Education Act 1998

F68 [ Admission policy

62

62. (1) Subject to this Act, regulations under this Act and such terms and conditions as may be attached to recognition of a school by the Minister under section 10 , the board of the school shall following consultation with the patron, parents of students attending the school, the staff of the school, and such other persons as the Minister may determine, prepare a draft admission policy in respect of the school.

(2) ( a ) The first draft admission policy under subsection (1) shall be prepared by the board as soon as practicable and in any event not later than 3 months after the commencement of this subsection.

( b ) Where a board proposes making any amendments to its admission policy the board shall prepare a revised draft admission policy and this section shall, with any necessary modifications, apply to that draft as if it were a draft admission policy under subsection (1) .

(3) The board shall submit the draft admission policy prepared under subsection (1) to the patron for approval.

(4) The patron following consideration of the draft admission policy submitted under subsection (3) and within the prescribed period shall

( a ) approve the draft, or

( b ) approve the draft subject to modifications.

(5) Where the patron has approved the draft admission policy under subsection (4)(b) , the patron shall return the draft to the board and specify the modifications to be made to the draft and the board shall, as soon as practicable, make the specified modifications and return the amended draft to the patron and the patron shall approve the amended draft.

(6) Where the patron has approved a draft admission policy under subsection (4)(a) or an amended draft under subsection (5) the patron shall forward the approved policy to the board and the board shall, within the prescribed period, publish the policy (in this Act referred to as an admission policy ).

(7) An admission policy shall

( a ) set out the characteristic spirit and general objectives of the school,

( b ) include an admission statement and set out

(i) in the case of a school that, with the approval of the Minister, provides an education exclusively for students with a category or categories of special educational needs specified by the Minister, the category or categories of special educational needs concerned,

(ii) in the case of a school that, in addition to the general admission of students has, with the approval of the Minister, established a class to provide an education exclusively for students with a category or categories of special educational needs specified by the Minister, the category or categories of special educational needs concerned,

( c ) provide that the school shall admit each student seeking admission to the school including, where appropriate, each student seeking admission to a special class in the school, other than

(i) where the school is oversubscribed,

(ii) where the parent of a student, when required by the principal in accordance with section 23 (4) of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 , fails to confirm in writing that the code of behaviour of the school is acceptable to him or her and that he or she shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the student,

(iii) in the case of a school that admits students of one gender only, where the school refuses to admit as a student a person who is not of that gender,

(iv) in the case of a school whose objective is to provide education in an environment which promotes certain religious values, where the school refuses to admit as a student a person who is not of that denomination and it is proved that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school,

(v) in the case of a school that, with the approval of the Minister, provides an education exclusively for students with a category or categories of special educational needs specified by the Minister, where the student does not have the specified category of special educational needs concerned, or

(vi) in the case of a student seeking admission to a special class in the school, where the student does not have the category of special educational needs specified by the Minister in respect of that class,

( d ) set out the selection criteria which shall be applied where the school is oversubscribed,

( e ) provide that the school shall not, when deciding on an application to the school, or when placing a student on a waiting list for admission to the school, consider or take into account any of the following:

(i) a student s prior attendance at a pre-school or pre-school service, other than in relation to a student s prior attendance at

(I) an early intervention class, or

(II) an early start pre-school,

specified in a list published by the Minister from time to time;

(ii) the payment of fees or contributions (howsoever described) to the school, other than in accordance with section 64 ;

(iii) other than in relation to a course known as a post leaving certificate course or a further education and training course and subject to subsections (8) and (9) , a student s academic ability, skills or aptitude;

(iv) the occupation, financial status, academic ability, skills or aptitude of a student s parents;

(v) a requirement that a student, or his or her parents, attend an interview, open day or other meeting as a condition of admission, other than in the case of admission to the residential element of a boarding school or to a course known as a post leaving certificate course or to a course known as a further education and training course;

(vi) subject to subsection (10) , a student s connection to the school by virtue of a member of his or her family attending or having previously attended the school;

(vii) the date and time on which an application for admission was received by the school, subject to subsection (11) and subject to the application being received at any time during the period specified for receiving applications set out in the annual admission notice of the school for the school year concerned or, where appropriate, at any time during the period as otherwise determined by the school in accordance with this Act or regulations made under this Act,

( f ) set out the manner and sequence in which the selection criteria will be applied, including the arrangements that shall apply in cases where 2 or more students are tied for a place or places in the school,

( g ) provide, where a school is oversubscribed, that any selection criteria that are not included in the admission policy of the school shall not be taken into account in determining whether or not a student is admitted to the school,

( h ) provide that the admission policy of a second level school that provides education through the medium of Irish may provide for the inclusion of students that have attended a primary school that provides education through the medium of Irish,

( ha ) provide that a decision on an application for admission shall be based on

(i) the implementation of the school s admission policy including, where applicable, the annual admission notice of the school, and

(ii) the information provided by the applicant in the application for admission received before the closing date set out in the annual admission notice of the school or, where appropriate, the date as otherwise determined by the school in accordance with this Act or regulations made under this Act,

( i ) provide, where a school is oversubscribed, that the school shall compile a waiting list of students whose applications for admission to the school were unsuccessful due to the school being oversubscribed, which shall remain valid for the school year in which admission is being sought subject to

(i) the school placing students on the list in accordance with the order of priority assigned to the students applications, after the school has applied the selection criteria in accordance with its admission policy, and

(ii) the school offering any further school places that become available for and during the school year in relation to which admission is being sought to those students on the waiting list, in accordance with the order of priority in relation to which the students have been placed on the list,

( j ) provide that, in accepting an offer of admission, an applicant shall indicate

(i) whether or not he or she has accepted an offer of admission for another school or schools and, where the applicant has so accepted, he or she shall provide details of the offer or offers concerned, and

(ii) whether or not he or she has applied for and is awaiting confirmation of an offer of admission from another school or schools, and where the applicant has so applied, he or she shall provide details of the other school or schools concerned,

( k ) provide that where a student has not been offered admission, the reasons that he or she was not offered admission shall be provided in writing to the applicant including, where applicable, details of the student s ranking against the selection criteria and details of the student s place on the waiting list,

( l ) provide that an offer of admission may not be made or may be withdrawn where

(i) it is established that information contained in the application is false or misleading in a material respect,

(ii) an applicant fails to confirm acceptance of an offer of admission on or before the date set out in the annual admission notice of the school or, where appropriate, the date as otherwise determined by the school in accordance with this Act or regulations made under this Act,

(iii) the parent of a student, when required by the principal in accordance with section 23 (4) of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 , fails to confirm in writing that the code of behaviour of the school is acceptable to him or her and that he or she shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the student, or

(iv) the applicant has not complied with paragraph (j) ,

( m ) provide that an applicant may request the board to review a decision to refuse admission and that a decision to refuse admission may be appealed in accordance with section 29(1)(c)(i) or (ii) ,

( n ) provide details of the school s arrangements in respect of any student, where the parent of that student, or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, has requested that the student attend the school without attending religious instruction at the school (which arrangements shall not result in a reduction in the school day in respect of the student concerned),

( o ) be consistent with any agreement in relation to the provision of infrastructure or funding to the school made between the Minister and the school,

( p ) include a declaration that the board or person acting on its behalf shall not, except in accordance with section 64 , charge fees for or seek payment or contributions (howsoever described) as a condition of

(i) an application for admission of a student to the school, or

(ii) the admission or continued enrolment of a student in the school,

( q ) set out procedures for the admission of students who are not already admitted to the school

(i) to classes or years other than the school s intake group, and

(ii) after the commencement of the school year in relation to which admission is sought including, where appropriate, in accordance with paragraph (i) ,

and

( r ) contain such additional information as may be prescribed in regulations under section 65 .

(8) Notwithstanding subsection (7)(e)(iii) in relation to

( a ) a school approved by the Minister to provide an education exclusively for students with a specified category or categories of special educational needs, or

( b ) a special class,

a student s academic ability, skills or aptitude may be considered or taken into account insofar only as is necessary in order to ascertain whether or not the student has the category of special educational needs concerned.

(9) ( a ) Notwithstanding subsection (7)(e)(iii) , and subject to this subsection, an Irish language school may prioritise the admission of a student where the school is satisfied that the student has attained a level of fluency in the Irish language and that the said fluency would be likely to regress were the student not admitted to an Irish language school.

( b ) An applicant may, when making an application for admission to an Irish language school, include a statement confirming that the student in respect of whom the application concerned relates has attained a level of fluency in the Irish language and that the said fluency would be likely to regress were the student not admitted to an Irish language school.

( c ) When making an application in accordance with paragraph (b) , the applicant shall provide such evidence as he or she considers appropriate in relation to the level of fluency in the Irish language of the student in respect of whom the application relates, which may include confirmation that the student concerned is available to attend an interview or meeting to demonstrate his or her level of fluency in the Irish language.

( d ) In satisfying itself that a student has attained a level of fluency in the Irish language and that the said fluency would be likely to regress were the student not admitted to an Irish language school, a school shall take into account only the evidence that the applicant has provided in accordance with paragraph (c) .

( e ) An Irish language school may not rank in order of preference, for the purposes of admission to the school concerned, a student who has satisfied the school in accordance with paragraph (a) relative to other students who have satisfied the school in accordance with that paragraph, by virtue of the students relative fluency in the Irish language.

( f ) Nothing in paragraph (e) shall preclude an Irish language school from applying the selection criteria set out in the school s admission policy to students who have satisfied the school in accordance with paragraph (a) , where the number of such students is greater than the number of places available.

( g ) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as permitting an Irish language school to require a student attend an interview or other meeting to assess his or her level of fluency in the Irish language.

( h ) In this subsection

Irish language school means a school that provides education through the medium of Irish;

level of fluency in the Irish language , in relation to a student, means a level of fluency indicative of what would be expected of a student who uses the Irish language as a normal means of communication in a non-educational environment, taking into account the age and any special educational needs of the student concerned.

(10) Subsection (7)(e)(vi) shall not apply to selection criteria based on a student s connection to the school by virtue of

( a ) a sibling of the student concerned attending or having attended the school, or

( b ) a parent or grandparent of the student concerned having previously attended the school, provided the maximum number of places filled pursuant to that criterion does not exceed 25 per cent of the available places as set out in the school s annual admission notice for the school year concerned.

(11) ( a ) Notwithstanding subsection (7)(e)(vii) , a school may apply a selection criterion based on the date on which an application for admission or an expression of interest in applying for admission was received by the school where, prior to the coming into operation of this subsection the school had confirmed, in writing, to the person who made the application or expression of interest that the name of the child in respect of whom the application or expression of interest had been made had been placed on a list maintained by the school for the purpose of allocating school places in the school year concerned.

( b ) Paragraph (a) shall cease to have effect 5 years after it comes into operation.

(12) In this section

code of behaviour has the same meaning as it has in the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 ;

pre-school service has the same meaning as it has in section 58A (inserted by section 92 of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 ) of the Child Care Act 1991 . ]