Thursday, 1 February 2018

Ceisteanna (142)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

142. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the serious concerns of the local community in respect of the enrolment policy of a college (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the criteria for enrolment set out by his Department is creating serious difficulties particularly as the local community had always been of the view that local students would be given priority; if assurance will be provided in the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5280/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998.

My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in the area.

Parents can 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 may be necessary.

In this regard, a Board of Management may find it necessary to prioritise enrolment of children from particular areas or particular age groups or on the basis of some other criterion. For example, some schools give priority to applicants who have attended a particular primary school (known as a feeder school). 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. However, it may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in their school of first choice.

In relation to the school in question I can confirm that the construction of a new 1,000 pupil Post Primary School in Kingswood commenced on 28th August 2017 and that, subject to no issues arising, the school, which comes under the remit of the ETB, should take approximately 24 months to complete. Temporary accommodation was provided on site to allow the school to open in September 2016.

All new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required to enrol children from within the designated school planning area which the school was established to serve. This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area, rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established.