Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Questions (130)

Clare Daly

Question:

130. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which the constitutional right of a person (details supplied) to an appropriate education placement has been vindicated. [14361/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The selection and enrolment of pupils is the responsibility of the management authorities in each individual school. 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 the principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parent’s choice are respected.

Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 where a school board of management make a decision to refuse enrolment, a parent/guardian can appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department. Where the appeal involves an Education and Training Board (ETB) school, the appeal must be made to the local ETB in the first instance.

My Department has recently received a number of Section 29 Appeal applications on behalf of the child referred to by the Deputy and these appeal applications will be processed in the normal way in accordance with the Procedures for Hearing and Determining Appeals.

In relation to children with special educational needs, the National Council for Special education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. In this regard, the Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) may approach individual schools to discuss the matter with a view to finding the optimal location in terms of convenience and sustainability. This work is currently underway in the area concerned.