In relation to school admissions, it is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998 and the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018. My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in that area.
Under the provisions of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, all schools are required to have drafted new admissions policies, which have been approved by the patron, following consultation with staff and parents of children who are attending the school. The newly revised school’s admissions policy is published on the schools website. It is a key requirement of the act that all school admission policies are fair and transparent.
Parents have the right to choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available, a selection process will 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, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.
The act requires schools to clearly set out their selection criteria in their admission policies. Schools have discretion in relation to their admission criteria and how they are applied. The criteria to be applied by schools and the order of priority are a matter for the schools themselves. It is an important feature of the act that schools can only make a decision on an application for admission that is based on the schools admission policy.