Loughmore N.S. Enrolment Policy
Introductory Statement: The original Enrolment Policy was formulated in 2002 by the teaching staff and the Board of Management at the time. The policy was updated in March 2011 by the teaching staff and ratified by the Board of Management 2011. Our ASD Unit Admissions and Enrolment Policy was devised in January 2013 and was adopted by the Board of Management of Loughmore NS on 21./03/13. The two policies are being merged here, in October 2017, to form a whole school enrolment policy outlining the procedure for enrolment in both our mainstream and ASD classes.
Loughmore NS is a Catholic School under the patronage of the Archbishop of Cashel and Emily. As such it’s Spirit and Ethos through practices, beliefs and attitudes, are rooted in this tradition. Notwithstanding our Ethos, we welcome children of every tradition while respecting the rights of the existing school community and the children already enrolled. Equality of access is the key value that determines the enrolment of children to our school.
Mission and Vision Statement: Attached please find School Mission and Vision Statement.
Rationale and Aims: The Board of Management are setting out this policy in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998. The Board believe that by doing so parents will be assisted in every way in relation to enrolment issues. It should be noted that the Chairperson of the Board of Management and the Principal will be happy to clarify matters arising from this Policy.
General Information Section:
Name: Loch Mór Maigh N.S.
Address: Loughmore, Templemore, Co.Tipperary
Contact details: 0504-32225 (phone and fax)
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Name of Patron: Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly
Type of School: Co-educational School, mainstream with special classes (ASD Unit).
Board of Management: The Management body of the school is the Board of Management appointed according to the Rules and Constitution of Primary Schools. The day-to-day running of the school is carried out by the legally appointed Principal Ms. Angela Dunne.
Number of Staff: The school is staffed in accordance with pupil-teacher ratio as outlined by the DES. The present teaching staff includes 4 Classroom Teachers (including the Principal), Two SET (Special Education Teaching) Teachers, two ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) Teachers. We also have a part-time SET teacher. We also have 8.5 SNAs in accordance with NCSE (National Council for Special Education) Allocation.
Ancillary Staff: A part-time Secretary and Caretaker. Two bus Escorts.
Range of Classes taught: Junior Infants to Sixth Class.
Opening Hours:The school day begins at 9.20am. School concludes for Infants at 2pm. and for all other classes at 3pm.
Curriculum offered: The School follows the Curricular programmes prescribed by the Department of Education and Science, which may be amended from time to time, in accordance with section 9 and 30 of the Education Act (1998).
- Languages: English, Gaeilge.
- Social, Environmental and Scientific Education: History, Geography, Science
- Arts Education: Visual Arts, Music, Drama
- Physical Education
- Social, Personal and Health Education
- Religious Education
- Other Relevant Information
- Parents’ Association very pro-active and supportive in the school.
- Active partnership with parish community – family masses, tidy towns committee, GAA, etc.
- School calendar is forwarded to parents in June and also in September and is also available for viewing on the school website.
- Official Parent- Teacher Meetings – take place in January at a time agreed between parents and teachers.
- Biannual written progress reports are given to parents (more frequently with SEN(Special Education Needs Pupils) – Jan and June.
- Unofficial Parent- Teacher Meetings are facilitated as required.
- Standardised Attainment Testing (SATs) take place in all classes 1st -6th on an annual
Basis during the month of May.
Funding: 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. School policy has regard to the resources and funding available.
Within the context and parameters of Department regulations and programmes, the rights of the patron set out in the Education Act (1998) , and the funding and resources available, the school supports the principles of;
- Inclusiveness, particularly with references to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational need.
- Equality of access and participation in the school.
- Parental choice in relation to enrolment.
- Respect for diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.
Application Procedure: Applications must be made in writing on the official application form which can be obtained from the school office/downloaded from the school website. The School will communicate generally to the School community through the Parish Newsletter, school website, the local paper and through notes to the pupils attending our School.
- Loughmore N.S. requires as a condition of so registering such child, his/her parents to confirm in writing that the code of behaviour so provided is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child.
- Admission of the Junior Infants normally takes place on the first day of the academic year. Any child who has not reached their fourth birthday cannot be enrolled at this time.
- The BOM of the school must make a decision within 21 days of receipt of such application. Where a school reasonably requires further information, the application will not be treated as complete until such time as all requested information has been received. Loughmore N.S. requires medical history and all relevant reports to accompany the enrolment. Where applicable requests in respect of details of guardianship and custody arrangements may be requested.
- Children who wish to apply to transfer to the school from another Primary School may do so at any time during the School year, however information regarding educational progress and previous attendance will be requested.
Decision Making Process: Written notification of acceptance/rejection will be sent out within 21 days of final date for receipt of applications.
While recognising the right of parents to enrol their child in the school of their choice, the Board of Management of Loughmore N.S. has the responsibility to respect the rights of the existing school community and in particular, the children already enrolled. This requires balanced judgements, which are guided by the principles of natural justice and acting in the best interest of all children. 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 classroom.
- educational needs of children of a particular age.
- multi-grade classes.
- presence of children with special educational/behavioural needs.
- DES maximum class average directives.
With regards to criteria for enrolment, the following is the priority order in which children will be accepted:
- Sisters and/or brothers of pupils currently in the school.
- Children living within the parish Boundary.
- Children of past pupils of Loughmore NS.
- Other children living outside the Parish boundary.
- Children of current staff, including ancillary staff.
In the event that there are more applicants within any category than there are available places, priority will be given to children within the particular category in order of age, starting with the oldest.
Enrolment of Children with Special Needs: In relation to applications for enrolment of children with special needs the Board of Management will request copies of medical and/or psychological reports. Where such reports are not available; a request will be made that the child/children be assessed immediately and reports furnished. The purpose of this is to assist the school in determining the educational, training and staffing needs of the child/children and to profile the support services required. On receipt of the reports the Board will then assess the school in terms of the specified needs. If the Board deems that further resources are required then a request will be made to the Department of Education and Science for provision of same prior to the enrolment of the child/children.
Enrolment in our ASD Unit:
An ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) Class was proposed by our SENO and approved by the NCSE and BOM for the school year 2013-14. The establishment of this class was contingent on approval for additional accommodation being granted by the Department of Education School’s Capital Appraisal Section and also on the necessary funding and resources being furnished to Loughmore NS by the Department of Education and Science. This funding was made available by the DES and our ASD Unit ‘Solas’ was built and opened officially in October 2014. At present we cater for 12 pupils on the Autistic Spectrum in our unit. This school policy has regard to and is contingent on the funding, resources, services and space available to our school in the future.
Enrolment in our ASD Unit – Procedure
Registration process begins with a referral from the SENO, North Tipperary Intervention Team, a telephone call or a visit from the parents. Applications, incorporating date of application, date of birth, address and telephone numbers are entered in the Applications file. Applications will only be processed on the basis of a diagnostic report, a copy of which must be given to the school. Once this process has been completed the applicant secures a place on the list of applicants to enrol.
Following the closing date for applications (generally the Friday before our February Mid-term Break each year), the list of applicants will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee, which will consist of the Principal, autism class teacher and members of the Board of Management. Factors taken into consideration are:
- Diagnosis- Child must be diagnosed as being on the ASD. spectrum with a recommendation for placement in a special class attached to mainstream.
- Integration-Child must be capable of integrating into mainstream, even at a minimal level, at an appropriate age level.
- Appropriateness-Child must be capable of accessing the Primary School curriculum
Once the committee is happy that the child presents as fulfilling the above, places will be allocated in accordance with the criteria below. The committee may request further information or a meeting with the child in the school setting if necessary.
Enrolment Criteria for ASD Unit:
The maximum class size is six pupils. The number of class based places available will depend on the number of mainstream pupils of that grade and the number of special needs children already integrated.
If the number of eligible children on the list of applicants to enrol exceeds the number of places available, the following criteria will apply in priority order, beginning with number one, once a definite diagnosis of Autism has been provided by a qualified professional.
- Pupils currently enrolled in our mainstream school and seeking to transfer to the ASD. Class (if deemed most suitable candidate by the Admissions team).
- Children living within the parish.
- Brothers and sisters of existing pupils.
- Children currently enrolled in another local mainstream school
- Children of past pupils living locally.
- If spaces are still available, places will be allocated as per waiting list, once an assessment has been made by the Admissions team.
The first year of a child’s placement in our ASD Unit will be used to:
- Assess the child’s educational needs.
- Develop an IEP to address identified needs.
- Assess whether the child’s placement is appropriate.
Taking into account the Department regulations and programmes, the rights of the patron as set out in the Education Act, and the funding available, the school supports the principles of;
- Inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special education need.
- Equality of access and participation in the school.
- Parental choice in relation to enrolment.
- Respect for the diversity of values, beliefs.
- Traditions, languages and ways of life in society.
The Board of Management will not refuse a child on the basis of ethnicity, disability, traveller status, refugee status, political beliefs or family or social circumstances, provided they fulfil the enrolment criteria. Fulfilling the enrolment criteria does not necessarily ensure enrolment if;
- Necessary resources pertaining to the enrolment are not available.
- Sufficient classroom space is not available.
- The Admissions Team decide that the school is unable to adequately meet the needs of the child.
Taking all of the above into account, and based on the advice of the enrolment team of the Autistic Class, the Board of Management reserves the right of admission.
Aim and Objectives
- To provide a quality driven, appropriate educational service to all children in the ASD Class, within the requirements of all recent legislation pertaining to Special Needs Education.
- To strive towards the integration of children in the class into mainstream education, having regard for levels of disability, available resources and suitability for such integration.
- To enhance the communicative and social skills of the children in the ASD class.
ASD Unit Discharge Policy
It is school policy to facilitate the discharge of pupils from the unit once they have completed 6th class and/or reached the age of twelve after September 30th in any year. Discharge may also be recommended if the admissions team, after consultation with the parents/guardian, feel that placement is not appropriate or if the child’s challenging behaviour poses a significant risk to health and safety in the school – both that of the pupil him/herself, other pupils or the school staff.
Discharge from the unit may also happen if a pupil is fully integrated into the mainstream school. A pupil’s place in our ASD Unit is reviewed annually. Integration into mainstream takes place under a ‘stepping stones’ approach – gradually built up over time, taking into consideration the child’s ability to cope on a holistic level – socially, emotionally, physically, mentally, academically.
If a place is not available in our ASD unit for a pupil in a given school year, parents will be notified of the admission committee’s decision in this regard and will be asked to reply within two weeks to confirm if they wish their child to be placed on a ‘waiting list’. This will not automatically happen. If parent do not reply the pupil will not be placed on the ASD Unit waiting list and will have to reapply to be considered for a placement in Solas for the following school year.
Right of Appeal: Under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 provides for a right of appeal against a decision to refuse enrolment. Following the expiry of the 21 days from the final date for receipt of applications any decision to refuse enrolment must be communicated in writing to the parents by the Chairperson of the Board.
Refusal to enrol on grounds of “Exceptional Circumstances”: The Board of management of Loughmore N.S. can only refuse to enrol in compliance with its agreed policy. The Board of Management can reserve the right to refuse enrolment in exceptional circumstances e.g.:
- The pupil has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from the DES, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the pupil with an appropriate education
(b)In the opinion of the Board, the pupil poses an unacceptable risk to other pupils,
school staff and/or school property.
Pupil Transfer: Pupils may transfer to the school at any time subject to the school’s enrolment policy and available space. The teaching allocation of a school each year, is determined by the enrolment as of the 30th September in the previous school year. Information regarding educational progress and attendance will be requested from their previous school when the child has been put on the register of Loughmore N.S.
Code of Behaviour: The Board of Management reserves the right to suspend and/or expel a child in the event of the child’s non-compliance with the school’s code of behaviour. Parents are expected to sign a statement that their child will comply with the school rules and code of behaviour.
Approval by the Patron: Under Section 15(2)(d) of the Education Act a copy of this policy will be made available to the Chairperson of the Board to forward to the Patron for approval.
Communication: This policy will be communicated to parents/guardians via the school website. Hard copies will be available on request from the secretary’s office. A copy of this policy will be attached to all enrolment application forms also.
Ratification: On receipt of approval from the Patron, the revised policy will be approved at a meeting of the Board of Management, signed by the Chairperson, dated and retained with the minutes of the particular meeting. All updates and revisions of the policy will be made available to the Board for ratification.
This policy was ratified on 26/04/2012. The amended policy was reviewed and ratified by the BOM on the 17th of October 2017.
The Board of Management will monitor the implementation of all aspects of this policy. The policy will be reviewed annually. This policy will be amended and updated as required.