Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Education and Skills

School Admissions

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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304. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if a second level school place can be made available to a student (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29059/24]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The provision of school places to meet the needs of children and young people at primary and post primary level, including children and young people with special educational needs is an absolute priority for my Department.

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 Act, 1998 and the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018. All schools have admissions policies, which were approved by the patron, following consultation with staff and parents of children who are attending the school. It is a key requirement of the act that all school admission policies are fair and transparent. Parents have the right to 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 will 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.

My Department is aware of pressures for primary and post primary school places for the 2024/25 school year in North Kildare. As part of planning for September 2024, data on applications for admission has been received by the department from post-primary schools across areas of known enrolment pressure including Naas School Planning Area.

The sharing of this data has been very effective in the identification of school place requirements across the areas. In the majority of areas across Kildare, through the work of schools, patrons, management bodies and the Department, there are sufficient school places available to meet the needs of children in the area. The Department has continued to work with schools and patrons to make additional places available in a small number of areas where a need has been identified. To date additional Post-Primary places have been made available in Maynooth, Prosperous, Clane and Celbridge. Additional primary places have also been made available in Kilcock following consultation last year.

This close engagement with schools and patrons will also allow my Department to identify particular further capacity requirements for the forthcoming years and put any required solutions in place - beyond those that are already in train - to ensure sufficient school places to meet the needs of students in the area.

The Deputy will appreciate that there can often be significant overlap across areas and schools and the nature of the admissions processes is quite complex. As a result there can be multiple iterations, where applicants may accept a place but subsequently be offered and accept a place at a second school, freeing up capacity at the first school accepted. In that context, while some applicants may not yet have received an offer of a school place for 2024/25, families can be assured that all children who require a school place will be provided with one. My Department is continuing to work with schools and patrons to ensure that there are sufficient school places available, and to put any required solutions in place. This includes engagement in areas which were not included in the more detailed data sharing arrangements for 2024/25. As part of this engagement with patrons, my Department is also collaboratively planning towards 2025/26 and future years, as part of forward planning generally.

Tusla Education Support Service (TESS) is the agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. TESS can be contacted at 01-7718500 () for assistance. More information is available on their website on the following link: www.tusla.ie/tess/tess-ews/ .


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