A number of changes announced today (Wednesday) by the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D. will have a major impact on how a child accesses their local school and the first of these changes will remove the role of religion in school admissions for virtually all primary schools in County Wexford.
The Minister published three Report Stage amendments to the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016 which will have a historic impact on how children access their local primary school.
Commenting, Wexford’s Fine Gael Minister Michael D’Arcy, T.D. said; “It is unfair that a local child of no religion is passed over in favour of a child of religion, living some distance away for access to their local school. Parents should not feel pressured to baptise their child to get access to education locally.
“The amendment being published by the Minister will remove religion as a criterion which can be used in school admissions in over 95% of our primary schools.
“Under the proposed new law, there will be a protection to ensure that a child of minority faith, can still access a school of their faith. This change balances the rights of three different groups: minority religion families, catholic families, and non-denominational families.
“Our education system needs to be open to everyone. Families need to have an equal opportunity to get their child educated in their own community here in Wexford, regardless of their religious beliefs.”
Today’s announcement fulfils a key action in the Minister’s Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.
The amendment being published by the Minister today will remove religion as a criterion which can be used in school admissions in over 95% of primary schools. Under the proposed new law, there will be a protection to ensure that a child of minority faith, can still access a school of their faith.
Minority religion families, because of their small size within the overall population, could find it extremely difficult to access schools of their own religious ethos.
This exception, for minority faith children, is because only one out of every 20 of our primary schools are of minority ethos and the need to ensure that children of minority faith can access an education through their ethos, if that is their choice.
Catholic families will continue to be able to get their children into Catholic schools; and Catholic schools will be able to protect their ethos, as 18 out of every 20 of our schools are of a Catholic ethos and therefore, local Catholic children will always have access to a Catholic ethos education, if that is their choice.
Non-denominational children will now find that for well over 95% of schools (all schools except minority ethos schools which may give priority admission to children of their own or similar religious ethos), they will be treated the same as all other families in admissions.