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School Placement.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 March 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Ceisteanna (217, 218)

Jack Wall

Ceist:

217 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science the criteria for the right of a child to obtain a placement in a secondary school within the area of the child’s own place of birth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12127/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Wall

Ceist:

218 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science if he is satisfied that a lottery system is the best means of determining entry to secondary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12128/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.

The question of enrolment in individual schools is the responsibility of the managerial authority of those schools. My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. This may result, however, in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.

It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. In this regard a Board of Management may find it necessary to restrict enrolment to children from a particular area or a particular age group or, occasionally, on the basis of some other criterion. The criteria to be applied by schools in such circumstances are a matter for the schools themselves. 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 that principles of equality and the rights of parents to send their children to a school of the parents choice are respected.

Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, provides parents with an appeal process where a Board of Management of a school or a person acting on behalf of the Board refuses enrolment to a student. Where a school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to either the relevant Vocational Educational Committee or to the Secretary General of my Department. The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is the statutory agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The NEWB advises parents to apply to more than one school in order to assist in securing a school placement. The Board can be contacted at National Educational Welfare Board, National Headquarters, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7 or by telephone at 01-8738700.

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