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School waiting lists are being scrapped - but it's not yet known what will happen to students currently on one

New legislation will see the waiting lists phased out after admission reforms.

Students leaving St Anne's in Miltown
Students leaving St Anne's in Miltown

WAITING LISTS FOR secondary schools are set to be abolished, but it is not yet known what will happen to students currently on existing lists.

The waiting lists will be phased out over the next few years as part of admission reforms and a spokesperson for the Minister for Education Richard Bruton told TheJournal.ie that “transitional measures” will be necessary as the waiting lists are removed.

The admissions bill is about making it easier for parents to enroll their children in a school that meets their needs. [...] [T]he use of waiting lists can give rise to discrimination, in particular in relation to people who have newly moved into an area, and people who are renting.

The minister is still considering an appropriate time period to introduce the new measures.

The changes were originally scheduled to come into effect from September 2017, however The Irish Times reports that it will likely be delayed until 2018 due to legislative delays.

Divisive

Teachers have said that they are in favour of the new measure. A spokesperson for the ASTI said that the union is “in favour of equality of access and anything that improves equality of access is to be welcomed.”

Support for the proposed change in legislation has not been absolute, however. On the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, former headmaster of St Andrew’s College in Dublin, Arthur Godsil, said some parents could end up challenging the legislation in the courts.

I am not a lawyer but I believe that some parents have taken legal advice on this and I believe that there is an issue there.
I would be very sympathetic to parents who put their children’s name down ten years or more beyond and then being told, “sorry you have been bumped off”. That is something that needs to be addressed.

Education Minister Richard Bruton announced the Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016 bill last year, saying that it would make sure that schools must admit all students where it is not oversubscribed (80% of schools).

In addition to that, fees relating to admissions are to be removed while all discrimination in the school admission process is to be ‘explicitly’ banned. These processes will be made more transparent as the the new bill will also require schools to publish their admission policies, which will also include details of the provisions for pupils who decline to participate in religious instruction.

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