Dáil Éireann - Volume 603 - 14 June, 2005

Written Answers. - School Enrolments.

  133. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Science if she has resolved the issues of persons (details supplied) who wish to retain the right to send their children to a school in County Wexford; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there is room in the school for [1602] the children concerned; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19651/05]

  Ms Hanafin:The school to which the Deputy refers is heavily oversubscribed as a result of a significant number of pupils enrolling from outside its catchment area. The development of this type of situation can impact negatively on pupils who reside within the catchment area and who are entitled, as of right, to a place in a particular school. It also invariably impacts negatively on the school or schools to which these pupils should rightly attend and in which considerable capital investment has been made for this purpose. It is a matter for all school authorities, in the context of their enrolment policies, to limit enrolment to within their catchment areas to ensure that such situations do not arise. A school authority may offer places to pupils from outside the catchment area only if it does not have negative repercussions for additional accommodation and or transport costs.

However, where a school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents of their right under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department.

Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 provides parents with an appeal process where a board of management of a school or a person acting on behalf of the board refuses enrolment of a student. An appeal will generally not be admitted unless it is made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the board of management was notified to the parent or student concerned. However, a longer period for making appeals may be allowed as an exception where it is accepted that circumstances did not permit the making of an appeal within the 42-day limit.

Where an appeal under section 29 is upheld, the Secretary General of my Department may direct a school to enrol a pupil.