INTO Welcomes Removal of Religion as a Criterion for Enrolment

INTO welcomes removal of religion as a criterion for enrolment but warns against increased workload for school leaders

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation welcomes the announcement that, following the signing of the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill today, religion will no longer be a criterion for enrolment in Catholic primary schools.

INTO believes that schools should be entitled to uphold their “characteristic spirit,” a right enshrined in the Education Act 1998, however, a school’s characteristic spirit is not determined by one factor alone, i.e., religion, but by multiple factors including cultural, moral, social, linguistic and spiritual values and traditions of the school. Policies should allow schools to determine and uphold their ethos but, at the same time, preclude the
unnecessary use of religion as a criterion for admissions.

While we welcome this initiative, it is imperative that Government considers the growing workload such policy changes have on school leaders and provides all necessary support.

INTO General Secretary, Sheila Nunan said, “INTO has long been to the forefront in promoting inclusivity in our primary schools. Our teachers and principals go to great lengths to provide a school place for every child and to ensure the inclusion of children of diverse faiths and none. We welcome the removal of this legislative barrier to the equal treatment of children; however, schools must be fully supported with clear, realistic and non-
discriminatory policy guidelines and templates.”