Scoil Náisiúnta Réalt na Mara Réalt na Mara National School

Mill street, Dundalk, Co Louth, A91 TD3H
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(042) 9327230
Principal: Mr Phil McCaul

Realt Na Mara National School Front photo

Admission Policy

Forms:

1. 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 the 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 18th August 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 Réalt na Mara 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.

This policy must be read in conjunction with the annual admission notice for the school year concerned.

The application form for admission is published on the school’s website  and will be made available in hardcopy on request to any person who requests it.

The address, at which the applicant resides, will be the only address used by the school for correspondence regarding enrolment.

The completion of an enrolment application form or the placement of your child’s name on a list, however early, does not confer an automatic right to a place in the school.

2. Characteristic spirit and general objectives of the school

Réalt na Mara N.S. is a Catholic co-educational primary school with a Catholic ethos under the patronage of the Archbishop Eamon 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:

  1. the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil, including the intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual aspects; and
  2. a living relationship with God and with other people; and
  3. a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; and
  4. 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 Réalt na Mara N.S. 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.

Our mission is the provision of Primary Education of the highest quality for all our pupils in an atmosphere of love, trust and acceptance.  The management staff and pupils endeavour to make this school a welcoming, safe, happy place where difference, tolerance and mutual respect is celebrated.  Réalt na Mara School promotes the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the child – intellectual, physical, cultural, moral, spiritual, aesthetic and holistic, thus ensuring each child achieves his full human potential.  We aim to enhance and encourage in all pupils an awareness of their own self-worth; confidence in their own ability; the importance of respect and forgiveness, so that through their learning experience they achieve the life skills necessary to be well rounded happy citizens, who will always make a valuable contribution to society. Réalt na Mara School actively promotes both individually and collectively, the professional development of all staff members.

3. Admission Statement 

Réalt na Mara National School will not discriminate in its admission of a student to the school on any of the following:

  1. the gender ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  2. the civil status ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  3. the family status ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  4. the sexual orientation ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  5. the religion ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  6. the disability ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  7. the ground of race of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned,
  8. the Traveller community ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned, or
  9. 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.

Réalt na Mara N.S. 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.

Réalt na Mara N.S. is a school which has established 4 ASD classes and 1 Early Intervention ASD class with the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills, which provides an education exclusively for students with a category or categories of special education needs specified by the Minister and may refuse to admit to the class a student who does not have the category of needs specified in our policy. Available at  https://www.realtnamarans.ie/about/policies/admissions-participation-policy-for-asd-classes/

4. Categories of Special Educational Needs catered for in the school/special class (Autism Spectrum Disorder)


Réalt na Mara N.S. with the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills has established 4 ASD classes and 1 Early Intervention ASD class which provide an education exclusively for students with a category or categories of special education needs.  https://www.realtnamarans.ie/about/policies/admissions-participation-policy-for-asd-classes/

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)
  2. 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

Réalt na Mara N.S. 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.

School with special education class(es)

The special class attached to Réalt na Mara N.S. provides an education exclusively for students with special needs https://www.realtnamarans.ie/about/policies/admissions-participation-policy-for-asd-classes/ and the school may refuse admission to this class, where the student concerned does not have the specified category or special educational needs provided for in these classes.

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:

Criteria for Enrolment to Junior Infant Classes

The following are the criteria by which successful applications are decided.  Should the numbers seeking enrolment exceed the number of places available the board shall use the following criteria.

  1. Siblings, and children of staff born on or before 30th June in their year of entry.  (including step-siblings and foster siblings of children already enrolled in the school or who have attended the school in the past.) Oldest first. 
  2. Siblings and children of staff born after 30th June in their year of entry and children from St. Patrick’s Parish and St. Joseph’s parish. Oldest first. 
  3. All other applicants. (oldest first)

The above criteria are listed in order of priority.  When places are allocated under ‘Criterion 1’ and more places are available, then ‘Criterion 2’ comes into play, and so on until no places remain.

_ If the numbers seeking enrolment in any of the above criterion exceeds the number of places available in that criterion, then priority will be given according to age, older children first._**

Application for Enrolment    

Parents who wish to enroll their child in Junior Infants in the school must complete an Enrolment Application form which is available to download on our school website  or from the school office during school hours

The enrolment process will be accepted by written application only.   Dates and timelines for receipt of an Application for enrolment are set out in our Annual Admission Notice posted annually on our website

In the event that there are two or more students tied for a place or places in any of the selection criteria categories above (the number of applicants exceeds the number of remaining places), the following arrangements will apply:

Priority will be given to older child i.e. time of birth as recorded on birth certificate The Board will keep the remaining applicants on a waiting list for cancellations arising before the school year begins.

7. What will not be considered or taken into account

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

  1. a student’s prior attendance at a pre-school or pre-school service, including naíonraí,  other than in relation to a student’s prior attendance at Réalt na Mara Early Intervention ASD class.
  2. the payment of fees or contributions (howsoever described) to the school;
  3. a student’s academic ability, skills or aptitude; other than in relation to ASD concerns
  4. the occupation, financial status, academic ability, skills or aptitude of a student’s parents;
  5. a requirement that a student, or his or her parents, attend an interview, open day or other meeting as a condition of admission;
  6. a student’s connection to the school by virtue of a member of his or her family attending or having previously attended the school;
    (Other than;
    1. siblings of a student attending or having attended the school and 
    2. children of staff
  7. 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 annual admission notice of the school for the school year concerned.

This is also subject to the school making offers based on existing waiting lists (up until 31st January 2025 only).

8. Decisions on applications 

The overall capacity of the school is 473 pupils

For the academic school year 2021-2022 the Board of Management will only accept 56 junior infants to our school.

All decisions on applications for admission to Réalt na Mara N.S. 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 and section 15  below in relation to applications for places in years other than the intake group.)

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

The Board of Management will have regard for the relevant DoES guidelines in relation to class size and staffing provisions and/or other relevant requirements concerning accommodation, including physical space and health and safety for children.

The Board of Management is bound by the DoES Rules for National Schools which provides that children may only be enrolled from the age of 4 and upwards.  Children must have reached their fourth birthday, at least, before they start school at Réalt na Mara N.S.

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.

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 Réalt na Mara N.S., 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 to the Principal of Réalt na Mara N.S. 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 to the Principal of Réalt na Mara N.S.

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 Réalt na Mara N.S. where —

  1. it is established that information contained in the application is false or misleading.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. an applicant has failed to comply with the requirements of ‘acceptance of an offer’ as set out in section 10 above.

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)

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 Réalt na Mara N.S. 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 Réalt na Mara N.S. 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.

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.

15. Procedures for admission of students to other years and during the school year

The procedures of the school in relation to the admission of students who are not already admitted to the school to classes other than the school’s intake group are as follows:

Parents/Guardians complete an application form.

Such applications will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Admission will depend on space in the required class. 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
  • presence of children with special educational/ behavioural needs
  • DES maximum class average directives (as determined by the inspectorate)

The procedures of the school in relation to the admission of  students who are not already admitted to the school, after the commencement of the school year in which admission is sought, are as follows:

Pupils transferring from other schools are enrolled subject to the rules governing national schools and to:

  • The enrolment policy of the school

  • The school being satisfied with the reasons for the transfer (information will be required from present or previous school concerning attendance, behavior, educational progress and disabilities or special needs.

  • The Board of Management considers the transfer to be in the best interests of the child.

  • On receipt of a completed transfer request application from the parent/guardian for the pupil to move mid-year a decision will be made within 21 days of receipt of the form.

  • Where a request is made in advance for a child to transfer to the school at the beginning of the next academic year a decision will be made during the first week of the Summer holidays and parents will be informed no later than July 12th of that year.

  • Transfer requests for any academic year will be held on file until 30th Sept of the following year i.e.an application for a child wishing to enrol during the academic year 2019-2020 will be held on file until 30th September 2020.  Thereafter a new enrolment form will have to be submitted if the child wishes to be considered for a transfer request for the next academic year 2020-2021and so forth.

16. Declaration in relation to the non-charging of fees

The board of Réalt na Mara N.S.or any persons acting on its behalf will not charge fees for or seek payment or contributions (howsoever described) as a condition of-

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

17. Arrangements regarding students not attending religious instruction 

Réalt na Mara N.S. has a Catholic Ethos and, in keeping with this ethos, children of all or no other faiths are welcome to apply to this school.

The following are the school’s arrangements for pupils, where the parents or in the case of a pupil who has reached the age of 18 years, the pupil, who has requested that the pupil attend the school without attending religious instruction in the school.  These arrangements will not result in a reduction in the school day of such pupils:

A written request should be made to the Principal of the School. A meeting will then be arranged with the parent(s) or the pupil, as the case may be, to discuss how the request may be accommodated by the school.

18. Reviews/appeals

Review of decisions by the board of Management

The parent of the student, or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, 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

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.

19. Implementation and Review

This policy will be implemented for the school year 2021-2022 and thereafter.  It will be reviewed, as deemed necessary, by the Board of Management.

20. Policy Ratification

After the approval of the Patron, this policy was ratified by the Board of Management of Réalt na Mara N.S. at a meeting on 16th June  2021