To assist with preparing an Admission policy INTO has compiled some resources.
All boards of management are required to draft a new admission policy in accordance with the requirements of the Act. Below are some FAQs regarding the preparation and the content of the policy.
FAQs – Preparing the policy
Schools have until Thursday, 30 April 2020 to prepare a draft admission policy.
Unfortunately not. The timeframe for the completion of this draft admission policy is set out in the Education (Admission to Schools) Act. Schools have 3 months from the date of the commencement of that section of the Act to prepare a draft admission policy.
The INTO is aware that some Patrons have already issued advice, guidance and a template policy to their schools. Schools should continue to follow that advice and guidance in respect of the content of the draft admission policy. Some Patrons may have outlined the criteria in the event that the school is oversubscribed for inclusion in the draft admission policy. Other Patrons may issue advice and guidance in due course However, schools shouldn’t delay in preparing the draft admission policy if they have not heard from their Patron.
The Act requires consultation with the Patron, the staff of the school and parents of current students in the school in preparing the draft admission policy. The Act does not prescribe how the consultation should take place.
Schools are required to consult with the Patron, staff and parents on the draft admission policy. The consultation process will vary from school to school due to the school’s size, location, etc. For example, a school may opt to put the draft on its website, alert staff and parents and invite observations and feedback by a specified date. Schools may have other arrangements in place for consultation.
Any observations and feedback should be brought to the attention of the Board. The Board should give consideration to this feedback and the observations in preparing the draft admission policy. The final sign off of the draft admission policy rests with the Board of Management.
A copy of the draft admission policy is forwarded to the Patron for approval. The patron(s) may either approve the draft policy or suggest modifications to the draft policy. This must be completed by the Patron no later than Tuesday, 15 September 2020.
No. The policy will be applicable for the 2021/2022 school year.
FAQs – Content of the policy
Some schools may already have criteria which they use if they have more applicants than available places. They can insert these in the revised policy. While this may not be relevant for all schools, schools are advised that they identify criteria they would use in such a scenario.
Some sample criteria which schools use to prioritise applicants are:
• Siblings of children in the school
• Children from a particular Catchment Area/ parish area / proximity to the school
• Children from certain Feeder Schools
• Children of Current Staff
• Other e.g. children of neighbouring parishes
It is a matter for each individual school to decide the sequence by which the criteria will be applied.
In the absence of any direction or prescribed criteria from the Patron, the Board should make their best judgement in terms of the criteria to include. The criteria in the current enrolment policy could be a starting point. However, there needs to be consultation with staff of the school and parents of current students. The intention of the Act is to ensure fairness, equity and transparency in the admission process. The draft will be remitted back to the Patron for approval.
Schools must include the arrangements in the admission policy in the event of a tie for a place. INTO advises a fair and transparent mechanism to determine the offer of a place. It could be simply drawing the name from a hat.
The school must set out the arrangements in the policy for students seeking admission to other class groups and for students seeking admission during the school year. Schools may already have a position on this matter in their current enrolment policy.
No. The sharing of such data is provided for in the Act.
The Act allows a school to provide a patron or another board of management with a list of the students in relation to whom—
(i) an application for admission to the school has been received,
(ii) an offer of admission to the school has been made, or
(iii) an offer of admission to the school has been accepted.
The list may include any or all of the following:
(i) the date on which an application for admission was received by the school;
(ii) the date on which an offer of admission was made by the school;
(iii) the date on which an offer of admission was accepted by an applicant;
(iv) a student’s personal details including his or her name, address, date of birth and personal public service number (within the meaning of section 262 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005).
Boards may already have arrangements in place to accommodate pupils who wish to opt out of religious instruction. As schools vary in size, location, capacity etc. engagement with parents is advised to determine how best this can be accommodated.
Can a Board seek costs, charges, fees or contributions from parents/guardians in respect of an application for admission, the admission or continued enrolment in the school?
No. The seeking of costs, charges, fees or contributions from parents/guardians is prohibited if they are a condition of-
• an application for admission of a student to the school, or
• the admission or continued enrolment of a student in the school.
Of course, members are most welcome to raise any further queries with INTO. As INTO Head Office is currently closed due to Covid-19, principals should email their queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the LIR team will be in contact as soon as possible.