Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (497)

Patrick Costello

Question:

497. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Education the sanctions in place for schools that fail to honour the legal requirement to include in their admission policies detailed arrangements for those not attending religious instruction; the compliance rates nationwide by year and county in each of the years 2010 to 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38221/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As you will 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.

The measures provided for in the Act make the admissions process more equitable and consistent for all. Schools that are not oversubscribed must accept all applicants.

On 14th January 2020 a number of sections of the Admission to Schools act were commenced introducing new laws around admission to schools which include the requirement for schools to set out arrangements for students that do not wish to attend religious instruction. These new arrangements apply to the admission processes for the 2021/2022 school year onwards.

The manner in which any school ensures that the right to opt out of religion classes is upheld is a matter for the school concerned. Each individual school must determine the particular arrangements which are most appropriate in its individual circumstances having regard to local issues such as available space, supervision requirements and how the school concerned organises classes etc.

My Department does not compile the information requested by the Deputy.