Admissions

Educate Together Junior Infant children on their first day of school

Primary admissions policies

Educate Together national schools welcome all children. What has set Educate Together schools apart over the last forty years is that no child on entering an Educate Together school is asked their religion as part of the admissions process. While in school, no child is separated or treated differently in any way due to their religious or philosophical beliefs. Many schools have enrolment policies which take into account siblings already attending the school or residency in catchment areas. Educate Together schools do not give priority to children of staff members, siblings who are no longer in the school or past parents.

At the 2019 Educate Together AGM an admission motion was passed that all National Schools under Educate Together patronage who maintain a pre-enrolment list will cease taking pre-enrolments for the 2024/2025 intake group to reflect out equality-based ethos and in preparation for the commencement of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act.

All Educate Together schools with Educate Together as their patron will then operate an annual admission process similar to Educate Together national schools opened in recent years and our second-level schools. Universal template policies will be developed with variations, for example for schools with specific catchment areas, these will be based on a random selection within each category for oversubscribed schools.

In addition schools with Educate Together as their patron who does not already have a sibling criteria in their Admissions Policies, will, in consultation with their school communities, introduce a sibling category to their Admissions Policy over the coming years.

Educate Together endeavours to expand existing school provision or propose new schools when there is significant oversubscription for places in its schools.

Second-level admissions policies

Educate Together second-level schools do not give priority to any children, including those who complete their primary education in Educate Together national schools. This reflects the Educate Together’s Charter by offering equality of access to our schools to all families, not just those who were fortunate to have access to an Educate Together national school. Educate Together schools do not give priority to children of staff members, siblings who are no longer in the school or past parents.

In the event that a second-level school is oversubscribed, Educate Together admissions policies aim to reflect our equality-based ethos and the 2018 Education Act by offering places to siblings of children already attending the school first, then randomly selected pupils living in the defined catchment area of the school (if previously imposed by the Department of Education based on demographic need), followed by children who live outside the catchment area. Educate Together endeavours to expand existing school provision or propose new schools when there is significant oversubscription for places in its schools.

 

Information for Boards of Management

All Educate Together schools must have an admission policy drawn up in accordance with current legislation and current Department of Education regulations. Legislation requires that enrolment policies must be approved by Educate Together as patron. Educate Together has a clear set of policies and procedures relating to the responsibilities of the Board, the Principal and the patron – detailed in the Educate Together Patronage Manual which can be accessed below.

Education Act 2018

In 2018, a number of provisions of the Education (Admissions to Schools) Act came into operation. The legislation has banned the use of religion in enrolment procedures in almost all cases and ended admission fees. Educate Together has welcomed the discontinuation of the so-called ‘baptism-barrier’. Whilst issues arising from the ‘baptism barrier’ were not in any way applicable to Ireland’s equality-based schools, Educate Together has long contended that state-funded schools should not be allowed to discriminate against children on any grounds.

However, removing the ‘baptism barrier’ will not solve the problem of parents of minority religion or no religion having very little choice in the type of the school to which they can send their children. Providing families in Ireland with a school option where each child’s religious/worldview identity is equally respected and valued within the school day is of paramount importance. Educate Together’s equality-based model provides this.

Educate Together’s admissions policies will be amended to adhere to the Act as it fully commences. Updates will be posted to this web page and sent to schools when available.