Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (290)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

290. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a case in County Kildare in which a person (details supplied) has been unable to secure a place for school will be examined. [10158/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department provides for a range of placement options and supports for schools which have enrolled students with special educational needs, in order to ensure that wherever a child is enrolled, s/he will have access to an appropriate education.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is a separate independent statutory body whose functions include planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs in conjunction with schools and the Health Service Executive (HSE). The NCSE, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports as required. The NCSE is aware of emerging need from year to year and where special provision is required it is planned and established to meet that need.

The NCSE’s SENO responsibility includes planning and co-ordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, including supporting children and parents in identifying school placement options and resource needs. Each SENO works in an assigned local area with parents, schools, teachers, psychologists, health professionals and other staff who are involved in the provision of services in that area for children with special educational needs.

In dealing with parents of children with special educational needs, SENOs support children and their parents in identifying school placement options and resource needs; keeping parents informed of what resourcing decisions are being made on their child’s behalf. The SENO will also discuss any concerns that parents have about the present or future educational needs of their child. The local SENO is available to discuss the issues the parents have with regard to a special school placement for the child in question and to offer support and expertise. SENO contact details can be obtained at: http://ncse.ie/seno-contact-list.

The enrolment of a child in a school is a matter, in the first instance, for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. This Department has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment to schools.

Accordingly, parents are advised to seek to enrol their child, by applying in writing, to their school/s of their choice as early as possible.

It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. The criteria to be applied by schools in such circumstances are a matter for the schools themselves. 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 publish its enrolment policy.

Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, provides parents with an appeal process where a board of management of a school or a person acting on behalf of the Board refuses enrolment to a student. Where a school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to either the relevant Educational Training Board or to the Secretary General of this Department.