Changes to Enrolment Are Not Needed, Say Managers; Secondary Schools Do Not Want Minister to Legislate on Admissions
Byline: Elaine Loughlin
SECONDARY school managers claim the changes to school enrolments being introduced by the Education Minister are not needed.
The Joint Managerial Body and the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools have called on Ruairi Quinn not to introduce legislation on school admissions.
The Minister will shortly bring to Government draft heads of a bill - the Education (Admission to School) Bill 2013 to change how schools enrol pupils.
Mr Quinn said he wants a more 'structured, fair and transparent' admission policy and plans to ban waiting lists and the deposit system.
However, AMCSS president Fr Paul Connell said: 'Our schools have always endeavoured to satisfy parental demand for enrolment. The vast majority of our schools, some 80 per cent, are in a position to take all applicants.
'The schools that are oversubscribed attempt to enrol pupils in as fair and equitable and inclusive manner as possible.
'That fairness includes an absolute commitment to the family unit.' Speaking at the association's annual conference yesterday, which was attended by Mr Quinn, Fr Connell said: 'You are on record, Minister as saying that you do not wish to micro-manage schools or add to their administrative burden.
'It is therefore disappointing to note your intention to legislate on the issue.
'Provided admissions policies are in accordance with current education and equality legislation and fair procedures, please do not burden already compliant schools and boards with unnecessary legislation,' he told the minister.
Announcing his plans to overhaul the admissions system, Mr Quinn last month said the present situation is 'neither fair nor transparent'. He pointed out that for some second level schools parents must apply for a place at birth meaning families who move into the area are automatically excluded.
He said the changes to enrolment would apply to all schools that are in receipt of taxpayers' money.
The Bill and the regulations will first be published in draft form to allow for discussion amongst school bodies and parents. Submissions from education stakeholders are currently being sought by the Department.
The Irish Primary Principals Network has already submitted their recommendations and said that diversity in schools should be encouraged.
They have lobbied for extra weighted capitation values to be placed on Traveller children, those with special needs, new Irish children and children from designated disadvantaged areas to promote this diversity.
The IPPN also claim children should be enrolled from the list of applicants based on having older siblings in the school, age and distance from school. …