998, each school is legally obliged to disclose its enrolment policy and to ensure that as regards that policy that principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents' choice are respected.

The Deputy may be aware that the Government has approved the drafting of the Education (Admissions to School Bill) 2014. This new legislation aims to ensure that the enrolment process in all schools is inclusive, transparent and fair.