Admission/Enrolment Policy

Admission / Enrolment Policy 2021

St Oliver Plunkett Special School

Address:                   Alma Place

                                    Carrickbrennan Rd,

                                Monkstown, Co. Dublin

Telephone:              01 280 8824

Roll number:            19499T

School Patron:        Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Staff:                          Administrative Principal

                                    7 Teachers

                                    5 Special Needs Assistants

                                    Secretary

                                    Caretaker

    Introduction

This Admission Policy complies with the requirements of the Education Act 1998, the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 and the Equal Status Act 2000. In drafting this policy, the board of management of Saint Oliver Plunkett special primary school has consulted with school staff, the school patron and with parents of children attending the school.

The policy was approved by the school patron on 30th September 2020. It is published on the school’s website and will be made available in hardcopy, on request, to any person who requests it.

The relevant dates and timelines for St. Oliver Plunkett N.S. admission process are set out in the school’s annual admission notice which is published annually on the school’s website at least one week before the commencement of the admission process for the school year concerned.

1.    Characteristic spiritual objectives of the school

ST. Oliver Plunkett N.S. is a Catholic special educational and co-educational primary school with a Catholic Ethos under the patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

“Catholic Ethos” in the context of a Catholic primary school means the ethos and characteristic spirit of the Roman Catholic Church, which aims at promoting:

  • the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil, including the intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual aspects; and
  • a living relationship with God and with other people; and
  • a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; and
  • the formation of the pupils in the Catholic faith,

and which school provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, and/or such ethos and/or characteristic spirit as may be determined or interpreted from time to time by the Irish Episcopal Conference.

In accordance with S.15 (2) (b) of the Education Act, 1998 the Board of Management of St. Oliver Plunkett School shall uphold, and be accountable to the patron for so upholding, the characteristic spirit of the school as determined by the cultural, educational, moral, religious, social, linguistic and spiritual values and traditions which inform and are characteristic of the objectives and conduct of the school.

Mission Statement

•     We seek to assist all children to reach their full potential by creating a warm, caring, inclusive, yet highly structured, environment in which each child is treated as a unique individual with their own special talents.

•     We seek to improve the literacy levels of each child in the areas of reading accuracy, reading comprehension, spelling and writing to enable them to be better equipped to cope with the demands of mainstream education.

•     We endeavour to ensure that each child, and each member of staff, will have the opportunity to grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally while a member of our school community.

Due consideration is taken with regard to the rights of the Patron as set out in the Education Act and the funding and resources available in the school.

St. Oliver Plunkett N.S. is a Catholic school but all children, of other religions and none, are welcome, in accordance with the Equal Status Act 2000.

2.    Admission Statement

St. Oliver Plunkett School supports the principals of:

Inclusiveness.

Equality of access and participation in the school.

Parental choice in relation to enrolment.

and will not discriminate in its admission of a student to the school on any of the following:

  • the gender ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  • the civil status ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  • the family status ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  • the sexual orientation ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  • the religion ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  • the disability ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  • the ground of race of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  • the Traveller community ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned, or
  • the ground that the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned has special educational needs

As per section 61 (3) of the Education Act 1998, ‘civil status ground’, ‘disability ground’, ‘discriminate’, ‘family status ground’, ‘gender ground’, ‘ground of race’, ‘religion ground’,  ‘sexual orientation ground’ and ‘Traveller community ground’ shall be construed in accordance with section 3 of the Equal Status Act 2000.

St. Oliver Plunkett School is a school whose objective is to provide education in an environment which promotes certain religious values and does not discriminate where it refuses to admit as a student a person who is not Roman Catholic and it is proved that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school.

3.    Special Educational School

    The Board of Management of St. Oliver Plunkett has regard for the Enrolment Criteria for Reading Schools.  These enrolment criteria and procedures are in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and the guidelines laid down by the Department of Education & Skills.                           The school depends on the grants and teacher resources, provided by the Department of Education & Skills and operates within the regulations laid down from time to time by the Department.  The school follows the curricular programmes prescribed by the Department of Education & Skills (except for the teaching of Irish) as well as a specialised literacy programme.   The Board of Management trusts that this policy will assist parents in relation to enrolment matters. Furthermore, the chairperson and the principal will be happy to clarify any further matters arising from this policy.   There are common procedures for enrolment / application to each of the three Reading Schools in Dublin.  These were agreed by the 3 schools, the DOES and NEPs. St Oliver Plunkett National School, Monkstown follows these common procedures.       COMMON ENROLMENT CRITERIA FOR READING SCHOOLS.   Assessment by a psychologist on a standardised test of intelligence should place general intellectual ability within the average range or above.   The assessment must not be more than two years old.   There should be an obvious discrepancy between general intellectual ability and performance on a standardised test of reading ability.   Discrepancy between verbal and not-verbal abilities, one of either the verbal or performance scores should be within the average range and the combined scores should indicate ability within the average range.   Performance in basic literacy skills as measured by a standardised test should be at a very low level compared to the vast majority of children in a similar age cohort.   The pupil should have completed second class in primary school or be at least eight years old and not more than twelve on enrolment.   Consideration should also be given to the child’s speaking, writing, spelling & comprehension skills as well as to his/her social and personal development.         Evidence of SLD, as defined by the Department of Education & Skills, is the primary difficulty of the child.   Placement in a reading school should be one of the options recommended by the psychologist.   In September, the principal will report to the Board of Management of Catherine McAuley N.S., St Oliver Plunkett N.S or St Roses N.S. that procedures for enrolment were followed.    

4.    Categories of Special Educational Needs catered for in the school

  St. Oliver Plunkett NS with the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills, is a school catering for children with Specific Reading Difficulties/Dyslexia. Children who attend have been assessed as having a Specific Learning Difficulty, (Dyslexia).   Because of the needs of the children, special emphasis is placed on the teaching of reading, writing, spelling and the development of good oral language skills.   Classes range from 3rd to 6th and enrolment is normally for two years.   Pupils must be eight years of age by 1st September in the year of enrolment or have completed second class.   There are seven classes in the school and the pupil teacher ratio is 9:1    

5.    Admission of Students

This school shall admit each student seeking admission except where –

  1. the school is oversubscribed (please see section 6 below for further details)
  • a 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
  • a student does not have a Specific Reading difficulty.
  How to apply and the enrolment procedure   ·         An application consists of a copy of the child’s most recent educational psychological report which states that the psychologist recommends applying to the reading schools. The report can be sent by the parent or the school (with the permission of the parents). All contact details of school and parents should be contained in this application. Inaccurate or falsified information could result in the child not being offered a place.   ·         The closing date for receipt of applications will be 5.00pm on the day before the school closes for Christmas holidays. For example, applications for the school year 2021-2022 will close on December 21st, 2020 at 5.00pm. This will allow time to process the applications and to give parents adequate opportunity to find an alternative placement should the application be unsuccessful.   All applications received after that date will go forward for consideration for the following year.   When applications are received they are acknowledged, by letter, and placed in a file in the order in which they are received. They are date stamped and a cover sheet for each applicant is completed.   Each application will be considered under the criteria and a list of eligible children will be drawn up.   A list will be prepared of eligible children up to and including those on the 5th Percentile for Word Reading, and places will be offered in ascending order. Successful applicants will be informed in the first half of the second term.   The school principal of the school that the child is currently enrolled in will be informed of the intention to offer a place.   A pro forma report is sent to the school principal requesting a report on the child’s progress at school.   Further information may be requested from psychologist, school, parents/guardian and other relevant agencies.   The parents of successful applicants are sent a detailed brochure about the school and an appointment time to visit. They are not obliged to visit and places will not be withheld if parents do not attend these meetings. (Appendix 2)   Parents visit the school in a small group and meet with the principal and members of the BOM and Parent association. They also fill out relevant forms at this meeting. The children do not attend this meeting. (Appendix 3)   Parents will be offered a period of 10 school days to decide on accepting places in writing (Appendix 4).       Successful applicants are placed on the Aladdin School Management System). Relevant information will be forwarded to the POD (Primary On-line Database on enrolment.   The meetings with parents take place during the 2ndterm after places have been offered.   Places cannot be deferred to the following year(s)             Enrolment for a Third Year                                           Addendum May 2002   In certain circumstances a third year may be offered where:   Reading scores on standardised assessment tests are significantly below expected levels of attainment.   The child’s rate of progress across all literacy areas is very low. And the child’s scores at the end of year two, if he/she were to apply for initial placement, would meet the criteria for enrolment.   In addition to school administered standardised tests, the principal will test reading ability using the Wechsler Objective Reading Dimension Test for Teachers (WORD)   The child’s teacher, parents and principal have all been consulted and agree that a third year is necessary.   The BOM have received, through the principal, a written request from parents/guardians for their child to be considered for a third year.   If a child, through continuing illness or other medical reasons, has missed a lot of school, a request for a third year may be considered.   The names of possible third year candidates are sent to the principal by class teachers, after Christmas, and parents are invited to consider if they wish to make a formal application. These children will then be tested by the principal. These children will be tested in January.      

St. Oliver Plunkett National School is a Catholic school and may refuse to admit as a student a person who is not of the Catholic faith where it is proved that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school.

6.    Oversubscription

In the event that the school is oversubscribed, the school will, when deciding on applications for admission, apply the following selection criteria in the order listed below to those applications that are received within the timeline for receipt of applications as set out in the school’s annual admission notice:

  In the event of oversubscription on any of the percentile ranks, the children will be prioritised by age, with the older children being offered places first.   A waiting list is created. This list is numbered and parents are kept informed of where they are on the list. Initially this is communicated by telephone and as the situation becomes clearer they are informed in writing in the second half of term 2. Places only become available by a parent/guardian deciding not to send a child to the school.   Enrolment is strictly adhered to as detailed in the enrolment policy. There are almost always more candidates then places.   Please note the school does not operate on a “first come first served “basis.   In the event that there are two or more students tied for a place with matching selection criteria and percentile ranking, the children will be prioritised by age, with the older child being offered a place first.    

7.    What will not be considered for admission

In accordance with section 62(7) (e) of the Education Act, the school will not consider any of the following in deciding on applications for admission or when placing a student on a waiting list for admission to the school:

  a student’s prior attendance at a pre-school or pre-school service, including naíonraí,   the payment of fees or contributions (howsoever described) to the school;   the occupation, financial status, academic ability, skills or aptitude of a student’s parents;   a requirement that a student, or his or her parents, attend an interview, open day or other meeting as a condition of admission;   a student’s connection to the school by virtue of a member of his or her family attending or having previously attended the school;       the date and time on which an application for admission was received by the school,   This is subject to the application being received at any time during the period specified for receiving applications set out in the admission notice of the school for the school year concerned. This is also subject to the school making offers based on existing waiting lists.    

8.    Decisions on applications

As a general rule and in so far as practicable having regard to this admission policy, children will be enrolled on application, provided that the child meets with enrolment criteria for reading schools and there is space available.

All decisions on applications for admission to St. Oliver Plunkett will be based on the following:

  • Our school’s admission policy
  • The school’s annual admission notice (where applicable)
  • The information provided by the applicant in the school’s official application form received during the period specified in our annual admission notice for receiving applications

(Please see section 14 below in relation to applications received outside of the admissions period.)

Selection criteria that are not included in our school admission policy will not be used in the decision making on an application for a place in our school.

9.    Notifying applicants of decisions

Applicants will be informed in writing as to the decision of the school, within the timeline outlined in the annual admissions notice. (See section 5 enrolment procedures)

If a student is not offered a place in our school, the reasons why they were not offered a place will be communicated 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 for the school year concerned.  

Applicants will be informed of the right to seek a review/right of appeal of the school’s decision (see Section 18 below for further details).

10.  Acceptance of an offer of a place by an applicant

In accepting an offer of admission from St. Oliver Plunkett you must indicate—

(i) whether or not you have accepted an offer of admission for another school or schools. If you have accepted such an offer, you must also provide details of the offer or offers concerned and

(ii) whether or not you have applied for and awaiting confirmation of an offer of admission from another school or schools, and if so, you must provide details of the other school or schools concerned.

11. Circumstances in which offers may not be made or may be withdrawn

An offer of admission may not be made or may be withdrawn by St. Oliver Plunkett where—

  • it is established that information contained in the application is false or misleading.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • an applicant has failed to comply with the requirements of ‘acceptance of an offer’ as set out in section 10 above.
  • The psychological report does not place the child within the average range of ability.
  • As evidenced in the psychological assessment the SLD/Dyslexia is not the primary difficulty of the child.
  • The child’s performance in basic literacy skills as measured by a standardised test is above the level accepted for enrolment.
  • Children should be eight years old and not more than twelve on the first day of the school year.

Parents are informed that this decision of the Board of Management may be appealed under section 29 of the Education Act within 45 days of receipt of a refusal letter. See Section 18

12. Sharing of Data with other schools

Applicants should be aware that section 66(6) of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 allows for the sharing of certain information between schools in order to facilitate the efficient admission of students.

Section 66(6) allows a school to provide a patron or another board of management with a list of the students in relation to whom—

(i) an application for admission to the school has been received,

(ii) an offer of admission to the school has been made, or

(iii) an offer of admission to the school has been accepted.

The list may include any or all of the following:


(i) the date on which an application for admission was received by the school;

(ii) the date on which an offer of admission was made by the school;

(iii) the date on which an offer of admission was accepted by an applicant;

(iv) a student’s personal details including his or her name, address, date of birth and personal public service number (within the meaning of section 262 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005).

  Provision of Key Information by Parents for admission of students   A Pupil Registration Form is provided to parents when children are being enrolled in the school.  This information includes:                     Pupil’s Name & Address Names & Address of Parents/Guardians Contact telephone numbers and telephone numbers in case of emergency Details of any medical conditions Previous schools attended and reasons for transfer and all details relevant for POD (Primary Online Database) Any other relevant information (including information as may be prescribed under the Education welfare Act (2000) or Education for People with Special Needs (2004)  

13. Waiting list in the event of oversubscription

In the event of there being more applications to the school year concerned than places available, a waiting list of students whose applications for admission to St. Oliver Plunkett School were unsuccessful due to the school being oversubscribed will be compiled and will remain valid for the school year in which admission is being sought.

Placement on the waiting list of St. Oliver Plunkett School is in the order of priority assigned to the students’ applications after the school has applied the selection criteria in accordance with this admission policy. 

Applicants whose applications are received after the closing date, outlined in the Admission Notice, will be placed at the end of the waiting list in order of the date of receipt of the application.

Offers of any subsequent places that become available for and during the school year in relation to which admission is being sought will be made 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.

14. Late Applications

All applications for admission received after the closing date as outlined in the annual admission notice will be considered and decided upon in accordance with our school’s admissions policy, the Education Admissions to School Act 2018 and any regulations made under that Act.

Late applicants will be notified of the decision in respect of their application no later than three weeks after the date on which the school received the application.  Late applicants will be considered for placement in the following school year.

15. Declaration in relation to the non-charging of Admission fees

The board of St. Oliver Plunkett or any persons acting on its behalf will not charge fees for or seek payment or contributions (howsoever described) as a condition of-

  • an application for admission of a student to the school, or
  • the admission or continued enrolment of a student in the school.

16.  Arrangements regarding students not attending religious instruction

  The following are the school’s arrangements for students, where the parents or in the case of the student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student , who has requested that the student attend the school without attending religious instruction in the school.  These arrangements will not result in a reduction in the school day of such students:   A written request for this arrangement should be made to the Principal of the school.  A meeting will then be arranged with the Parent/Guardians or the student, as the case may be, to discuss how the request may be accommodated by the school.    

 

17.  Reviews/appeals

Review of decisions by the board of Management

The parent of the student may request the board to review a decision to refuse admission. Such requests must be made in accordance with Section 29C of the Education Act 1998.   

The timeline within which such a review must be requested and the other requirements applicable to such reviews are set out in the procedures determined by the Minister under section 29B of the Education Act 1998 which are published on the website of the Department of Education and Skills.

The board will conduct such reviews in accordance with the requirements of the procedures determined under Section 29B and with section 29C of the Education Act 1998.

Note:  Where an applicant has been refused admission due to the school being oversubscribed, the applicant must request a review of that decision by the board of management prior to making an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

Where an applicant has been refused admission due to a reason other than the school being oversubscribed, the applicant may request a review of that decision by the board of management prior to making an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.  

Right of appeal

Appeals should first be made to the Board of Management and following dissatisfaction with this decision a further appeal can be made to:

Section 29 Appeals Administration Unit           The Department of Educational

Friars Mill Road                                                Mullingar                                                         County Westmeath

Under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, the parent of the student, or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, may appeal a decision of this school to refuse admission. 

An appeal may be made under Section 29 (1) (c) (i) of the Education Act 1998 where the refusal to admit was due to the school being oversubscribed.

An appeal may be made under Section 29 (1) (c) (ii) of the Education Act 1998 where the refusal to admit was due a reason other than the school being oversubscribed.

Where an applicant has been refused admission due to the school being oversubscribed, the applicant must request a review of that decision by the board of management prior to making an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998. (see Review of decisions by the Board of Management)

Where an applicant has been refused admission due to a reason other than the school being oversubscribed, the applicant may request a review of that decision by the board of management prior to making an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998. (see Review of decisions by the Board of Management)

Appeals under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 will be considered and determined by an independent appeals committee appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills.    

The timeline within which such an appeal must be made and the other requirements applicable to such appeals are set out in the procedures determined by the Minister under section 29B of the Education Act 1998 which are published on the website of the Department of Education and Skills.

This policy is ratified by the Board of Management and will be subject to periodic review.

Ratified on _____________________________________________  

Principal   _____________________________________________

Chairperson ___________________________________________