Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
437. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of students enrolled on the junior certificate schools programme and leaving certificate applied programme respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43463/08]
Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): The information available to my Department at this time relates to the 2007/8 school year. In that year the number of pupils enrolled in the Junior Certificate Schools Programme was 7,649 and 7,437 pupils were enrolled in the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme.
438. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason persons (details supplied) in County Longford are not being admitted to their local national school; the action their parents can take to provide a local, accessible education for their children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43467/08]
Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Enrolment in individual state funded schools is the responsibility of the managerial authority of those schools and my Department does not seek to intervene in decisions made by schools in such matters. The Department’s main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. This may result, however, in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.
It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of schools that are not in a position to admit all pupils seeking entry to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act. In this regard a board of management may find it necessary to restrict enrolment to children from a particular area or a particular age group or, occasionally, on the basis of some other criterion. In formulating an admissions policy a school must, however, ensure it is lawful. In particular, it must act in accordance with section 7 of the Equal Status Act 2000 which, subject to very limited exceptions, prohibits schools from discriminating against people in relation to a number of matters including the admission or the terms or conditions of admission of a person as a student to the school.
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 themselves, following the conclusion of any appeal procedures at school level, has a statutory entitlement under section 29 of the Education Act 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 in 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. Information relating to Section 29 appeals is available on the Department’s website at www.education.ie
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