Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (74)

Fiona O'Loughlin


74. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if guidelines will be introduced to ensure secondary schools have a policy in place to accept students from local feeder primary schools in order to ensure no child is left without a secondary school place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24601/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In relation to enrolment generally, it is my Department's responsibility to ensure that schools 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. In schools where there are more applicants than places available 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. However, it may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in their school of first choice.

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. For example, some schools give 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.

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

New schools established to cater for demographic demand are required to prioritise enrolment of children in the school planning area(s) for which the Department has identified the need for a school.