Enrolment Policy

The Board of Management is setting out this policy in accordance with the provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000, and trusts that by doing so parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters. Furthermore, the Chairperson of the Board of Management and the Principal will be happy to clarify any further matters arising from this policy.

Denomination

St.  John’s National School is a Roman Catholic co – educational school, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Diarmuid Martin. The school aims to promote the full and harmonious development of all children in its care: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, culturally, morally and physically. The school provides religious education in accordance with the doctrines, practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.

Contact Details

St. John’s National School
Church Road,
Ballybrack,
Co. Dublin
A96 NW60

Telephone: 01 2855525
Fax: 01 2855525
E-mail: office@stjohnsns.ie

Staffing

The current staffing is 13 full time teachers, 1 part time teacher, 2 shared teachers; 12 special needs assistants, 1 secretary, 1 child care worker and 1 caretaker. The teaching staff comprises of the following:

  • Principal
  • 7 Mainstream Teachers
  • 3 ASD Teacher- Autistic Spectrum Disorder   
  • 2 full time Learning Support Teacher     
  • 3 part time Learning Support Teachers
  • 1 Early Start Teacher
  • 1 Child Care Worker

Range of Classes

St. John’s National School caters for pupils, both boys and girls, from Early Start to 6th class, including:

  • ASD Unit – Seedlings – Early Intervention
  • Acorns –  Junior
  • Oaks –  Senior

Funding

The school depends on grants, voluntary contributions from parents/guardians, fundraising and teacher resources provided by the Department of Education & Science and it operates within the rules for National schools laid down, from time to time, by the Department of Education and Science. School policy must have regard to the resources and funding available and the law/regulations.

Curriculum

St. John’s National 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).

The key principles outlined in the Education Act which should underpin our enrolment policy are:

INCLUSIVENESS and INTEGRATION, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational needs.
EQUALITY with respect to maximum access and participation in the school
PARENTAL CHOICE in relation to choice of school and having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school
RESPECT for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.

Application Procedures

On application for enrolment, parents/guardians are required to complete an enrolment application form. On the form, information in relation to the following is required:

  • Pupil’s name, address, date of birth
  • Names and addresses of pupil’s parents or legal guardians
  • Contact telephone numbers
  • Any medical conditions of which the school should be aware
  • Psychological/medical reports (if relevant)
  • Assessment of need or other interventions such as speech, language or occupational therapy
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Previous school attended (if any)
  • Any other relevant information, including such as may be prescribed under the Education Welfare Act (2000)
  • Birth certificate,P.P.S. number and proof of address

Decision Making Process

  • All decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the Board of Management of St. John’s National School in accordance with the school policy and in accordance with the Department fof Education and Science
  • All applications for enrolment shall be considered in accordance with this enrolment policy. Applications must be fully completed.
  • February 1st is the normal closing date for applications made on behalf of children who wish to commence in Junior Infants at the beginning of the following September.
  • Late Applications will be added to the end of the waiting list as they arrive. They will be stamped and dated.
  • A letter of offer to successful candidates will be issued to parents by the end of February.
  • The Board of Management shall notify parents/guardians of its decision to offer a place on foot of any such late application within one month of receipt of such applications.
  • In the event that applications for enrolment exceed the number of places available, the following criteria shall be applied in the determination of place allocation:
  • Siblings of pupils already in the school
  • Children who have participated in the Early Start Programme in the school
    (a) Children within the catchment area of school.
    (b) Should it become necessary in respect of any category, date of application will be used if the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available.
  • The Board will have regard for Department of Education & Science guidelines in relation to class size, age requirements, staffing schedules and/or any other relevant requirements concerning accommodation, such as physical space or the health and welfare of children in considering applications for a place.
  • Places will be offered up to the number of places available as determined by the board.
  • The Board of Management may, for exceptional reasons, and in the interests of the school, decline to enrol an otherwise qualified applicant.

Offer of Places for Junior Infants

  • Pupils applying for places must be four on/before the 31st of August in the year of enrolment.
  • Offers will be made in accordance with the criteria set out in paragraph B2 above.
  • Acceptances in writing (completion of form) will be due back on the date stated on the offer letter. A €50 refundable deposit will be required to secure a place in the school. This will be used towards the Junior Infant book list and supplies.
  • Failure to reply will result in loss of a place. Applications for places in Junior Infants, received after places have been offered in February, will be put on the waiting list
  • The order in which children who are on a waiting  list will be offered a place will depend on the application of the criteria set out in paragraph B2 at the time a place becomes available.

Offers of places for Early Start

  • Children must be aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months on the 1st day of September of the year in which they are enrolled, as directed by the Department of Education & Science.
  • Offers will be made in accordance with the policy of the Department of Education and Science and the criteria set out in B2, with an additional requirement being a declaration by the applicant that the child will continue to attend St. John’s NS for the rest of their primary school education, where a mainstream setting is appropriate
  • All other procedures with regard to the enrolment of Early Start pupils conform with the same procedures for the offering of places to Junior Infants.

* Please note: Early start is the mainstream preschool and Early Intervention is the AS preschool. The two classes are separate and, as such, applications for both must be made separately.

If a child attending Early Start is receiving intervention and the possibility of needing a placement in an AS class is made known, a separate application must be made for the AS classes and this application will be considered in line with the enrolment policy addendum, please see section 8.

Enrolment of children with special needs in Mainstream

It is the policy of St. John’s National School, where possible, to enrol children with special needs in the school. Parents/Guardians wishing to apply for a place on behalf of a child with special needs shall have their application considered in accordance with the criteria set out under the heading “Decision Making Process”. In relation to applications for the enrolment of children with special needs, the Board of Management will request a copy of the child’s medical and/or psychological report, or where such a report is not available, will request that the child be assessed immediately. The purpose of the assessment report is to assist the school in establishing the educational and training needs of the child relevant to his/her disability or special needs and to profile the support services required.

Following receipt of the report, the Board will assess how the school can meet the needs specified in the report. Where the Board deems that further resources are required, it will, prior to Enrolment, request the Department of Education (SENO), (NCSE, www.education.ie; see circular 01/05) to provide the resources required to meet the needs of the child as outlined in the psychological and/or medical report. These resources may include, for example, access to, or the provision of, any or a combination of the following: visiting teacher service, resource teacher for special needs, special needs assistant, specialized equipment or furniture, transport services or other.

The school will meet the parents of the child and, with the Special Education Needs Officer, discuss the child’s needs and the school’s suitability or capability in meeting those needs. Where necessary, a full case conference involving all parties will be held, which may include parents, principal, class teacher, learning support teacher, resource teacher for special needs, SENO and/or psychologist, as appropriate.

Exceptional Circumstances

The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment for a pupil, for Early Start and Mainstream where appropriate, in exceptional cases.  Such an exceptional case could arise, where, for example:

The pupil has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from the Department of Education and Skills, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the pupil with an appropriate education.

In the opinion of the Board of Management, the pupil poses an unacceptable risk, to other pupils, to themselves, to school staff or to school property.

Children of other faiths or no faith

Bearing in mind the Catholic ethos of the school, every effort will be made so that the school is as inclusive as possible. While Catholic education and the ethos of the school permeates the day, children of other faiths or none, where request is made in writing, will be excused from attendance at formal religious instruction classes and specifically Catholic liturgies. As far as possible, in consultation with parents, suitable alternative arrangements will be made in order to facilitate this where reasonably practicable. It will not be possible, however, to provide religious instruction in other faiths.

Addendum

  • The Enrolment of Children in ASD Unit, (Special Classes for children with Autism)
  • Each child must have a full current Psychological & Cognitive Assessment, which must specify a diagnosis of Autism/ASD using DSMV or ICD10 and a specific recommendation for a special class placement in a mainstream school from a qualified professional/professionals.
  • The child must have a primary diagnosis of Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorder without significant intellectual impairment made using the DSM-V or ICD 10 by the psychologist or a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Team.  If the child also presents with a general learning disability, it must fall within the mild range (this diagnosis must also be made using a professionally recognised clinical and psychological assessment procedure).   In the event of an application being made to enrol where a child is deemed by a psychologist, to be too young to undergo a cognitive assessment the place will be offered subject to the eventual outcome of this assessment.
  • The parents/guardians must fill in and return a School Enrolment form as for all pupils.
  • All relevant reports and assessments must be given to the school prior to the child enrolling. The withholding of reports may invalidate any enrolment.
  • The school accommodates three classes for children with Autism, which are class for children of school going age
    – Seedlings- aged 3-5 years
    – Acorns – classes Junior Infants – 2nd Class
    – Oaks – classes 3rd – 6th class
  • It must be noted  that Early Intervention (Seedlings) does not automatically guarantee you a place in the Mainstream  section or in the ASD Unit of the school. The children will be monitored during their time in Seedlings and parents will be encouraged to follow advice of staff and Principal in relation to the most suitable placement, in consultation with parents and staff, then the appropriate application for (ASD or Mainstream) may be offered. Please note this is NOT a guarantee of a place in either the unit or mainstream but that this application will revert back to Section 2 of this policy.
  • The Department of Education & Skills states that the ratio for this class is a maximum six pupils to one teacher and two SNAs.  There must be more than three pupils to access the second SNA.
  • The parents/guardians (and the prospective candidates for the class if required) must meet the principal, the class teacher and any other relevant parties before the child is offered a place.  A meeting of new parents will be held prior to commencement in the school, as with all pupils.
  • The classes will be co-educational and will cater for children of Pre-school and Primary School age only – i.e. four/five years to thirteen years.
  • The Board of Management reserves the right to refuse enrolment in exceptional circumstances, as outlined previously in this policy.  The Board also reserves the right to suspend or withdraw services under ‘Health & Safety’ regulations and in conjunction with the school’s ‘Code of Behaviour’ as per the National Education Welfare document if the need arises.
  • All placements are subject to review at the request of the parents and/or the school.  The review will include input from all agencies involved, the parents/guardians and the school.  Following the review a recommendation may be made that the child be enrolled in a school that can meet his/her needs.
  • The Principal implements the enrolment policy on behalf of the Board of Management.
  • First preference for enrolment will be given to pupils attending St. John’s National School (as per admissions criteria). After this the enrolment will be on the basis of the waiting list.

Appeals

The Board of Management of a school is also obliged under section 19 (3) of the Educational Welfare Act 2000 to make a decision in writing in respect of an application for enrolment within 21 days and inform the parents in writing of that decision. Where a Board of Management refuses to enroll a student in the school, the parent of the student, following the conclusion of any appeal procedures at school level, has a statutory entitlement under Section 29 of the Education Act (as amended by Section 4 of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007, to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of the Department of Education & Science. A committee is established to hear the appeal with hearings conducted with a maximum of formality. In most cases, appeals must be dealt with in 30 days. Where appropriate, the Secretary General may give whatever directions to the Board of Management that are considered necessary to remedy the matter complained of.

Details on appealing decisions on enrolment under section 29 of the Education Act (as amended by Section 4 of the Education Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2007 are available on the Department’s website at www.education.ie. The procedure for appealing a refusal to enrol is included as an appendix to this document.

Pupils transferring from another primary school

Pupils may transfer to the school at any time, subject to school policy, available space and in some cases, the approval of the Department of Education & Science. The Education Welfare Act (2000) contains some specific new provisions in relation to the transfer of pupils including the requirement that information concerning attendance and the child’s educational progress should be communicated between schools.

St. John's National School © 2021

Hi everyone,

Hopefully by now we are settling into a routine and the children are engaging in online learning. The teachers are working very hard to ensure that things go smoothly but please remember, there is no pressure on anyone at this very difficult time. The important thing is that we all remain safe and healthy and happy.

I have attached a letter for your perusal from the Minister of Education. In it she talks about what you should expect from online learning. Hopefully everyone is happy with the level of work and contact your child has with their class teacher but remember you can always contact the teacher directly at their email address or, myself at principal@stjohnsns.ie.

 

Stay safe and take care

Kind regards

 

12 January 2021

 

Parents of students receiving remote learning

 

Dear Parent/Guardian

 

I hope that you and your families are keeping safe and well at this difficult time.

 

As you know, from yesterday Monday 11 January, schools will be closed to students and all students at primary and post-primary level will now move to a programme of remote learning.

 

While NPHET is of the view that schools remain safe environments, the decision to close schools was taken in order to minimise mobility of the entire population and to support the suppression of the Covid-19 virus in the community. This will allow everyone to reduce their contacts, with a view to reducing the spread of the virus and a swift return to school for all.

 

Remote Learning during this period

 

Following the initial period of school closure last year, the Department has engaged with the education partners to revise remote teaching and learning guidance. This was agreed with all stakeholders last year and guidance for primary and post-primary schools was subsequently published online in October and December 2020 respectively.

 

As such, during this time, all teachers, including special education teachers (SETs), are required to continue to support teaching and learning for all pupils/students in their class/subject group or on their caseload.

 

Schools have been advised of the need to ensure appropriate provision and support for pupils/students during this time. Every school has been advised of the need to develop a contingency plan for remote learning that is appropriate to children’s different ages and stages, and has been provided with guidance on best practice. The guidance provided to schools notes that it is crucially important that the learning of all pupils/students, especially those with special educational needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage and/or early school leaving, are supported at this time. These guidelines are listed at the end of this letter.

 

Schools have been provided with funding as part of the Digital Strategy for Schools. In 2020 funding totaling €100m in 2020 was provided to schools and schools have been advised to prioritise supporting the purchase of devices for students who may not have access to devices for remote learning. The School Support services that are funded by the Department have developed a suite of materials to assist teachers in using an online platform to support teaching, learning and assessment. Furthermore, there is a range of supports available to schools from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Junior Cycle for Teachers, An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscoilaíochta, National Educational Psychological Service, Education Centres and the Centre for School Leadership.

 

There has been an excellent take up by teachers throughout the country of training and supports provided in this area, and I know that schools will do their utmost in these difficult circumstances to provide the best possible experience for students. Schools will contact parents directly with their plans and arrangements for remote learning.

 

The Inspectorate of the Department will continue to offer an advisory service to schools to support the delivery of remote learning and to provide assistance to school leaders in particular. The Inspectorate will also evaluate and report on the quality of educational provision for students at this time.

 

Returning to in-person learning for all schools

The Department is conscious that closing schools has hugely adverse consequences at individual, family and societal level. For children, it impacts on wellbeing, learning, on social and emotional development.

 

School closure has significant impacts on children with special educational needs. School closure also heightens student anxiety, particularly for the Leaving Certificate cohort, in relation to state examinations.

 

The Government decision included provision that in-person learning would be maintained for two specific cohorts from Monday 11, pupils/ students attending special schools and classes and final year Leaving Certificate students. Despite the confirmation by Public Health that schools remain safe, unfortunately it has not proved possible to get agreement to provide in-person learning for these two groups. In these circumstance there is no alternative but to pause the limited reopening and continue engagement with partners. I will keep parents of these students updated on this engagement.

 

The latest public health advice received by Government is available here. It clearly outlines that schools are safe environments, and that the protective measures and the considerable supports put in place to support schools have been successful.

 

Where there have been cases in schools, the enhanced school teams put in place by Public Health and the Department have worked effectively to support schools, and the level of transmission in schools has been low. Because of this, we continue to aim to return all students to in-person learning as soon as it is possible to do so.

 

 

 

Supports and wellbeing

It is important that students experience continuity of learning during this period to the extent that is possible for your family, bearing in mind your child’s age and stage. Research conducted in Ireland concluded that while online learning worked for some students during the period of school closure, it did not replicate the in-school learning experience – this was also the experience internationally.

 

We all know that it can be difficult to achieve maximum interaction with remote learning, with many competing demands and restrictions. The best advice is that you provide the support that is possible for your family to your child and that you prioritise your child’s and your own wellbeing, balancing that with supporting learning, during this period.

 

Links to some supports available are provided below.

 

I wish you and your family all the very best at this time, and hope to communicate soon with you on a safe return to in-person learning for all.

 

 

 

Regards,

 

 

______________________________

Norma Foley TD

Minister for Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information on guidance provided to schools on remote learning

 

The guidance provided to schools that it is crucially important that the learning of all pupils/students, especially those with special educational needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage and/or early school leaving, are supported at this time, and sets out the following requirements:

 

Further details are available here:

Circular 0074/2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wellbeing

The wellbeing of all children and families is important, and the National Educational Psychological Service has a range of supports available on gov.ie/schools in the parents section which you may find useful. This material is being updated regularly so please check back: Gov.ie/schools/wellbeing.