St Mary's NS Knockbridge

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Enrolment Policy

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Enrolment Policy St Mary’s N.S., Knockbridge,Dundalk, Co. Louth

St. Mary’s National School, Knockbridge is a co-educational Catholic primary school under the patronage of the Archbishop of Armagh. The school plan and enrolment policy are underpinned by its Catholic ethos and Schedule. The school aims to promote the full and harmonious development of all pupils: cognitive, intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a living relationship with God and other people and promotes a Christian philosophy of life.

There are 14 full-time teachers on staff, including an administrative principal, 10 mainstream class teachers, 2 full-time learning support teachers, 1 resource teacher and 1 part-time resource teacher. The school caters for the full range of classes from Junior Infants to Sixth class. The school day begins at 9.00am and finishes at 1.40pm for the infant classes and 2.40pm for the remainder of the school. Mid-morning break occurs between 10.50am and 11.00am and lunch takes place from 12.30pm to 1.00pm.

Children enrolled in St. Mary’s N.S., are required to co-operate with and support the school’s Code of Behaviour as well as all other policies. Parent/Guardians are responsible for ensuring that their child(ren) co-operate with these policies in an age-appropriate way. A copy of the Code of Behaviour will be issued to all parents/guardians and each will be requested to sign an undertaking to uphold the school Code of Behaviour as part of the enrolment process.

In 1969 Kilcroney N.S. was amalgamated with St. Mary's NS, Knockbridge to form one central school. Children living in the historical catchment of Kilcroney NS are afforded equal rights of access to enrolment as the children living in the historical catchment area of St. Mary's NS.

St. Mary’s N.S operates under the Rules for National Schools and Departmental Circulars and is funded by grants and teachers resourced by the Department of Education and Skills. The school is subject to The Education Act (1998), The Education Welfare Act (2000), The Education for Personal with Special Education Needs Act (2004) and all relevant equality legislation. St. Mary’s N.S. follows the curricular programmes laid down by the Department of Education and Skills and depends on the grants and teacher resources provided by the Department of Education and Skills.

Equality of access is the key value that determines the enrolment of children to our school. No child is refused admission for reasons of ethnicity, special education needs, disability, language/accent, gender, traveller status, asylum seeker/refugee status, religious/political belief and values, family or social circumstances.

Application Procedure

  • Parents may register their intention to enrol their child(ren) in St. Mary’s N.S. at any time or during ‘Enrolment Week’ in Term 2. This can be done by contacting the office and completing a registration form. The completion of the registration process or the placement of your child’s name on a list, however early, does not confer an automatic right to a place in the school. The school will not seek or request any fees as a condition of application for admission to the school or of continued enrolment in the school following admission.
  • Only children who are 4 years of age prior to the 1st September of the year of entry will be considered for enrolment. Children who are 4 years old after this date may, in accordance with the school enrolment policy, be admitted to the Junior Infant class the following year.
  • ‘Enrolment Week’ will occur early in Term 2 when the Board will invite registrations for enrolment to those who have yet to register.
  • The Board of Management may communicate generally to the school community through the school website, newsletter, parish newsletter and/or announcements at Mass inviting applications.
  • The Board will consider the full list of registered children and all decisions in relation to enrolment will be made by the Board of Management of the school in accordance with school policy.
  • The B.O.M. will determine the appropriate number of children to be enrolled in accordance with the rules and recommendations of the Department of Education and Science and also taking the existing circumstances particular to St. Mary's N.S. into consideration.
  • The Board will notify parents in writing of their decision within 21 days of the final day of enrolment week in the year of anticipated enrolment and subject to the full completion and receipt of an enrolment form.
  • Parents/guardians who are offered a place for their child will receive an enrolment form, a letter of offer, a copy of the school's Code of Behaviour and a statement in relation to the Catholic Ethos of the school. The Board will also notify any parents/guardians in writing of its decision not to offer enrolment.
  • The enrolment form and letter of acceptance should be returned to the school by the specified date. Failure to return the completed letter of offer by the specified date will be interpreted as a refusal of the offer to enrol.
  • Enrolment of a pupil will require that the Code of Behaviour, Catholic Ethos of the School and policies on curriculum, school organisation and management are, and will be, acceptable to and supported by the parents /guardians. Parents/guardians are also responsible for ensuring that their child (ren) co-operate with said policies in accordance with their age and ability.
  • The Board of Management will as a general principle, and in so far as it is practicable having regard to the school’s enrolment policy, Department of Education & Skills class size guidelines and staffing provision, enrol children on application.

Enrolment Criteria if Applications Exceed School Places

While recognising the rights of parents to apply to enrol their child in the school of their choice, the Board of Management is also responsible 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 the children. Assisting the school in such circumstances, the Board of Management reserves the right to determine the maximum number of children in each separate classroom bearing in mind;

• Size of/ available space in classrooms and in particular infant classrooms
• Educational needs of children of a certain age
• Multi-grade classes
• Presence of children with special educational/behavioural needs
• Department of Education and Skills maximum class average directives (currently 28)
•Staffing provisions
• Health and Safety

Decisions in relation to application for enrolment are made by the Board of Management of the school through the office of the principal teacher.

In the event of the number of children seeking enrolment in any given class/standard exceeding the number of places the following criteria (listed in order of priority) will be used to offer places of enrolment:

1. Brothers and sisters of children currently enrolled.
2. Children living within the traditional catchment area of the school.
3. Children of current school staff.
4. Children from outside the school’s traditional catchment area whose home address is closest to the school.

If the number of children seeking enrolment in a particular category exceeds the number of places available, Catholic children will receive priority over non-Catholics.

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 eldest.


Applications for enrolment during the school year will only be granted subject to school policy, the availability of class space, the willingness of the Board of Management to enrol a student and in some cases the approval of the Department of Education and Skills.

Parents should provide the school with a certificate of transfer form from the previous school, stating the class in which the child was enrolled and outlining the period of attendance and absences of the pupil. A report of the child’s educational progress may also be requested and his/her behaviour record in the previous school will also be considered.

Special Needs

Prior to the enrolment of a child with special needs the Board of Management may request a copy of the child’s medical and/or psychological report. Where such a report is not available the Board may request that the child be assessed immediately.

The purpose of such a report is to establish the educational needs of the child relevant to his disability and to profile the essential services and resources required to cater for such needs.

If deemed appropriate the school may organize a meeting with the parents/ guardians of the child to discuss the child’s requirements and the school’s suitability or capability in meeting those needs.

Where the Board of Management deems that additional necessary resources are required, it will, prior to enrolment, request the Department of Education & Skills to provide such resources as are required to meet the needs of the child as outlined in the psychological/medical report. Such resources may include a special needs assistant, resource teacher, specialized equipment or furniture, physical alterations to classrooms or buildings.The school has a ramp entrance and wheelchair toilet facilities.

The Board reserves the right to defer enrolment of a particular child pending the receipt of an assessment report or the provision of appropriate resources by the Department of Education & Skills to meet the needs specified in the psychological /medical report.

Exceptional Circumstances

The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment or, to rescind an offer of enrolment to any pupil in exceptional cases. Such an exceptional case could arise when either;

The child has special needs, such that, even with additional resources available from the DES, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the student with an appropriate education, or
In the opinion of the Board of Management, the child poses an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of other students, other staff or to school property.

The parents of any child who has been refused enrolment, for any reason, are entitled to appeal that refusal pursuant to section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

Appeals Procedure

In line with Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, parents who are dissatisfied with an enrolment decision, may appeal to the Board of Management. This appeal must be addressed, in writing to the Chairperson of the Board of Management, stating the grounds for the appeal, and lodged within ten days of receiving the refusal. Parents, if unhappy with the result of the appeal, may appeal to the Department of Education and Skills under Section 29 of the Education Act on the official form provided by the DES. An appeal form will be issued by the school to the parents / guardians. This appeal must be lodged within 42 days of receipt of the refusal from the school to enrol.

Details on appealing decisions on enrolments under section 29 of the Education Act are available on the DES website at


Parents are asked to inform the school in writing if their child suffers from any long term or short term illness and if their child is on medication. No teacher can be required to administer medicine or drugs to a pupil. A teacher who, with the consent of the BOM, does take on the responsibility for administering medicines also takes on a duty of care to discharge the responsibility correctly. Parents must fill in an Administration of Medication Form at the beginning of each school year (available in office) which includes the indemnification of staff members from any liability arising from the administration of medicines.

Revision of Enrolment Policy

This policy shall be reviewed by the Board of Management of St. Mary’s N.S. on an annual basis.

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