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. It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of schools that are not in a position to admit all pupils seeking entry to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act 1998. In this regard a board of management may deem it necessary to restrict enrolment to children from a particular age group or to children living in a particular area or on the basis of some other criterion. The selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based is matter for the individual school authority. In formulating an enrolment policy a school must, however, ensure it is lawful and applied fairly to all applicants.
The Deputy will be aware that in June last year, I launched a discussion paper on school enrolment. The document, "Discussion Paper on a Regulatory Framework for School Enrolment" contains suggestions on how to make the process of enrolling in schools more open, equitable and consistent. I have made it clear that the paper was not meant to be prescriptive; the purpose of the paper was to lead and provoke debate on enrolment policies and practices. I invited education partners and interested parties to submit their views to my Department by the 28th of October last. The feedback from this consultation will help inform the nature and scope of a new regulatory framework for school enrolment. I intend to bring legislative proposals to Government this year, the primary aim of which will be to ensure that every child is treated fairly and that every child has a place at school.