An Foras Pátrúnachta response to draft Admission to Schools bill

An Foras Pátrúnachta / News / An Foras Pátrúnachta response to draft Admission to Schools bill

An Foras Pátrúnachta, the largest patron of Irish medium schools, welcomes the draft bill on school enrolment, which has been published by the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn.

Minister Quinn published the draft Admission to Schools bill on September 2nd 2013.

An Foras Pátrúnachta welcome that:

  • Irish medium schools will not be prevented from giving preference to Irish speaking families
  • Irish medium secondary schools will not be prevented from giving preference to pupils from Gaelscoileanna which act as feeder schools.

However, An Foras Pátrúnachta believes that clarification is needed on how the new system will work practically. In cases where there is more demand than actual places available, some Gaelscoileanna interview applicants to assess their Irish language skills. If this option is unavailable to schools some sort other means of verification is required.

“As an organisation which was set up to cater for parents’ wishes , to give them a choice and to treat them fairly, An Foras Pátrúnachta is happy that a draft bill which will help with this has been published,” said Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, General Secretary of An Foras Pátrúnachta.

“We welcome the recognition which has been given to parents who are bringing their children up with Irish and to the need that is there to cater for them. An Foras Pátrúnachta will be part of the upcoming process which will clarify how this will work practically.”

Under the new regulations:

  • Schools will not be allowed to accept applications before the 1st of October before the enrolment year
  • The Minister may regulate that no admission fees may be sought or charges as a condition of application for admission to a school.
  • Schools would not be able to conduct interviews with parents and children ahead of enrolment
  • Schools that can establish that they have waiting lists in place may, under a derogation, be allowed to clear those lists over a period of a few years
  • Schools will be allowed to prioritise places for an applicant who is a sibling of an existing or former student
  • Appeals to be dealt with at school level under simplified arrangements.

The following documents can be downloaded: