Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (403)

Catherine Martin

Question:

403. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties in securing a secondary school place for boys in the Clontarf, Dublin 3, area; the reason a school (details supplied) is not a feeder school for a secondary school in view of the fact that it is a short walking distance from the primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14046/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has no record of receiving applications for Additional School Accommodation from the schools in question.

In relation to enrolment generally, it is my Department's responsibility to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in an area. Parents can choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted.

It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. In schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary. In this regard a Board of Management may find it necessary to prioritise enrolment of children from particular areas or particular age groups or on the basis of some other criterion, including giving priority to applicants who have attended a particular primary school known as a feeder school. The criteria to be applied by schools in such circumstances are a matter for the schools themselves.

The selection process used by schools and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, it may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in their school of first choice.

The Educational Welfare Services (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is the statutory agency that can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The local service is delivered through the national network of Educational Welfare Officers (EWO). Contact details are available at http://www.tusla.ie/get-in-touch/education-and-welfare/

As the Deputy will be aware, the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 was signed into law by the President on 18 July 2018.

The overall objective of the Act is to provide a new framework for school enrolment that is designed to ensure that every child is treated fairly and that the way in which schools decide on applications for admission is structured, fair and transparent