Enrolment/Admissions Policy

 

Section A. General Information

 

General Introduction

This enrolment policy is being set out in accordance with the provisions of all current legislation, such as the Education Act (1998), Education and Welfare Act (2000) and the Equal Status Act (2000). The Board of Management trusts that by so doing parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters.  The chairperson of the Board of Management, insert name and address, and the principal teacher, insert name and school contact details, will be happy to clarify any further matters arising from the policy.

 

Enrolment is open to boys and girls on an equal basis, regardless of social background, financial status, religion, race, nationality, gender, educational standard or physical challenges. All, however is subject to the existing availability of appropriate resources in the school.

 

School Name: Scoil Mhuire B&C

 

School Address: Main St., Stranorlar, Co. Donegal

 

Telephone No.: 074-9131877

 

Denominational Character: Catholic

 

Name of Patron: Bishop Philip Boyce, Catholic Bishop of Raphoe

 

Total Number of Teachers in the School:

Administrative Principal

16 Mainstream Class Teachers

 4 GAM/EAL Teachers (*1 of these is shared)

 2 Resource Teachers

 

No. of Special Needs Assistants : 7

 

Range of Classes Taught:

Junior Infants to 6th Class (Mixed)

 

The school depends on the grants and teacher resources provided by the Department of Education and Science and it operates within the regulations laid down, from time to time, by the Department.  School policy has regard to the resources and funding available.

 

The school follows the curricular programmes prescribed by the Department of Education and Science, which may be amended from time to time, in accordance with Sections 9 and 30 of the Education Act (1998).

 

Within the context and parameters of Department regulations and programmes, the rights of the patron as set out in the Education Act (1998), and the funding and resources available, the school supports the principles of:

§  inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational need;

§  equality of access and participation in the school;

§  parental choice in relation to enrolment; and

§  respect for diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.

 

Other relevant general information pertaining to the school e.g. opening hours etc.

 

Section B. Enrolment Procedures

Application Procedure

Enrolment week is scheduled annually from January until Easter. This is advertised in the School Newsletter, the Parish Bulletin and the local media. Parents are invited to attend to complete an Application Form. A copy of the child’s Birth Certificate should be attached to the application.

Provision of Key Information by Parents

Certain information will be required when children are being enrolled.  A specific enrolment application form may also be provided by the Board for this purpose.  Such information may include:

§  Pupil’s name, age and address;

§  Names and addresses of pupil’s parents/guardians;

§  Contact telephone numbers;

§  Contact telephone numbers in case of emergency;

§  Details of any medical conditions which the school should be aware of;

§  Religion

§  Acceptance that child will comply with the schools Code of Behaviour;

§  Relevant Medical History;

§  Previous schools attended, if any, and reasons for transfer, if applicable; and

§  Any other relevant information (including any such further information as may be prescribed under the Education Welfare Act (2000) or Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (2004).

Decision Making

Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the Board of Management in accordance with school policy.  The Board will notify parents of their decision within 10 days of receiving such information.

As a general principle and in so far as practicable having regard to the school’s enrolment policy, children will be enrolled on application, provided that there is space available.

The Board will have regard for relevant Department of Education and Science guidelines in relation to class size and staffing provisions and/or any other relevant requirements concerning accommodation, including physical space and the health and welfare of children.

The Board is bound by the Department of Education and Science’s Rules for National Schools which provides that pupils may only be enrolled from the age of 4 years and upwards, though compulsory attendance does not apply until the age of 6 years.

In the event that applications for enrolment exceed/is expected to exceed the number of places available the following decision making process will apply.  The Board will exercise its discretion in the application of the following criteria.  The criteria may include any of the following though not necessarily in that order:

§  Ages of the children;

§  Diocesan policies;

§  First come, first served

§  Lottery;

§  Ethos considerations; and

§  Any other.

 

 

 


Appeals

The Board of Management of a school is also obliged under section 19(3) of the Educational Welfare Act 2000 to make a decision in writing in respect of an application for enrolment within 21 days and to inform the parents in writing of that decision.

Where a Board of Management refuses to enrol a student in a school, the parent of the student or, where the student has reached 18 years of age, the student himself or herself, following the conclusion of any appeal procedures at school level, has a statutory entitlement under section 29 of the Education Act (as amended by Section 4 of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007, to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science. A committee is established to hear the appeal with hearings conducted with a minimum of formality. In most cases appeals must be dealt with within 30 days. Where appropriate, the Secretary General may give whatever directions to the Board of Management that are considered necessary to remedy the matter complained of.

 

Details on appealing decisions on enrolment under section 29 of the Education Act (as amended by Section 4 of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2007), are available on the Department’s website at www.education.ie

Enrolment of Children with Special Needs

In relation to applications for the enrolment of children with special needs the Board of Management will request a copy of the child’s medical and/or psychological report or where such a report is not available, will request that the child be assessed immediately.  The purpose of the assessment report is to assist the school in establishing the educational and training needs of the child relevant to his/her disability or special needs and to profile the support services required.

 

Following receipt of the report, the Board will assess how the school can meet the needs specified in the report.  Where the Board deems that further resources are required, it will, prior to enrolment, request the Special Education Needs Organiser to provide the resources required to meet the needs of the child as outlined in the psychological and/or medical report.  These resources may include for example, access to or the provision of any or a combination of the following: visiting teacher service, resource teacher for special needs, special needs assistant, specialised equipment or furniture, transport services or other.

 

The school will meet with the parents of the child and with the SENO to discuss the child’s needs and the school’s suitability or capability in meeting those needs.  Where necessary, a full case conference involving all parties will be held, which may include parents, principal, class teacher, learning support teacher, special class teacher, resource teacher for special needs, Special Educational Needs Organiser or psychologist, as appropriate.

 

It may be necessary for the enrolment of a child to be deferred pending receipt of an assessment and or a decision by the Department of Education and Science on funding of resource hours.

 

A series obstacle exists for accepting children requiring wheelchair access. The conditions available in the building would unfortunately present a challenging environment re. wheelchair accessibility. Since the present building is unlikely to be the long term site of the school, the situation will change once a new premises is acquired.  

 

 


Pupils Transferring

Pupils may transfer to the school at any time, subject to school policy, available space and in some cases, the approval of the Department of Education and Science.  It is a requirement of the Board of Management that information concerning attendance and the child’s educational progress be communicated between schools.(Section 28, Education Welfare Act 2000)

 

The Board of Management of the school reserves the right to refuse enrolment to any student in exceptional cases.

Such an exceptional case may include the following:

 

1.      The student has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from the DES, the school cannot meet such needs +/or provide the student with the appropriate education.

2.      In the opinion of the Board of Management; the student poses an unacceptable risk to other students, to school staff or to school property.

 

-As stated parents have the right under section 29 of the Education Act to appeal refusal by the school to enrol a student.

 

 

This policy will be monitored and reviewed within 2 years of its date of ratification.
 
 

Reference Section

 

·         Guidelines from CPSMA/Church of Ireland Board of Education and INTO

·         Circulars 0038/2007, 07/07, 02/05, 22/02 – available on Dept of Education & Science website, www.education.ie

·         Management Board Member’s Handbook, CPSMA

·         Education Act, 1998, Sections 9, 15 (2), 29, 30

·         Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, Sections 19, 20, 23, 24, 28

·         Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004

·         Data Protection Act, 1988, 2003

·         Equal Status Act 2000, Section 7

·         Questions and Answers on The Education Act 1998 and The Education Welfare Act 2000, INTO

·         Equality and Education. The Equality Authority 2001

·         An introduction to The Equal Status Act 2000. The Equality Authority –Educational Establishments

 

 

Websites:

 

DES

www.education.ie

INTO

www.into.ie

IPPN

www.ippn.ie

The Equality Authority

www.equality.ie

CPSMA

www.cpsma.ie

National Council for Special Education

www.ncse.ie

 

 


1.      Extracts:

Education Act, 1998

 

Section 9

A recognised school shall provide education to students which is appropriate to their abilities and needs and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, it shall use its available resources to –

(a)   ensure that the education needs of all students, including those with a disability or other special education needs are identified and provided for,

(b)   ensure that the education provided for meets the requirements of education policy as determined from time to time by the Minister including requirements as to the provision of a curriculum as prescribed by the Minister in accordance with section 30,

(c)    ensure that students have access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices,

(d)   promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and provide health education for them, in consultation with their parents, having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school,

(e)    promote equality of opportunity for both male and female students and staff of the school,

(f)     promote the development of the Irish language and traditions, Irish literature, the arts and other cultural matters,

(g)   ensure that parents of a student, or in the case of a student who has reached  the age of 18 years, the student, have access in the prescribed manner to records kept by that school relating to the progress of that student in his or her education,

(h)   in the case of  schools located in a Gaeltacht area, contribute to the maintenance of Irish as the primary community language,

(i)     conduct its activities in compliance with any regulations made from time to time by the Minister under section 33,

(j)     ensure that the needs of personnel involved in management functions and staff development needs generally in the school are identified and provided for,

(k)    establish and maintain systems whereby the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations can be assessed, including the quality and effectiveness of teaching in the school and the attainment levels and the academic standards of the students,

(l)     establish or maintain contacts with other schools and at other appropriate levels throughout the community served by the school, and

(m)  subject to this Act and in particular section 15(2)(d), establish and maintain an admissions policy which provides for maximum accessibility to the school

 


Section 29

(1) Where a board or a person acting on behalf of the board —

(a) permanently excludes a student from a school, or

(b) suspends a student from attendance at a school for a period to be prescribed for the purpose of this paragraph, or

(c) refuses to enrol a student in a school, or

(d) makes a decision of a class which the Minister, following consultation with patrons, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations, recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, may from time to time determine may be appealed in accordance with this section,

the parent of the student, or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, may, within a reasonable time from the date that the parent or student was informed of the decision and following the conclusion of any appeal procedures provided by the school or the patron, in accordance with section 28, appeal that decision to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science and that appeal shall be heard by a committee appointed under subsection (2).

(2) For the purposes of the hearing and determination of an appeal under this section, the Minister shall appoint one or more than one committee (in this section referred to as an ‘‘appeals committee’’) each of which shall include in its membership an Inspector and such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate.

(3) Where a committee is appointed under subsection (2) the Minister shall appoint one of its number to be the chairperson of that committee and who, in the case of an equal division of votes, shall have a second or casting vote.

(4) In hearing and determining an appeal under this section an appeals committee shall act in accordance with such procedures as may be determined from time to time by the Minister following consultation

with patrons, national associations of parents, recognized school management organisations and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers and such procedures shall ensure that—

(a) the parties to the appeal are assisted to reach agreement on the matters the subject of the appeal where the appeals committee is of the opinion that reaching such agreement is practicable in the circumstances,

(b) hearings are conducted with the minimum of formality consistent with giving all parties a fair hearing, and (c) appeals are dealt with within a period of 30 days from the date of the receipt of the appeal by the Secretary General, except where, on the application in writing of the appeals committee stating the reasons for a delay in determining the appeal, the Secretary General consents in writing to extend the period by not more than 14 days.

(5) On the determination of an appeal made under this section, the appeals committee shall send notice in writing of its determination of the appeal and the reasons for that determination to the Secretary General.

 (6) Where—

(a) an appeals committee upholds a complaint in whole or in part, and

(b) it appears to the appeals committee that any matter which was the subject of the complaint (so far as upheld) should be remedied, he appeals committee shall make recommendations to the Secretary General as to the action to be taken.

(7) As soon as practicable after the receipt by the Secretary General of the notice referred to in subsection (5), the Secretary General—

(a) shall, by notice in writing, inform the person who made the appeal and the board of the determination of the appeals committee and the reasons therefor, and

(b) in a case to which subsection (6) applies, may in such notice give such directions to the board as appear to the Secretary General (having regard to any recommendations made by the appeals committee) to be expedient for the purpose of remedying the matter which was the subject of the appeal and the board shall act in accordance with such directions.

(8) The Minister, in consultation with patrons of schools, national associations of parents, recognised school management organizations and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, shall from time to time review the operation of this section

and section 28 and the first such review shall take place not more than two years from the commencement of this section.

(9) In the case of a school which is established or maintained by a vocational education committee an appeal against a decision of the board of such school shall lie, in the first instance, to the vocational education committee and thereafter to the Secretary General in accordance with subsection (1).

(10) The Minister shall, from time to time, following consultation with vocational education committees, national associations of parents and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, prescribe—

(a) the procedures for appeals under this section to vocational education committees, and

(b) which appeals shall inquire into whether the procedure adopted by a board in reaching a decision or conducting an appeal was fair and reasonable and which appeals shall be by way of a full re-hearing.

(11) The Secretary General may, in accordance with sections 4 (1) (i) and 9 of the Public Service Management Act, 1997, assign the responsibility for the performance of the functions for which the Secretary General is responsible under this section to another officer of the Department of Education and Science.

(12) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), ‘‘student’’ means a person who applies for enrolment at a school and that person or his or her parents may appeal against a refusal to enrol him or her in the same manner as a student or his or her parents may appeal a decision under this section.


Section 15(2)(d) of the Education Act states that:

"A board shall… publish, in such a manner as the board with the agreement of the patron considers appropriate, the policy of the school concerning admission to and participation in the school, including the policy of the school relating to the expulsion and suspension of students and admission to and participation by students with disabilities or who have other special educational needs… and ensure …that …the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents’ choice are respected…"

 

The guidelines are subject to any specific directions of the patron of the school and to 15(2)(d) "such directions as may be made from time to time by the Minister"

 

Section 30 (1)

The Minister may, from time to time, following such consultation with patrons of schools, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, as the Minister considers appropriate, prescribe the curriculum for recognised schools, namely –

(a)   the subjects to be offered in recognised schools,

(b)   the syllabus for each subject,

(c)    the amount of instruction time to be allocated to each subject, and

(d)   the guidance and counselling provision to be offered in schools.

 

Education Welfare Act, 2000

 

Section 19

(1) The Board of Management of a recognised school shall not refuse to admit as a student in such school a child, in respect of whom an application to be admitted has been made, except where such refusal is in accordance with the policy of the recognised school concerned published under section 15(2)(d) of the Act of 1998      (i.e. Education Act)

 

(2) The parent of a child who has made an application referred to in subsection (1) shall provide the recognised school concerned with such information as may be prescribed by the Minister.

 

 (3) As soon as practicable, but not later than 21 days, after a parent has provided, in accordance with subsection (2), such information as may be prescribed by the Minister thereunder, the board of management of the school concerned shall make a decision in respect of the application concerned and inform the parent in writing thereof.

 

Section 20

The Education Welfare Act (2000) contains some specific new provisions in relation to the transfer of pupils including the requirement that information concerning attendance and the child’s educational progress, should be communicated between schools.

(1)   The principal of a recognised school shall, as soon as maybe after the commencement of this section, cause to be established and maintained a register of all students attending the school.

(2)   The principal of a recognised school shall, on the day the child first attends the school, enter the child’s name, the date of his or her first so attending and any such particulars as may be prescribed by the Minister, in the register maintained under this section in respect of that school, and the child concerned shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed, as on and from that date, to be registered in that school.

(3)   The principal of a recognised school shall, as soon as may be after entering in the register maintained under this section in respect of that school the name of that child who is registered in another recognised school, so inform by notification in writing the principal of the second- mentioned school.

(4)   The principal of the second- mentioned school referred to in subsection (3) shall, on receipt of a notification under that subsection, remove the name of the child concerned from the register maintained under this section in respect of the said second- mentioned school except where the child continues to receive part of his or her education at that school.

(5)   The principal of a recognised school shall, on receiving a notification under subsection(3) in relation to a child, notify the principal first-mentioned in that subsection of-

(a) any problems relating to school attendance that the child concerned had   

    while attending the second-mentioned school referred to therein, and

(b) such other matters relating to the child’s educational progress as he or

    she considers appropriate

(6)   The principal of a recognised school shall not remove a child’s name form the register other than-

(a) in accordance with subsection (4), or

(b) where he or she has received a notification in writing from the Board       

                 that the child concerned is registered in *the register maintained under 

                section 14 (i.e. *The Register – NWEB shall establish a register of all 

                children in receipt of education in a place other than a recognised school)

 

Section 23 and 24

Sections 23 and 24 relate to the school’s Code of Behaviour and Expulsion. The school should append its Code of Behaviour to the school’s enrolment policy (pending the implementation of the Education Welfare Act 2000 and the issue of appropriate guidelines - section 23(3) by the National Education Welfare Board).

Section 28

(1)   The data controller of a prescribed body may supply personal data kept by him or her, or information extracted from such data, to the data controller of another prescribed body if he or she is satisfied that it will be used for a relevant purpose only.

(2)   The data controller of a prescribed body may, for a relevant purpose only, keep and use personal data supplied to him or her under this section.

(3)   In this section… “relevant purpose” means the purpose of—

(a) recording a person's educational or training history or monitoring his or her educational or training progress in order to ascertain how best he or she may be assisted in availing of educational or training opportunities or in developing his or her full educational potential,

 


Equal Status Act, 2000

 

Section 7

(1) In this section “educational establishment” means a pre-school service within the meaning of Part V11 of the Child Care Act, 1991, a primary or post-primary school, …

(2) An educational establishment shall not discriminate in relation to –

(a)   the admission or the terms or conditions of admission of a person as a student to the establishment,

(b)   the access of a student to any course, facility or benefit provided by the establishment,

(c)    any other term or condition of participation in the establishment by a student, or

(d)   the expulsion of a student from the establishment or any other sanction against the student.

(3) An education establishment does not discriminate under sub-section (2) by reason that-

(a)   where the establishment is not a third-level institution and admits students of one

gender only, it refuses to admit as a student a person who is not of that gender,

(c) where the establishment is a school providing primary or post-primary education to students and the objective of the school is to provide education in an environment which promotes certain religious values, it admits persons of a particular religious denomination in preference to others or it refuses to admit as a student a person who is not of that denomination and , in the case of a refusal, it is proved that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school

 

 

Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004

 

2.—A child with special educational needs shall be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that to do so would be inconsistent with -

(a)    the best interests of the child as determined in accordance with any assessment carried out under this Act, or

(b)   the effective provision of education for children with whom the child is to be educated.

 

 

The Data Protection Act 1988 and the Data Protection (Amendment) Act, 2003

The Data Protection Act 1988 was introduced in response to privacy issues raised by the maintenance of data on computers and to specify the responsibilities of those who keep personal data on computer (data controllers). The Act relates to data held on computers in a format in which it can be processed automatically. "Personal Data" in this context means "data relating to a living individual who can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information in the possession of the data controller."

 

Unlike the Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection Act applies to all organisations. Schools that retain data on staff or students on computer are subject to its provisions.

 

The Data Protection Act specifies certain key responsibilities that data controllers must exercise:

§  Fair obtaining and processing of data - the identity of the person collecting the data, the use to which it will be put and to whom it will be released should be set out for the person providing the information, or should outline any secondary or future uses to which the data might be put.

§  Data may only be held on computer about people if it is held for a specific, lawful and clearly stated purpose.

§  The data must be accurate and kept up to date.

§  The data must be used only in ways that are consistent with the purpose/purposes for which it is kept.

§  Security measures must be put in place to prevent unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure or destruction of the data and against accidental loss or destruction.

§  The data held must be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose/purposes for which it is held.

§  The data must not be kept longer than is necessary. Data controllers should be clear on how long data is to be kept and why it is being retained. Unless the school has a system for managing electronic records, the ever-increasing number of electronic records should be dealt with in the same way as paper records, i.e. using the same retention and disposal periods, etc. It is advisable to print off copies of important e-mail correspondence or documents for the file.

§  Right of Access - an individual about whom data is held and who applies in writing specifying the information requested is entitled to a copy of the data held about him or her. Along with the right of access to personal data, the Data Protection Act also gives employees the right to ascertain the existence of personal data and the right to rectify or erase data.

The Data Protection (Amendment) Act, 2003

The Data Protection (Amendment) Act, enacted in July 2003, amends the Data Protection Act, 1988 in a number of significant ways:

§  it extends data protection rules to include certain manual data (paper-based filing systems) relating to living individuals, which is recorded as part of a filing system;

§  it sets out conditions for processing personal data, including more stringent controls in relation to sensitive personal data, e.g. religious beliefs, racial or ethnic origin, etc.;

§  it strengthens individuals' rights, in particular the right to be informed about the processing of data relating to them;

§  it gives the new powers to the Data Protection Commissioner to carry out investigations in order to ensure that data protection rules are being complied with.

§  it includes a re-statement of basic data protection principles, with additional safeguards in relation to direct marketing (using data collected for a particular legitimate purpose to contact individuals to sell products or services);

§  it specifies additional conditions relating to the processing of personal data, e.g. a new category of sensitive personal data is to be created which will benefit from stronger protection;

§  it introduces a right for individuals to object to automated decision-making (decision-making which is processed by electronic means without human input).

The Freedom of Information Act

Primary schools are not yet subject to the Freedom of Information Act but can expect to be included in a future expansion of those areas of the public service that come under the scope of the Freedom of Information legislation. Some agencies with whom a school may interact in relation to pupils (e.g. Health Boards, DES) are subject to the act. 

 

 

Contact

St.Mary's NS Main street, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal F93 F9TF 074 91 31877

stranorlarprincipal@gmail.com