Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Department of Education and Skills
1076. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the provisions within the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 governing the termination of waiting lists and preference in admission to Gaelscoileanna for those who speak Irish in the home are yet in place; and if so, the way in which they are now influencing admissions. [20497/21]
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 Acts, 1998-2018.
On 14th January 2020 a number of sections of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 were commenced introducing new laws around admission to schools which became operational on 1 February 2020. These provisions will apply to admission processes for the 2021/2022 school year onwards. The sections commenced include those referenced by the Deputy.
They include an exemption for those waiting lists that were in existence prior to the 1 February 2020 and which will be phased out in the 5 years following that date. A further provision commenced on 1February requires a school which is oversubscribed in a particular year to compile a waiting list of unsuccessful applicants for that year only and to fill any further places arising during that school year from that list.
The act also makes a provision for an Irish Language school to give priority in admission to students who have attained a level of fluency in the Irish language, where the said fluency would be at risk of regressing if the student were not admitted to an Irish language school. It is at the discretion of the school should they wish to utilise this protection for pupils applying to the school. My Department does not seek to intervene in the selection criterion that is applied by schools.