Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (277)

Willie Penrose


277. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the procedures available to parents to have their child enrolled in secondary school for the academic year commencing September 2020, and in which it has been indicated that the child has been placed on a waiting list, which indicates he or she may never be admitted in view of being significantly down the waiting list; the remedies or solutions available to such parents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45416/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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, principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents' choice are respected.

Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 provides for an appeal by a parent or guardian to the Secretary General of my Department where a Board of Management of a school, refuses to enrol a student in a school. My Department has no authority to compel a school to admit a pupil, except in the case of an appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 being upheld. Further information on the Section 29 appeals process is available on my Departments website at: https://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Services/Appeal-against-Permanent-Exclusion-Suspension-or-Refusal-to-Enrol/.

The Educational Welfare Service (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is the statutory body which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school placement for their child. The EWS can be contacted at 01-7718815 or 01-7718500.