Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Education and Skills
277. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the role of his Department in encouraging post-primary schools in the same geographic area to coordinate and share information regarding applications for first years in order to ensure children are offered a place in a timely manner and that parents are not left waiting months to find out if their child will get a place (details supplied). [3344/20]
As the Deputy may be aware, enrolments in the first instance is a matter for the school authority.
The Education (Admission to Schools) Act was signed into law by the President on 18thJuly 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.
Section 66 of the Act, which was commenced on the 3rdOctober 2018 and is now operational, relates to Co-operation of Boards. It provides for schools, for the purposes of facilitating the efficient admission of students, to share information with each other in respect of applications received, offers made and offers accepted. However, it is a matter for each school to decide whether they wish to share these details with the other schools for the purposes of efficiently processing applications for admission in an area.
In relation to school admissions, 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. 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 Deputy will note however that the selection process procedures and enrolment policy are the responsibility of the individual school authorities.
I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department is reviewing the accommodation needs, of the area in question, in order to cater for an agreed Long Term Projected Enrolment (LTPE) of 1300 pupils.
On completion of the assessment process a decision will be conveyed to the school authority in writing. I can also confirm that additional interim accommodation will be provided to the area, in the short-term, to cater for increased enrolment pending delivery of the permanent school building.