School Admissions Discrimination Exceptions and no Places
Discrimination & Exceptions
A school cannot discriminate on any of the following grounds with some exceptions listed below: Gender, Civil Status, Family status, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Disability, Race, Membership of the Traveller Community, Special Education Needs.
exceptions may occur if the school only admits students of one gender.
Many schools in Ireland promote certain religious values. These schools are not allowed to discriminate by admitting students of a particular religion in preference to others, except in the following circumstances:
- If a school aims to promote certain religious values, it can refuse to admit a student who is not of that religious denomination if it can prove that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school.
- If a school provides religious instruction or education in a minority religion, it can prioritise a student of that religion who wants to attend a school that provides religious instruction or education consistent with, or similar to, their religious beliefs
Students have the right to attend a religious school without getting any religious instruction.
Irish Language Schools
Irish language schools can give priority to students who have a reasonable, age-appropriate level of oral fluency in the Irish language and the school is satisfied that student's fluency would regress if they were not admitted to the Irish language school.
An Irish language post-primary school may give priority to students who have attended an Irish language primary school.
Disability or Special Education Needs
Schools cannot discriminate based on a child having a disability or a special educational need. In theory, this means that you should be able to apply to any school and that school should be able to accommodate your child. However, in practice, some schools do not have the facilities to accept students with severe special needs.
If you prefer your child to attend a special school or a special class in a school that caters for specific types of disabilities the selection criteria above apply.
If the school you are applying to is a ‘special school’, it can refuse to admit your child if they do not have the specified category of special need concerned. The school must state this in its admission notice.
If you are applying for your child to enter a ‘special class’ in a school that was established to provide exclusively for students with certain categories of special needs, the school can refuse to admit your child to that class if they do not have the specified category of special need concerned. The school must state this in its admission notice.
If your child is not accepted into a school you have applied to, the school should write to you and give you the reason or reasons for the refusal. It should also give you information about your child’s place on the waiting list and explain your child’s ranking against the school’s selection criteria.
If you choose, you can appeal a school's decision not to enrol your child. The Department of Education has a Frequently Asked Questions about Section 29 appeals for reasons other than a school being oversubscribed:
Difficulty Finding a School Place
If you have difficulty finding a place for your child in a local school, contact the Educational Welfare Service of Tusla – the Child and Family Agency
Irish Statute Book