It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. The enrolment policy must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants.
This Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking school places in the area. Parents can choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice.
Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 provides for an appeal by a parent or guardian to the Secretary General of the Department, or in the case of an Educational Training Board (ETB) school to the ETB in the first instance, where a Board of Management of a school, or a person acting on behalf of the Board, refuses to enrol a student in a school, expels a student or suspends a student for 20 or more days in any school year. Appeal against Permanent Exclusion, Suspension or Refusal to Enrol
The Educational Welfare Service of the Child and Family Agency (EWS) is the statutory agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The EWS can be contacted at 01-7718500.
Education (Admission to Schools) Act, 2018
The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, published the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016 on 6th July 2016
Publication of the Bill delivered on a commitment in the Programme for Government to publish new School Admissions legislation taking account of current draft proposals and addressing issues including publication of school enrolment policies, an end to waiting lists, introduction of annual enrolment structures, and transparency and fairness in admissions for pupils and their parents.
The Education (Admission to Schools) Bill completed all stages in the Oireachtas on the 10th July 2018.
The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 (Act No. 14 of 2018) was signed by the President on the 18th July 2018.