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Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2015

In April 2015,  the Minister for Education published the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2015. This follows a lengthy consultation process on the previously published Draft heads of Bill, and draft regulations.

The INTO Submission to this process, INTO Submission to Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection on Draft Legislation and Regulations on Admissions Policies in Schools, October 2013, can be found in the members' area.

The new bill inserts a new Part X in the Education Act, bringing together provisions relating to admissions policies from the Education Act 1998 - 2014, the Education Welfare Act 2000 and the Equal Status Act 2000. It also further specifies how admissions policies are to be prepared and published.

It includes provision for the issuing of directions in relation to admissions to the Board of Management, and for the appointment of independent persons to comply with such directions. It also provides for the designation of schools which a child is to attend at the request of the NCSE or the Child and Family Agency.

It also amends S23 of the Education Act (The Principal), and inserts “the implementation of the admission policy and [to] be accountable to the Board for that management” as a function of the principal teacher.

The Bill, and Regulations associated (yet to be published) will specify on a statutory basis:

  • That admission statements will include an explicit statement on non-discrimination.
  • The process by which admissions policies are approved by the Patron.
  • The content of admissions policies, to include selection criteria and their operation, procedure for appeal, details of the school’s policy on arrangements for students who do not wish to attend religious instruction and procedures for admission of students other than intake group, and those seeking to enrol during the school year.
  • Prohibition on charging admission and enrolment fees.
  • Prohibited selection criteria, including relationship with a category of person (not yet clear), prior attendance at a particular pre-school, payment of fees, occupation / financial status of parents, students ability, requirement to attend open day, and date on which application received.
  • Procedures for admission process, including information to be contained in application forms, prohibition on requiring certain documents and the manner in which applications shall be made.

The Bill does not include the previous proposal to amend S29 of the Education Act to remove appeals on refusal to enrol, as stated by the Minister at INTO Congress 2015 in Ennis.