Enrolment Policy

This policy is currently under development

Section –A
Title of Policy

Enrolment Policy – Scoil Bhríde N.S. Rathdowney

Section –B
Introductory Statement

This policy was formed by the Board of Management and Staff of Scoil Bhride N.S. in September 2011 using the guidelines issued by C.P.S.M.A. and taking account of the recent findings of the Supreme Court, High Court & Equality Tribunal. The enrolment policy is set out in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act (1998). The Board of Management trusts that by so doing parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters.

Section –C
Mission Statement

Scoil Bhride N.S. is a Roman Catholic school, under the patronage of the Bishop of Ossory, Seamus Freeman. The school aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a living relationship with God and other people. The school promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Catholic School provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices, and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic faith.

Section –D
Rationale

This policy aims to ensure that the appropriate procedures are in place to enable the school

• To make decisions on all applications in an open and transparent manner consistent with the Ethos, the mission Statement of the school and legislative requirements

• To make an accurate and appropriate assessment of the capacity of the school to cater for the needs of applicants in the light of the resources available to it and

• To put in place a framework which will ensure effective and productive relations between students, parents and teachers where a student is admitted to the school

Section –E
Aims

The Enrolment Policy of Scoil Bhride N.S. supports the following aims:

• Inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational need

• Equality of access and participation in the school

• Parental choice in relation to enrolment

• Respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society

Section –F
General Information

Scoil Bhríde N.S. Rathdowney Co. Laois is a Catholic Primary school under the patronage of Bishop Seamus Freeman. At present there are 12 teachers in the school which includes the Principal John Gunnell, 7 mainstream class teachers and four Learning Support / Resource teachers (2 of whom are shared with Rathdowney Church of Ireland National School).

The Chairperson of the Board of Management is Fr. Eamonn Foley P.P.

Scoil Bhríde is a co-educational school catering for pupils from junior infants to sixth class.

The school is funded by and depends on grants and teacher resources, provided by the Department of Education and Skills, and operates within the regulations laid down from time to time by the Department. Scoil Bhríde N.S. must take due regard to the resources and funding available.

The school follows the curricular programme prescribed by the Department of Education & Skills which may be amended from time to time in accordance with Sections 9 and 30 of the Education Act (1998)

The school may be contacted at 0505 46546 or by email at scoilbhrideoffice@gmail.com

Section –G
Application Procedure

Children who have reached four years of age by June 16th will be considered for enrolment in Scoil Bhríde irrespective of creed, social background, nationality, disability or language, provided due notice is given, the enrolment procedures have been followed and suitable back-up systems are in place in the school. The Board of Management in so far as is practicable will enrol children on application provided there is space available. The Board will also ensure those departmental guidelines with regard to class sizes, staffing provisions, and/or other relevant requirements concerning accommodation, such as physical space or the health and welfare of children are implemented.

Parents /Guardians can apply for enrolment of their child in Scoil Bhride N.S. by completing the Scoil Bhride enrolment form and returning it to the Principal.

Applications for enrolment in Scoil Bhríde will be made on a standard enrolment form, which may be amended by the Board from time to time and may include requests for such information as:

• Pupil’s name, age and address

• Names and addresses of pupil’s parents/guardians

• Contact telephone numbers

• Contact telephone numbers in case of emergency

• Details of any medical conditions, which the school should be aware of

• Religion

• Birth Certificate

• Previous schools attended, if any, and reasons for transfer if applicable

• Confirmation in writing that the school Code of Behaviour is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child.

Enrolment for Junior Infant Classes

• Notices for enrolment will be placed in the Parish Newsletter, local supermarkets, Post Office, Playschools etc and school notice board in February

• Parents/Guardians register in school during February bringing along a copy of the child’s birth certificate. Enrolment forms distributed to be filled and returned by parents.

• Applicants will be notified in writing upon receipt of the completed form (and other documentation /reports as requested) whether their application has been successful or not within 21 days of the registration period.

• Familiarisation for successful applicants will take place in the first week of June at a special orientation meeting for parents and children in the school.

• Ethos and philosophy of the school will be outlined to parents at this meeting.

• Pupils should, as a rule, only be admitted to Junior Infant class during the month of September. Children may be admitted to a Junior Infant Class during the school year provided they are transferring from another school.

• Children who have reached four years of age by June 16th will be considered for enrolment in Scoil Bhríde in the following September 1st.

Section –H
Decision Making Process

Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the Board of Management in accordance with school policy. The Board will notify parents of their decision within 21 days of receiving such information.

As a general principle and in so far as practicable having regard to the school’s enrolment policy, children will be enrolled on application, provided that there is space available. (See note below on Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004)

The Board will have regard for relevant Department of Education and Skills guidelines in relation to class size and staffing provisions and/or any other relevant requirements concerning accommodation, including physical space and the health and welfare of children.

The Board is bound by the Department of Education and Science’s Rules for National Schools which provides that pupils may only be enrolled from the age of 4 years and upwards, though compulsory attendance does not apply until the age of 6 years.

In the event that applications for enrolment exceed/is expected to exceed the number of places available the following decision making process will apply. The Board will exercise its discretion in the application of the following criteria. The criteria may include any of the following though not necessarily in that order

Section –I
Enrolment Criteria

The Board of Management makes decisions relating to enrolment in accordance with school policy. In the event that applications exceed/is expected to exceed the number of spaces available, the Board of Management has determined that priority in the allocation of places will be given to the following groups of children:

1. Catholic children of the parish

2. Brothers and sisters of children already enrolled in the school

3. Catholic children who live outside the parish who do not have a Catholic school in their parish

4. Non-catholic children who live within the parish

5. Catholic children who live outside the parish who have a catholic school in their parish

6. Children who are not residents of the parish with priority given to children whose home address is closest to the school (as measured by a straight line on an O.S. map)

7. Children of staff including ancillary staff.

Places will be allocated thereafter according to the priorities above and confirmed by the Board of Management at its next meeting. If necessary the additional criteria of the age of pupils may be taken into account and priority given to older children. In the event of a child not obtaining a place on the grounds of age, priority will be given in the subsequent school year.

Parents will be notified of the decision of the Board of Management within 21 days of its meeting at which enrolment decisions are made.

The Board of Management shall at all times have regard for the health, safety and welfare of pupils and teachers and others who work in the school.

Enrolment for classes other than Junior Infants

Children transferring from other schools in the state may apply for enrolment in Scoil Bhride at any time but preferably at the beginning of a school year, otherwise at the beginning of a school term.

Reports from previous schools (and other relevant reports e.g. psychological reports etc) should be presented with the completed application form.

Applicants will be notified in writing upon receipt of the completed form (and other documentation/reports as requested) whether or not their application has been successful or not within 21 days.

Section – J
Enrolment of Children with Special Needs

Parents of children with special needs must provide a copy of all relevant reports both medical and psychological to the Principal. If such reports are not available the Board of management requires that the child be assessed immediately before an application for enrolment may be considered.

The purpose of the assessment report is to assist the school in establishing the educational and training needs of the child relevant to his/her disability or special needs and to profile the support services required. Upon receipt of the relevant reports, the Board of Management will assess how the school can meet the needs specified in the report/s. Where the Board deems that further resources are required, it will, prior to enrolment, request the Department of Education to provide the resources required to meet the child’s needs as outlined. These resources may include access to or provision of any or a combination of the following: visiting teacher service, resource teacher, special needs assistant, specialised equipment or furniture, transport services or other.

The school will meet with the parents of the child to discuss the child’s needs and the school’s suitability or capability in meeting those needs. If necessary a full case conference involving all the parties will be held, which may include Parents, Principal, Class teacher, Learning Support Teacher, Resource teacher or Psychologist or others as appropriate

Section – K
Refusal on the grounds of ‘Exceptional Circumstances’

The Board reserves the right to refuse enrolment in exceptional circumstances such as,

(a) The pupil has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from DES, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the pupil with an appropriate education

Or

(b) In the opinion of the BOM, the pupil poses an unacceptable risk to other pupils , school staff and/or school property.

Section – L
Right of appeal

Parents who are dissatisfied with an enrolment decision, may appeal to the Board of Management. It must be addressed, in writing, to the Chairperson of the Board, stating the grounds for the appeal, and lodged within ten days of receiving the refusal.

Parents, if unhappy with the result of this appeal, may appeal to the Department of Education under Section 29 of the Education Act on the official form provided by the Department. This appeal must be lodged within 42 days of receipt of the refusal from the school to enrol. Parents will be informed of their right to appeal, in writing,by the Chairperson of the Board of Management, on receipt of the Boards decision to refuse enrolment.

This procedure is set out in the DES circular 22/2002. (Appendix 1 to this policy)

Section – M
Transfer of Pupils

Pupils may transfer to the school at any time (preferably at the beginning of term), subject to school policy, available space, the provisions the Education Welfare Act (2000) and in some cases, the approval of the Department of Education .

Section – N
Code of Behaviour

Section G of this enrolment policy States that pupils may be enrolled on receipt of ‘Confirmation in writing that the school Code of Behaviour is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child’.

Section 15 (2)(d) of the Education Act 1998 provides that the enrolment policy should outline the school policy in relation to suspension and expulsion in accordance with NEWB guidelines.

The policy in relation to suspension and expulsion as outlined in our Code of Behaviour is stated below.

Suspension

Before serious sanctions such as suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.

For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, suspension may be considered. Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.

Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of

Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson, teacher and the principal. If the parents (and the pupil) do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period. Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information. Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.

In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the health and safety of pupils and teachers, the Board has deferred

responsibility to the Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.

Further suspensions will require Board of Management approval. This approval may be obtained at a regular meeting of the Board or at an emergency meeting at which the Chairperson and Principal have outlined for the Board the reasons why they feel it is necessary to impose a further suspension.

In line with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act (2000), the Board of Management will inform the Education Welfare Board when any pupil’s period of suspension equals or exceeds six school days.

• When a student is suspended, the parents/guardians will be requested to remove the student from the school. The Principal will meet with the parents/guardian to outline the decision to implement the suspension and will present the parents/guardian with a written statement of the terms, duration and date of the termination of the suspension.

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following, or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent/s (and pupil) must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff and will not have a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other pupils. The Principal in consultation with the parents, the class teacher and the pupil (if appropriate) will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil, if required, and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.

Where a satisfactory resolution of a problem is achieved, a pupil may be re-admitted to school within a suspension period at the discretion of the chairperson of the board and the principal.

Expulsion

The Board of Management has the authority to expel a pupil in an extreme case (see p.80/81/82, Developing a Code of Behaviour; Guidelines for Schools) e.g. where repeated incidents of serious misbehaviour interfere with the educational opportunities of fellow students or where there is a threat to the health and safety of either students or staff. Where expulsion is considered the school authorities will have tried a range of other interventions and will have formed the opinion that they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the pupil’s behaviour. This sanction would be imposed under the terms of the Education Welfare Act (2000). Suspension/expulsion procedures are in accordance with the Education Act (1998).

Section – O
Review of this Enrolment Policy

This policy will be reviewed every 2 years (or more often if required) by the Board of Management in consultation with staff and parents and changed where deemed necessary and appropriate.

 

Section – P
Approval of Patron

This policy was approved by the Patron, Bishop Seamus Freeman.

Section -Q
Ratification

Following approval from the patron, this policy was formally approved by the Board of Management.

Signed By The Chairperson __________________________

Dated ____________________________________________

 

Section – R
Communication/Circulation of Policy.

This policy is circulated with the Enrolment Form to all parents of pupils wishing to enroll in Scoil Bhride.

It is circulated in an Information Booklet which is sent to parents of existing pupils of the school.

Reviews / Updates of this enrolment Policy will be circulated to parents in a similar fashion.

Parents will be regularly informed that copies of school policies are available on request from the school secretary.