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

Admissions & Participation Policy

Download the Enrolment Form

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The Board of Management of Réalt na Mara National School hereby sets out its Admissions and Participation Policy in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998 and the Board trusts that by so doing, parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters. Réalt na Mara is a mainstream school with classes ranging from Junior Infants to 6th class.

School Principal is Mr. Phil McCaul and the school currently has 32 Teachers and 21 Special Needs Assistants.

Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the Board of Management of the school.

Download the Enrolment Form

Download the Enrolment Form for ASD and Early Intervention Classes

Download the Request for Transfer form

General School Information

Name of School: Réalt na Mara National School

Telephone No. (042) 9327230 (School Office)

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Class starts at 8.50 a.m. and finishes at 2.30 p.m.

The RSE and Stay Safe Programmes are in operation in the school.

Réalt na Mara provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with doctrines and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic faith.  Parents may request that children of different faiths/values do not participate in this religious instruction.  The children in 2nd and 6th classes respectively are prepared for the sacrements of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.

The school depends on the grants and teacher resources provided by the Department of Education and Science and it operates within the regulations laid down by the Department of Education and Science which may be amended from time to time, in accordance with the requirements of the Education Act 1998 (sections 9 and 30).

Mission Statement

Scoil Náisunta Réalt na Mara School is a Catholic Co-educational school under the Patronage of the Archbishop of Armagh, His Grace, Eamon Martin. 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 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.

Ultimately, we strive to model Christian values by acting justly, lovingly, tenderly, and walking humbly with our God (Micah).


The Rationale of the enrolment policy is to provide a framework for the selection of applicants for places in the school.  The Board of Management in making decisions, regarding enrolment, is bound by the Department of Education and Science’s rules for national school which provides for the enrolment of pupils from the age of 4 years and upwards, though compulsory attendance does not apply until the age of 6 years.

Criteria for Enrolment

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.

In the event that two or more applicants have identical dates of birth priority will be given to older child i.e. time of birth as recorded on birth certificate.

Application for Enrolment

Download the Enrolment Form

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

The enrolment process will be accepted by written application only.  The closing date for receipt of an Application for Enrolment form is February 28th /29th of the year in which the child wishes to commence Junior Infants.

Decisions in relation to the applications will be made by the Board of Management, which is obliged under section 19(3) of the Education Welfare Act 2000 to make a decision in writing in respect of an application for admission, within 21days of the closing date (March 20th in any given year) and to inform the parents in writing of this decision.

The following documentation will be required with the Enrolment form:

  • Original Birth Certificate
  • Current proof of address (e.g. Utility bill dated within the last 3 months).  The electoral register may also be used as proof of address.

The following information will be required on the enrolment form:

  • Pupil’s name, address and age
  • Parents/Guardians’ names and contact details
  • Contact number in case of emergency
  • Details of any medical conditions or child support services that the child attends of which we should be aware.
  • Details of any specific educational requirement of which we should be aware
  • Consent or refusal to be photographed or recorded
  • Consent or refusal to partake in school outings
  • Acceptance of all school policies


The Enrolment Application form must be completed in full and signed by the parent/guardian confirming that all details given are correct at the time of submission.

Failure to disclose important relevant information about a child’s needs could result in failure to provide an appropriate education for the child.  In the event of false information being provided the B.O.M. can refuse to enroll that child.  Parents/Guardians will be obliged to re-apply on a new form and the Board of Management will then reconsider the application.

It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to inform the school in writing of any change in their contact details.

Decision Making

Decisions in relation to applications are made by the Board of Management in accordance with the school’s enrolment policy.

The overall capacity of the school is 473 pupils

For the academic school year 2020-2021 the Board of Management will only accept 56 junior infants to our school.

The Board of Management must take into account:

  • The Department of Education of Science guidelines on class size.
  • The space available and the possibility or otherwise of providing additional space
  • Space for inclusion of ASD pupils from our five ASD classes.
  • Any other relevant requirements concerning physical space or the health and welfare of the children.
  • The presence of children with special education behavior needs
  • The parameters of the school’s health and safety policy

The Board of Management reserves the right to determine the maximum number of children in each class, taking account of 1-5 above   

The Board of Management will inform parents/guardians in writing of their decision within 21 days of the closing date for receipt of applications.  Parents are required to complete and return a form of acceptance within 2 weeks of the date of issue on the letter of offer.

Children who are not being offered a place will be placed in order of priority on a waiting list.  The waiting list for Junior Infants will cease on 30th September of the year of requested entry.

Pupils transferring from other schools

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

  1. The enrolment policy of the school
  2. 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.
  3. The Board of Management considers the transfer to be in the best interests of the child.

Pupils will not be accepted into a 1st – 6th class of 26 or more pupils.

A cap of 19 pupils is in place for all junior and senior infant classes.

  • If a transfer request is for the pupil to move mid-year a decision will be made within 21 days of receipt of the completed transfer request 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 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.

Right of Appeal

Under Section 29 of the Education Act (1998) parents/guardians are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education & Skills in respect of a decision by the Board of Management to:

  1. Refuse to enroll
  2. Suspend a pupil for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 days or longer in any school year.
  3. Permanently exclude a pupil from the school

When a decision is taken on 1, 2 or 3 above the parents/guardians will be informed of their right to appeal, in writing, by the Secretary of the Board of Management.  Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the Board of Management was notified to the parents/guardians.  The appeal is made in writing on the prescribed application form supplied by the Department of Education & Skills.  Further information on the appeals procedures can be downloaded from


A child removed from the register of Réalt na Mara in accordance with the terms of Rule 64, 2(c) shall be re-enrolled at the request of his/her parents/guardians following his/her removal, subject only to there being a place available in the particular class.

Children with Special Needs

Réalt na Mara is a mainstream school and is funded and equipped to function as such by the Department of Education and Science.  We cater for children with a range of special educational needs.

It is the policy of Réalt na Mara to request an up-to-date psychological report and/or medical report and /or speech and language report and/or occupational therapist report or any other relevant report on any child with special needs seeking a place in the school.  Where possible these should be supplied with the application for enrolment.

The Board of Management will consider each application on its own merits based on the reports provided.  Any consideration of an application will be deferred until relevant reports are provided.  The Board also reserves the right to seek an independent opinion from a relevant professional on any matter, which it deems merits further clarification.  It is expected that parents/guardians will co-operate with this requirement.

The Principal, in consultation with the parents/guardians, the Department of Education and Science and the B.O.M., will seek to put in place the resources necessary to meet the special needs of the child.  Where this is not possible the Board of Management may discuss with parents/guardians an alternative placement which might provide an appropriate education for their child.

As with all our children, progress of special needs children will be subject to regular review.  Where it is deemed that:

  1. A child is not benefitting from a place in Réalt na Mara, i.e. his/her educational emotional and behavioural needs are not being met due to the lack of specialized teaching resources, funding or facilities.


  1. The presence of the child in a large class in Réalt na Mara would cause a situation where educational needs of other children are not being fully met the Board of Management reserves the right to advise placement in a school better able to meet the child’s needs.

The Principal/Deputy Principal will meet parents/guardians of children with special needs prior to enrolment and will outline the facilities and resources available in the school to meet the needs of the child.

Code of Behaviour

Children enrolled in our school are required to co-operate with and support the school/Board of Management’s Code of Behaviour as well as all other policies on curriculum organization and management.  The Board of Management places responsibility on parents/guardians for ensuring their child(ren) co-operate with these policies in an age appropriate way and co-operate with the school in all matters relating to them.

In accordance with the Department of Education and Science Rules for National Schools a child may be suspended

Ref : Code of Behaviour, Anti Bullying Policy


The B.O.M. will monitor the implementation of all aspects of this policy and review and amend the policy in consultation with the staff as required with particular emphasis placed upon

  • Effective management placed on application process
  • Clarity and transparency in relation to the process
  • Applicants informed in good time regarding the status of their application particularly in the case of refusal to enrol

This policy was ratified by the B.O.M. on 8th October 2019 and is effective from this date.