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To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the difficulties some parents face in enrolling a child with special educational needs in school due to overt or 'soft' barriers put in place by schools to prevent or discourage parents from enrolling their children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Mick Wallace.

For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 28th May, 2013.


The National Council for Special Education recently published its policy advice on Supporting Students with Special Educational needs in Schools.

This report recommended that a robust regulatory enrolment framework should be introduced for schools, to ensure that every child with special educational needs is protected from school enrolment practices or policies with overt or covert barriers that block his/her access to enrolment in the school.

As the Deputy is aware, I announced at the recent Teacher Union Conferences that I will shortly bring to Government draft heads of a bill – the Education (Admission to School) Bill 2013. I will seek to publish the Bill in draft form to allow a full public discussion, including inputs from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection and the education partners.

I also intend to publish draft regulations that I plan to make when the Bill is enacted. In bringing forward these proposals, my policy objective is to ensure that the way in which schools decide on applications is structured, fair and transparent. As the Bill and the Regulations will be published in draft form, they will also be subject to a lot of detailed scrutiny before becoming law.

I will be reflecting carefully on the views expressed in the consultation process to ensure they strike the right balance between school autonomy and fairness in our education system.

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.


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