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Proposed school admissions legislation revealed


Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 02/09/2013. Proposed school admissions legislation revealedTags: Parenting Parenting Kids

Proposals for new school admissions legislation in Ireland have been revealed by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn.

Published today (September 2nd), the rules are aimed at preventing schools from cherry-picking students by targeting enrolment policies that enable such practices to take place.

Under the proposals, the General Scheme for an Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill could see schools obliged to take on a child with learning difficulties, while also preventing payments or deposits being used to secure entry to schools that do not charge fees.

The planned changes would see a number of other practices outlawed, such as booking deposits and applicants - or their parents - being interviewed before being accepted.

New powers may also be granted to the National Council for Special Education and the National Educational Welfare Board, with these state agencies having the capacity to instruct schools to offer a place to a child.

Mr Quinn said the introduction of the rules would help to create a framework for school admissions policy that is "parent-friendly, equitable and consistent".

He stated: "If enacted, this framework will improve access to schools for all pupils and will ensure there is consistency, fairness and transparency in the admissions policies of all schools." 

A statement from the Department of Education explained that the changes should result in parents  no longer having to appeal decisions if their child is not granted a place at a school, adding the draft regulations will mean the income of parents and their ability to pay admissions fees will not be factors when it comes to whether or not their children are accepted by schools.

It was noted that families that are newly settled or returning to live in an area will now face a more level playing field with regard to admissions, with the department adding: "The regulations will also bring an end to the soft barriers that can affect children with special educational needs."

Implementation of the proposals would also result in a 25 per cent limit being placed on the number of past pupils' children that can be enrolled by a school in any academic year. 

Under the proposals:

• Schools would not be allowed to accept applications for admission before October 1st of the year preceding the year of enrolment with a longer period allowed for boarding schools.

• Schools would not be able to conduct interviews with parents and children ahead of enrolment.

• Schools that can establish that they have waiting lists in place may, under a derogation, be allowed to clear those lists over a period of a few years.

• Schools will be allowed to prioritise places for an applicant who is a sibling of an existing or former student.

• Appeals to be dealt with at school level under simplified arrangements. 

Written by Donal WalshADNFCR-2163-ID-801632125-ADNFCR


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