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St. Columba’s BNS Enrolment and Admissions Policy
The Enrolment Policy
The Enrolment Policy has been formulated in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act in 1998 and the Equal Status Act (2000) in order to assist Parents in relation to enrolment matters. This policy was initially devised in 2010 by the Principal and the then Board of Management ( BOM). It has been amended since by subsequent Boards of Management and this review is under the current BOM in September 2017.
St. Columba’s BNS is a Catholic, primary school under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Cork and Ross. As a Roman Catholic School, the aim of the school is to promote the full and harmonious development of all pupils: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual development including a living relationship with God. The school models and promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God, and in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a Catholic School, we provide religious education in accordance with the doctrines, beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.
While St. Columba’s BNS is a school with a Catholic ethos, it also accords due recognition to all other religions. We recognise that some children in our school have other beliefs, religions and ways of life of people of all faiths and of none.
Within the context and parameters of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) regulations and programmes, the rights of the Patron as set out in the Education Act, and the funding and resources available, St. Columba’s BNS supports the following Guiding Principles as they relate to Enrolment/Admission:
–Inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational need;
–equality, of access and participation in the school;
–respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.
We, in St. Columba’s BNS, endeavour to nurture the self esteem of all within our school. We aim to create an environment where all are free to question and encouraged to think, where our children will learn and grow in honesty, respect and faith.
St. Columba’s BNS welcomes all students for whom the school can provide an appropriate education. The school aims to provide an integrated and inclusive education. Each year, the Borard of Management has to decide in advance the number of Junior Infants for whom the school can provide an appropriate education, having regard to facilities, personnel, buildings and resources.
Sr. Columba’s BNS is pleased that it has been selected by the Department of Education and Science to provide a facility for pupils with higher functioning autism. ThBOM affirms the school’s commitment to provide for the needs of children in this category having regard to the resources made available for this purpose by the Department of Education and Science.
St. Columba’s BNS follows the curricular programmes laid down by the Department of Education and Science.
St. Columba’s BNS operates under the Rules for National Schools and Departmental Circulars and is funded by grants. Staffing is resourced by the Department of Education and Science. The school is subject to The Education Act (1998), The Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Act (2004), equality law and all other relevant legislation.
1. Parents seeking to enrol their child(ren) in St. Columba’s BNS are requested to return a completed Enrolment Application Form (available in the office and on the school website (www.stcolumbasbns.ie)) with an original Birth/Adoption Certificate to the school. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is December 31st of the year prior to the pupil’s year of entry. Late applications will only be considered after all applications received on time have been processed.
All children who wish to attend St. Columba’s BNS should be at least 4 years old before September 1 on the year of induction and that at least a year of pre-school has been completed.
Pupils who reach their 4th birthday during the school year and wish to attend St. Columba’s BNS thereafter will not be admitted until the following September. This is for educational reasons and reflects a progressive school curriculum which necessitates children to complete the full Junior Infant school year.
2. For an application to be regarded as valid, parents/guardians are required to give full and accurate information as required by the school.
The Application Form requires detailed information relating to the following:
-Pupil’s name(s), date of birth and address.
-Names and addresses of pupil’s parents/guardians.
-Contact telephone numbers
-Contact telephone numbers in case of emergency.
-Details of any medical conditions which the school should be aware of.
-Name and telephone number of Family Doctor.
-Names of other siblings/Family members attending/attended St. Columba’s BNS.
-Details of attendance at Pre-School/ Play School/Montessori School, if any.
-Details of attendance at any other Primary School, if any, and reasons for transfer, if applicable.
-Details of any difficulties experienced by the child in any previous school.
-Details of any special help (Learning Support/ Resource Teaching etc.) which the child received in any previous school.
-Details of any referral to/assessment by Speech Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor, Social Worker, other professionals in the area of Child Care.
Any other relevant information (including any such further information as may be prescribed under the Education Welfare Act, 2000).
3. The Application Form must be signed by the Parents/Guardians.
4. The Application Form must be accompanied by a Birth Certificate. The pupil shall be enrolled as per the name on the official Birth Certificate as per Rules for National Schools.
The names of children for whom Enrolment Application forms and Birth/Adoption Certificates have been returned, will be placed on a class waiting list. Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment of pupils are made by the BOM in accordance with school policy. The Board will notify parents of their decision in writing within 21 days of the closing date for receipt of applications.
In the case of pupils applying for enrolment in other streams, the BOM accepts applications at any time during the school year and will also give parents/guardians a decision within 21 days of receiving an application.
Equality of access is the key value that determines the enrolment of children to our school. No child will be refused admission for reasons of ethnicity, special educational needs, disability, language/accent, traveller status, asylum-seeker/refugee status, religious/ political beliefs & values, family or social circumstances.
- While recognising the right of parents to enrol their child in the school of their choice, the BOM of St. Columba’s BNS has a duty to respect the rights of the existing school community and in particular, the children already enrolled. This requires balanced judgments, which are guided by the principles of natural justice and acting in the best interest of all children (Consideration is given to optimisation of the teaching/learning process, and the health and welfare of children, including their appropriate supervision). Assisting the school in such circumstances, the BOM reserves the right to determine the maximum number of children in each separate classroom bearing in mind:
- size of / available space in classrooms
- educational needs of children of a particular age
- multi-grade classes
- presence of children with special educational/ behavioural needs
- DES maximum class average directives (currently a maximum averageof 27 children)
- In the event of the number of children seeking enrolment in any given class/ standard exceeding the number of places available preceding or during the school year (due to the BOM being unable to provide suitable accommodation, or recruit the required teaching staff) the following criteria will be used to prioritise children for enrolment:
- Siblings of present and past pupils and children of staff members; step-siblings and the children of a couple in a legally recognised second partnership resident at the same address. In the event of the number of applications exceeding the number of places available, priority will be given to those who have completed and returned the official St. Columba’s BNS application form first.
- Siblings of children attending St. Columba’s GNS with Facility for Deaf Children.
- Children living within the Douglas parish boundaries; In the event of the number of applications exceeding the number of places available, priority will be given to those who have completed and returned the official St. Columba’s BNS application form first. Also in the event that parents register children on the same day, preference will be given to the eldest child.
- Children living outside the parish on a first come first served basis.
Names of unsuccessful applicants will be placed on a waiting list, in accordance with the ranking determined by the above criteria, and may be offered a place in Junior Infants for the following school year if/when a place becomes available. Unsuccessful applications for enrolment may be appealed to the BOM in accordance with Section 29 of the Education Act (1998).
Applications received after the 31st December will only be considered for enrolment if/when there are additional places available and only after all applications on the waiting list have first been offered a place. Late applications will be ranked in order of date of receipt of the applications.
Enrolment of Children with Special Needs
The BOM accepts applications for enrolment from parents/guardians of pupils with special needs. However, in order that the BOM can properly consider what is in the best interest of the child and what additional resources/equipment the school might need in order to facilitate the child’s attendance at St. Columba’s BNS, the following points should also be noted:
- In cases of children with special needs, the BOM requests that parents supply a copy of the child’s medical and psychological report before February 1st.
- Where such a report is not available, the BOM requests that the child be assessed immediately. The purpose of the assessment report is to assist the school in establishing the educational needs of the child relevant to his disability or special needs, and to profile the services required. Children with special needs will be resourced in accordance with the level of resources provided by the Department of Education and Skills to the BOM.
- Prior to enrolment a meeting will be arranged with the child’s parents/guardians to discuss the child’s needs and the school’s suitability or capability in meeting those needs. If considered necessary, a full conference involving all parties will be held which may include parents/guardians, Principal, class teacher, learning/language support teacher, special class teacher, resource teacher for special needs, speech therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist or any other as appropriate.
In making provision for Special Educational Need students the following information is required:
Has the student any of the following resources:
- Special Needs Assistant or Classroom Assistant.
- Member of a Special Class.
- Help for specific needs from any resource teacher.
- Assistance with behavioural modification.
- Psychological Assessment – if yes, the report should be supplied.
- Any additional resources to help with special needs including the areas of visual impairment, hearing impairment, general learning disability, emotional disturbance or any resource in relation to travel or mobility.
The BOM, having gathered all relevant information and professional documentation, will assess how the needs of the special needs students can be met. Final confirmation of a place may, in exceptional circumstances, have to be withheld until after the Department of Education and Science confirms that the necessary resources are to be allocated.
Notwithstanding the availability of such resources, parents of children who are dissatisfied with the level of educational provision in our school are advised to consider a special school which is designed and resourced to specifically cater for the needs of children with special educational needs.
In circumstances where a child has been started in St. Columba’s BNS and the DES does not provide appropriate resources to meet the child’s needs or where the school feels that the child’s physical, emotional or educational needs cannot be met in our school, the BOM reserves the right to ask that the child move to a class in an appropriate special school. This decision will only be reached in conjunction with the associated professionals and where a place in a special school is available (associated professionals e.g. Speech Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Social Worker, other professionals in the area of Child Care).
Admission into ASD Special Classes
As well as the enrolment criteria laid out above, the following criteria will be applied to each application for our ASD Special Class:
A diagnosis, using the DSM-IV or ISA 10, of Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorder is required to be made by a Psychologist or multi-disciplinary team. A professional report must clearly recommend a place in an ASD class attached to a mainstream school as the enrolment process.
Applicants who have a diagnosis of ASD, whose cognitive functioning has been assessed in the Mild General Learning ability range upwards using standardized psychological assessment tests.
Refusal to enrol on grounds of ‘Exceptional Circumstances’
The BOM reserves the right to refuse enrolment in exceptional circumstances i.e.
- The pupil has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from DES, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the pupil with an appropriate education
- In the opinion of the BOM, the pupil poses an unacceptable risk to other pupils, school staff and/or school property.
Right of Appeal
Unsuccessful applications for enrolment may be appealed to the BOM. Appeals must be in writing addressed to the Chairperson of the BOM and lodged within 10 days after notification of the Principal’s decision.
Following the conclusion of the appeal procedure above, Parents/Guardians, under the Education Act 1998 (section 29), have the right to appeal decisions by the BOM in relation to enrolment or exclusion, to the General secretary of the Department of Education and science on the official form provided by the Department.
Pupil transfer to St. Columba’s BNS
Pupils who transfer into the locality and wish to attend St. Columba’s BNS, after being placed on the school register, must furnish class reports and a letter of transfer from the Principal of the previous school. Parents must also sign the enrolment form and include a birth certificate.
Pupils wishing to transfer from other schools are enrolled subject to the Rules governing National Schools, as well as our own school’s enrolment policy and local agreements with other schools. Parents and child will also attend for interview.
The BOM has limited the total number of pupils enrolled in any class in St. Columba’s BNS to a maximum of 27. Transfer into classes in of excess 27 pupils shall be at the discretion of the BOM.
Code of Behaviour
Children enrolled in our school are required to co-operate with and support the School/ BOM’s Code of Behaviour as well as all other policies on curriculum, organisation, & management. The BOM places Parents/ Guardians responsible for ensuring that their child(ren) co-operate with said policies in an age-appropriate way. In accordance with the Department’s rules for National Schools, a child may be suspended. These policies may be added to and revised from time-to-time.
New Junior Infants
There will be a meeting for prospective parents during the third term of the school year prior to new pupils starting.
New Junior Infants will attend school for an informal visit at the end of June to familiarise themselves with their new environment.
Reconstitution of classes
In order to maintain a proper balance in classes, St. Columba’s BNS reserves the right to reconstitute/remix classes at the end of the senior infant year. The Principal may, in exceptional circumstances, for educational reasons reconstitute classes again further up the school e.g. fourth class
This policy is in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998 and is designed to help parents with enrolment matters. The BOM is aware of how challenging the transition from home to school can be for younger pupils and their parents. The BOM is anxious to make this transition as positive and enjoyable as possible. In the best interests of the pupils, their parents/guardians and their teachers and in the interest of the best management of the school, the BOM has outlined the above enrolment/admissions policy. The responsibility for its day-to-day implementation rests with the Principal, the Deputy Principal and the teaching staff subject to the direction and authority of the BOM. The Chairperson of the BOM or the Principal can be contacted at the school and will be happy to clarify any matters arising from this policy.
The policy will be reviewed again in September 2021.
Approval of patron
The policy will be submitted to the Diocesan Office for the approval of the Patron.
This policy was ratified by the BOM on ………….
Signed on behalf of the BOM: ____________________________