The Board of Management of St. Mary’s National School hereby sets out its Enrolment and Admission Policy in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998, the Equal Status Act 2000, the Admissions Act 2018 and under the guidance of the School’s Patron. The Board trusts that by so doing, parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters. The Chairperson of the Board of Management, Mr Robbie Syme and or the Principal Teacher Ms. Vanessa Steenson/Acting Principal Mrs Gillian Wilson will be happy to clarify any matters arising from this policy.
St Mary’s N.S is under the patronage of the Church of Ireland and belongs to the Enniscorthy Group of Parishes. The Patron of the school is the Bishop of Cashel, Ossory, Leighlin, Lismore, Waterford and Ferns, Bishop Michael Burrows.
Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the Board of Management of the school. No pupil may be registered without the prior approval of St. Mary’s Board of Management.
General School Information
At present, the teaching staff is comprised of 3 class teachers, 1 Principal Teacher, 1 full-time Special Education Teacher and 1 shared Special Education Teacher. There are two Special Needs Assistants at present. All classes from Junior Infants to Sixth Class are taught at this school are all classes are of mixed gender.
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 by the Department. The school Policy has regard to the resources and funding available.
Class starts at 9.20 a.m. and finishes at 2.40 p.m. Infant Classes finish at 1.40 p.m.
This policy aims to ensure that the appropriate procedures are in place to enable the school
- To make decisions on all applications in an open and transparent manner consistent with the Ethos, the mission Statement of the school and legislative requirements
- To make an accurate and appropriate assessment of the capacity of the school to cater for the needs of applicants in the light of the resources available to it and
- To put in place a framework which will ensure effective and productive relations between students, parents and teachers where a student is admitted to the school
Section 9 (j) of the Education Act 1998 specifies, that “A recognized school shall ….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 15 (2) (d) states the Board of Management shall “publish …. The policy of the school concerning admission to and participation in the school and ensure that policy principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents’ choice are respected”.
Section 27 (1) states that “A board shall establish and maintain procedures for the purposes of informing students in a school of the activities of the school” and (2) that “the procedures established and maintained under subsection (1) shall facilitate the involvement of the students in the operation of the School having regard to the age and experience of the students, in association with their parents and teachers”.
The Education Welfare Act, 2000 [Section 19 (1)] requires that a Board of Management shall not refuse to admit a child except where such refusal is in accordance with the school’s Admission Policy. Section 19 (2) requires that parents must provide relevant information to the school while Section 19 (3) requires that the Board of Management, shall as soon as possible (but no later that 21 days) after receiving such information “make a decision in respect of the application concerned and inform the parent in writing thereof”
The Equal Status Act, 2000, (as amended by the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018) states: 7. (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. 7 (3) An educational establishment does not discriminate under sub-section (2) by reason only that- … (ca) 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 refuses to admit as a student a person who is not of a particular religious denomination and it is proved that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school.
The school shall have in place appropriate channels of communication and procedures
- To inform parents about the school, its programmes, activities, and procedures
- To enable applications for admission to the school to be handled in an open, transparent manner
- To put in place criteria under which applications shall be considered
- To ensure that these criteria are informed by our Ethos, our Mission Statement & current legislation
- To specify what information is required by the school at the time of application
Context, Resources, School Organisation & Curriculum
The school supports the principle of equality for all students regarding access to and participation in the school. The school respects the diversity of traditions, values, beliefs, languages and ways of life in society. The school acknowledges the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parent’s choice, subject to the resources available to the school including classroom accommodation, class size, teaching resources and financial resources and subject to the capacity of the school to provide for the needs of any applicant or student. The school is staffed in accordance with the standard pupil – teacher ratios sanctioned by the Department and any additional teaching hours sanctioned by the Department in respect of curricular concessions and special needs. The school operates within the regulations laid down by the Department.
The capacity of the school to implement its desired curriculum, its broad range of educational programmes, its breadth of extra-curricular activities, its school plan and policies are dependent on the resources it receives. Consequently, in determining its activities and programme for any school year the school must have due regard to the teaching, management and administrative resources and the accommodation, equipment and funding available to it.
Roles and responsibilities in developing and implementing this policy:
Roles of Board of Management
- To ensure that a policy is in place and that it is reviewed
- To appraise this policy with regard to its suitability and the effectiveness of its implementations and to make recommendations for improvement where appropriate.
- To decide on appeals by parents or students with respect to any decision(s) made by the Principal/Board..
- To prepare (and submit to the Education Welfare Board) a statement of Strategies regarding Attendance. The Statement of Strategy will have regard to guidelines issued by the Education Welfare Board and will set out the measures the Board of Management proposes to adopt
- For the purposes of fostering and appreciation of learning among students attending the school and
- Encouraging regular attendance at the school on the part of all students
Role of the Principal
- To formulate draft policy in consultation with the teaching staff, students, parents, Board and Trustees
- To monitor its implementation and to ensure that it is reviewed by the review date
- To implement the policy and to support other teaching staff in their implementation of the policy
- To apply for and acquire such resources as are available in accordance with government policies
- To ensure, within the constraints of available resources, that alternative programmes are devised where necessary and practicable to meet the needs of students
- To appraise the policy with regard to its suitability and the effectiveness of its implementation and to make recommendations for improvement where appropriate
- To ensure a register of all students attending the school is established and maintained
- To ensure that a record of attendance or non-attendance is maintained for each student registered at this school and, in the case of non-attendance, the reason for same
- Prior to registering a child, to provide the parents of an applicant with a copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour and ensure that the parent confirm in writing their acceptance of the Code of an assurance that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with the Code by the child
- To provide, on request, to any parent of a child registered in the school with a copy of the Code of Behaviour
- Where a child is refused admission, to advise the parents of their right of appeal to the Trustees and the Department of Education setting out Title and Address of each and advising of time limits
Role of Teaching staff
- To co-operate with the implementation of this policy
- To take the needs of all students into account in the way in which they select textbooks, plan and teach their lessons and conduct assessments
- To bring concerns about Special Needs curricular matters and information to the attention of the Principal, Deputy Principal, Special Needs Teacher
- To keep parents informed through the regular Parent / Teacher Meetings and school reports and by meeting parents from time to time as required.
- To appraise this policy with regard to its suitability and the effectiveness of its implementation and to make recommendations for improvement where appropriate
Role of Students
- To co-operate fully with the school in the implementations of the policy
- To offer suggestions for improving the service to students with special needs
Role of Parents
- To support the policy and to co-operate fully with the school in its implementation
- To bring to the attention of the school authorities any concern they may have in relation to the school’s provision for the educational needs of their child
- To appraise this policy with regard to its suitability and the effectiveness of its implantation and to make recommendations for improvement where appropriate
The Board of Management of St. Mary’s National School reserves the right of admission if such admissions contravene Departmental guidelines on class size, etc.
The school will not refuse a child on the basis of ethnicity, special education needs, disability, traveller status, refugee status, political or religious beliefs, family or social circumstances, provided the necessary supports are in place in the school.
The school will maintain a list of refused applicants for each class, their place on that list having been determined under the criteria outlined.
The Board of Management respects parental choice in relation to enrolment, provided the enrolment criteria are fulfilled.
The Board of Management of St. Mary’s National School, in its Policy of Admissions/Enrolment, respects the rights of the existing school community and the children already enrolled. Consequently, the Board of Management reserves the right to determine the maximum number of children in each class, bearing in mind:
- Health & Safety Concerns regarding Staff and Children
- Available classroom space
- Multi-grade classes
- Educational needs of the children
- Presence of children with special needs
- Department of Education & Science class size directives
- Appropriate supports and resources are available
Procedures – Application & Decision / Appeals
- Failure to fully complete forms may result in refusal to admit a student.
- Failure to disclose all relevant information with regard to medical needs and special education needs at time of registration may result in withdrawal of offer of enrolment
Admission to the school is, of course, subject to the resources available to the school including classroom accommodation, class size, teaching resources and financial resources, and subject to the capacity of the school to provide for the needs of those who apply for admission. Where the school lacks the necessary resources to meet the needs of any applicant or student, it will make every effort to secure those resources-where the resources cannot be secured, the school reserves the unfettered right to refuse admission.
It is the responsibility of parents / guardians of any child to inform the school of any such needs on the enrolment application form for the child’s own welfare. In this context the school authorities will have equal regard for the welfare of all the students and their right to an education in an atmosphere that is not detrimental to their physical, emotional, moral, social or intellectual development. Failure to fully complete the application form, failure to supply any relevant information requested by the school or failure to make reasonable arrangements to meet with the school authorities to discuss the application may result in a child being refused admission to the school.
Application for immediate admission in the current school year
- Application forms are available from the school secretary
- Failure to fully complete forms will result in refusal to admit the applicant
- The behaviour record of a student in their previous school shall be considered
- The attendance record of a student in their previous school shall be considered
Junior Infant Enrolment Procedure
Parents/Guardians who wish to enrol pupils in Junior Infants should indicate their interest or intention of enrolling their child/children in the school. This can happen at any time between the birth of the child, the family moving into the area and the start of Stage Two. The school shall furnish the parents/guardians with a Notification of Intention to apply form. These completed forms will be filed by the school.
If the intention is to enrol the child/children within the following 21 days, then Stage Two may commence immediately and an Application Form may be requested.
All Junior Infants shall enrol on the first day of the school year unless transferring from another school. A letter confirming attendance at the previous school shall be provided at time of enrolment.
Pupils enrolling in other classes may do so throughout the school year following approval by the Board of Management and subject to School policy, available space and, where required, the approval of the Department of Education and Science.
All children enrolling in Junior Infants must be 4 years old before 1st April in the year of entry.
Admission to the Junior Infant class takes place once a year (August/September), except when the child is transferring from another primary school.
Parents who have submitted a Notification of Intention to apply form will receive in the Spring term:
- an Application Form
- copy of the School’s Code of Behaviour
- Anti-bullying Policy
- Enrolment Policy
- School leaflet containing School Ethos, School details etc.
Parents are requested to read and understand these documents.
Applications will only be accepted when presented on the approved school application documents and when accompanied by all relevant supporting documentation. An application to enrol signifies acceptance of the School’s Code of Behaviour.
The registration process is initiated on receipt by the school of a completed application form. This form must be signed and dated by one or both parents or guardians. The form will be date stamped on receipt by the school, and is attached as appendix 1 to this policy. Telephone calls or personal school visits concerning enrolment will be facilitated, but are not in themselves enrolment applications.
Date of application, child’s date of birth, address and telephone contact number are recorded in the School Record of Applications, and the attached acknowledgement together with a copy of this policy is sent to the applicant. The acknowledgement of an application merely confirms that it will be assessed under the criteria outlined, and does not confer any further status on that application.
Entry in the School Record of Applications means that an application will be considered in early March of the relevant enrolment year, and will be evaluated on the basis of the criteria outlined in this policy.
Following this evaluation, the Principal will make a recommendation to the Board, listing proposed enrolments for the forthcoming year. Once an enrolment list is approved by the Board, all applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome, and if refused admission will be notified of their entitlement to appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998.
Successful applicants will be advised in writing of the offer of a place within 21 days of the Principal’s receipt of the application form and are asked to complete a Registration form in acceptance of the place. The Registration Form seeks contact numbers, health information and information about special needs or learning difficulties in order to ensure inclusion so that the necessary resources can be applied for /put in place. This information is also required for the Department of Education’s Pupil Online Database (POD).
Enrolment of children with Special Educational Needs
In relation to the enrolment of children with special needs, the Board of Management will request a copy of the child’s medical and/or psychological reports. Where no such reports are available, the Board may request that the child be assessed by the relevant professional.
Following assessment of this documentation, the Board will decide whether additional resources are needed to meet the needs of this pupil. These resources may include the following:
- Visiting teacher service
- Special Needs Assistant
- Assistive technology
- Specialised equipment or furniture
- Special educational teacher
The school will meet with the parents of the child to discuss the child’s needs and the school sustainability of meeting those needs.
St. Mary’s National School does not cater for children who have been diagnosed with moderate or profound learning difficulties.
The Board of Management will monitor the implementation of all aspects of the Policy and review and amend the Policy as required, with particular emphasis placed upon
- Effective management placed on application process
- Clarity and transparency relating to the process
- Applicants informed in good time re the status of their application, particularly in the case of refusal to enrol
- Positive Parental feedback
The implementations of this policy will be monitored by the Board of Management at the appropriate time. It will also be referred by the Principal for consideration by the full staff at the same time. The Principal will report to the Board of Management regarding the process of enrolment at each Board meeting. Where the Principal refuses admission to any applicant, by the authority delegated to her by the Board in line with this policy, any such refusal shall be communicated to the Board at the earliest opportunity.
The policy will be reviewed regularly in the light of experience. It will be reviewed by the full staff and Board of Management every five years. Any staff member, board member, parent, guardian or student who is unhappy with the content or the implementation of any school policy may request a review at any time and such a request will be dealt with as quickly as possible. Next review of this policy will occur before or during the school year 2022/2023.