Enrolment Policy

 

 

ST ANNE’S SCHOOL

Roll No. 19277B 

 

 

 

Enrolment and Participation Policy

 

1. Overview of the School

1.1. St. Anne's Special School is a co-educational school for pupils between the ages of 5 and 18 who have been assessed as having either a moderate or severe/profound general learning disability. Many of our pupils would have additional needs such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or autistic spectrum disorder. Our aim is to give the children a caring and inspiring academic atmosphere to enable them to achieve their full potential.

1.2. St Anne's Special School is totally committed to providing a happy stimulating environment for all our students to allow them to develop to their full potential. This is achieved by offering a curriculum which is broad enough to meet the wide range of special educational needs whilst having enough depth to challenge all our pupils. We aim to offer a wide variety of learning experiences which will provide moral and intellectual growth whilst encouraging self confidence and high self esteem. We aim to foster, through carefully planned individual educational programmes, independence, dignity, self discipline, social independence and competent handling of basic daily needs. This prepares each student as far as possible, for the responsibilities and experiences of adult life. Finally, we endeavour to establish firm contact and communication with the families of all our pupils as the success of what we hope to achieve depends on the co-operation and support of every parent/guardian.

1.3. The decision making process regarding admissions is set out in this document. Enrolment is contingent, amongst other things, on the availability of a suitable vacancy in the school for the age and educational needs of an applicant. (See Appendix 1)

1.4. Because of the range of special needs our school caters for, class sizes may vary from class to class depending on the number of pupils within a class presenting with additional needs. In this regard, some classes may be deemed by the Principal to be full to capacity, and in this case the Board of Management may direct that no additional pupils may enrol in these classes during the year. School capacity varies according to the needs of the children we are catering for at a particular time.

2. Enrolment Policy Statement


2.1. Each child is considered as an individual. The Board of Management strives to ensure that every child accepted into St. Anne's Special School can benefit from the services on offer. The decision as to who will benefit involves the consideration of a wide range of issues. These issues will include the parents'/guardians' views, the child's commitment, existing resources available, additional learning and medical needs (e.g. dyspraxia, epilepsy, ADHD) social needs, emotional and behavioural needs. While recognising the right of parents/guardians to enrol their child in the school of their choice, the Board of Management is also responsible for respecting 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 all children.

2.2. Consideration must be given to ensure that a healthy and safe environment for all pupils and staff prevails. Any admission that threatens such basic requirement as the safety of the children already enrolled, many of whom are vulnerable by nature of their disability, should be considered unsuitable. This is in compliance with the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 19.

2.3. In accordance with Section 15(2)(d) of the Education Act 1998, this policy sets out St. Anne's Special school's policy on the enrolment of students and their participation in the school.

2.4. This policy is based on the principles of non-discrimination: gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, race, religious belief, family status. This policy aims to uphold the moral, spiritual, physical and psychological welfare and constitutional rights of all persons concerned. The school will strive to ensure that the principle of "reasonable accommodation" is enacted for all pupils.

3. Enrolment Procedure

3.1. Referral
St. Anne's Special School welcomes referrals from parents/guardians or other relevant professionals working with the child. As the Constitution recognises parents as the primary educators of their child, applications will only be accepted from parents, legal guardians or someone acting on foot of a court order or statutory power in a parental role.

3.2. Overview of Application and Enrolment Process
Parents are asked to contact the school to obtain an Application Form, these will be available from Monday 19th November 2018. This form must be completed in full and all requested documentation must be included to be considered for admission. This Application Form must be returned before the Closing Date for Applications for that particular year of entry (normally the 14th February). Applications for enrolment will only be accepted from the 1st January of the year of proposed enrolment. Applications received outside the period between the 1st January and 14th February will be returned to the sender and will not be considered. The Closing Date is available from the school office. Where Applications Forms are received after that time, they will not be considered unless the Application is for a transfer in which case the Application will be considered by the Board of Management at its next meeting. Applications for the September intake will be assessed at an Admissions meeting held in spring.


3.3. Steps in the Application and Enrolment Process
The following procedure will apply to all applications for placement in the School:

a) Parents send letter or make a telephone request for admission to the school;

b) Parents are sent a copy of the Enrolment and Participation Policy and an application form.

c) Parents are asked to return the following:

i. Completed Application form
ii. Full birth certificate
iii. Proof of Address e.g. utility bill
iv. Psychological assessment report from within the last 12 months
v. Up to date reports from the child's present school (from within the last 12 months) with the details of the learning and social development of the child and any behavioural issues.
vi. Any other professional reports available such as:

  • Psychiatric Assessment
  • Speech & Language Assessment
  • Occupational Therapy Report
  • Social Work Report
  • Doctors/consultants reports outlining medical needs specific to the child

        N.B All the above reports should be from within 3 years from the date of application

  • Formal testing results from previous school
  • I.E.P Document from previous school

d) Following receipt of the Application form, the Board of Management will arrange a meeting to determine the allocation of places, as per the criteria as set out below. If the documents listed at 3.3 (c) (i) - (vi) are not included with the application, the application will be deemed incomplete, will be returned to the child's parents and will not be considered. The closing date for applications will be given to parents with the Application Form.

e) If the Board of Management decides to admit a child, a letter of offer will be sent to parents along with the school's Code of Behaviour. This letter of offer will be issued within 21 days of the closing date for applications. The offer will be subject to parents providing written agreement for their child to adhere to the school's Code of Behaviour and the other policies listed on the Application Form. If the Board decides not to enrol a child the parents of the child will also be informed within 21 days of the closing date for applications. If the Board of Management have accepted the child for enrolment, they will then inform the Department of Education of the decision and seek its approval for the placement and its sanction for school transport arrangement. This process may take 3 to 4 weeks.

f) Parents will be requested to respond to the offer of a place by a specified date.

g) Failure to respond by that date will result in the offer lapsing. A time will be arranged for parents to visit the school to enable the completion of applications to the NCSE for school transport and SNA support, if applicable;

h) If the child meets the Threshold Criteria below (Ref: 3.5.1) but either the number of applicants has exceeded the vacancies available or enrolment is refused on any other basis, parents/guardians of other applicants will be informed that there is currently no place available. In such a case where there is currently no place available, parents/guardians will be advised that the school is formally declining a place to their child in the school and will advise the parents of the appeals procedure set out below.

i) If the child does not meet the Threshold Criteria below, the parents/guardians will be advised that the school is formally declining a place to their child in the school and will advise the parents of the appeals procedure set out below.

3.4. Principles Guiding the Application and Enrolment Process

Parents should note the following principles which apply to all applications for enrolment to the school:
3.4.1. Enrolment will only take place at the beginning of the school year.

3.4.2. The receipt by the school of a completed Application Form or the placement of a child's name on a list, however early, does not confer an automatic right to a place in the school,

3.4.3. Siblings of pupils in the school are not automatically entitled to a place in the school,

3.4.4. The school does not maintain a waiting list from year to year

3.5. Consideration of applications 

Applications for admission to St. Anne's Special School will only be considered where a child meets all of the following NINE criteria:

3.5.1. Threshold Criteria for Consideration of Application:

1. The child is in the moderate range of General Learning Disability (GLD) with a full scale IQ within the 35 – 50 range (as confirmed by an appropriate professional's report included in the child's application) and therefore has the ability to benefit from the education and skills programmes offered in the school;

2. The child is in the Severe/profound range of GLD with a full scale IQ below 35 (as confirmed by an appropriate professional's report included in the child's application) and therefore has the ability to benefit from the education and skills programmes offered in the school;

3. The child is in the moderate to profound adaptive range or above (as confirmed by an appropriate report included in the child's application) and therefore has the ability to benefit from the education and skills programmes offered in the school;

It is important to note that if the child has an additional diagnosis of autism, it is the decision of the Board that these children are only eligible for a place in a class for children with autistic spectrum disorder where they can benefit from the specific structure and skills offered in these classes. They will not be considered for a place in a moderate or severe/profound class even though their assessed GLD may be within either range.

4. The application form was fully completed and included all enclosures appropriate to the application.

5. The application was received by the Closing Date for applications for that particular year of entry.

6. The child is at least 5 years old and has not reached their 18th birthday on the 1st of September of the year of entry;

7. The psychological assessment report provided is from the last 12 months and all other assessment/medical reports are from within 3 years of the date of application.

8. That there is no evidence from previous school reports or from the assessment reports that the student has been expelled from a previous school for behavior that caused injury to others. If there is such evidence, the application will not be considered.

9. The child's primary diagnosis is not one of Emotional and Behavior Disorder. Applications in respect of children whose primary diagnosis is of Emotional and Behavior Disorder will not be considered.

3.5.2. Criteria for Assessment of Applications which meet the Threshold Criteria –

If the Board of Management considers that a pupil satisfies the Threshold Criteria set out above, it will assess the application on the basis of the following criteria. Pupils already attending St. Anne's School will get first preference of progression to other classes before any external applications are considered. Each application which meets the Threshold Criteria will be assessed on the basis of the following points. Applications will also be assessed on the following criteria on the basis of the documents provided during the application procedure.

1. The child will be able to tolerate a classroom environment containing other children;

2. The composition, special needs and ages of the pupils currently enrolled in the class into which the child would be admitted ;

3. The availability of expertise within the school to deal with any other complex needs and medical conditions the child may have above the initial stated diagnosis.

4. The extent to which the child's primary diagnosis and capacity to benefit from the educational opportunities available in the school may be affected by any other complex needs and medical conditions the child may have above the initial stated diagnosis as per reports submitted.

5. The pupil/teacher ratio will be appropriate to the needs of the child;

6. The Board of Management is satisfied that the overall needs of the child can be met in the school;

7. Date of receipt of application.

8. There is sufficient physical space in the relevant classroom and the appropriate class for that child has not reached full capacity.                                                                                                             

Taking all of the above into account, the Board of Management reserves the right to refuse to enroll a child.

3.5.3. Requirement to furnish all reports relating to the child within three years of application
Please note that all reports relating to a child which have been created by a psychologist, psychiatrist, behavioral therapist, pediatrician or other relevant medical practitioner (who has produced a report relating to the child's cognitive development, learning ability or educational development) within the three years preceding application, must be provided to the school for assessment by the Board of Management. The withholding of reports from the Board of Management may invalidate an Enrolment Application at any time. If, after enrolment, it later becomes apparent that reports or relevant information has been withheld from the school, this may result in an application being invalidated or, if it becomes apparent after enrolment, in the child involved losing their place in the school.

3.5.4. Exceptional Circumstances warranting refusal of an enrolment
Even where the Threshold Criteria are met and where the child would otherwise be eligible for admission, the school reserves the right to refuse enrolment to a pupil in exceptional cases. Such an exceptional case could arise where either:

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

3.5.4.2. The members of the Board of Management are reasonably clear from reports, that the pupil poses an unacceptable risk to self or other pupils, to school staff or to school property.

3.5.4.3. The pupil has previously been expelled from St. Anne's Special School or any other school in circumstances where the Board of Management feels that placement in St. Anne's Special School would not be appropriate for the child.

4. Appeals Procedure

4.1. Appeal to the Board of Management Where a parent is informed that there is no place for their child in the school, they may appeal this refusal to enrol within 21 days to the Board of Management. The Board of Management will consider this appeal and will respond, in the first instance within two weeks from the receipt to appeal. The Board of Management may seek additional information for further assessment in which case the appeal time may be extended up to a total of five weeks.

4.2. Appeal to the Department of Education If parents are unhappy with the result of the final decision of the Board of Management, they may appeal to the Department of Education and Skills under Section 29 of the Education Act on the official form provided by the Department. Appeal forms are available to download on the Department of Education and Skills website, www.education.ie. Please note that this appeal must be lodged within 42 days of receipt of the refusal of the final decision of the Board of Management to enrol a child.

5. Progression at the School and continued participation in the School.

5.1. While it is envisaged that, once admitted, most students will remain in St. Anne's Special School until they complete their education at 18 years of age, a child's ongoing participation at St. Anne's Special School is contingent upon the child's continued adherence to the Code of Behaviour.

5.2. Additionally, some children's needs may change overtime and exceed what the school can cater for.

5.3. If at any point during the child's time in the school, a psychiatrist or psychologist assesses the child and confirms in writing that:

a) allowing the child to remain may result in adverse educational outcomes for the child or other children in the school, or

b) if the child applied for admission to the school now, he or she would not meet the above requirements of this policy, particularly in terms of the child's primary diagnosis or the presence of Emotional and Behavioural Disorder as a primary diagnosis, after engaging in consultation with the parent(s)/guardian(s) and having reviewed the assessment report of the professional in question, the Board of Management may decide to remove the child's name from the school roll and offer the child's place to another child.

5.4. If at any point during the child's time in the school, the Principal recommends to the Board of Management that a child enrolled in the school be sent for an assessment, the Board shall seek the parent's consent for this assessment in the first place. if this consent is not forthcoming the Board shall proceed to have the child assessed anyway.

5.5. The report of the professional conducting the assessment will be furnished to the parents. They will be given an opportunity to respond to it and, if appropriate, to obtain a report from an appropriate professional responding to the report. Any responding report or parental response must be provided within 6 weeks of the school notifying the parents of the commencement of this process.

5.6. The Board of Management will also ask the Principal for a detailed report setting out their recommendations.

5.7. All available reports (including the Principal's report) will be considered by the Board at a meeting. The parents of the child will also be provided with a copy of the Principal's report and will have the opportunity to address the Board at that meeting before the Board retires to take its decision in private. The parents will be notified of the Board's decision within 5 school days of the Board meeting to consider the reports.

5.8. The Board may decide to

5.8.1. allow the child to continue to participate in and be enrolled in the school for a specified period before the child's needs are reviewed again,

5.8.2. Allow the child to continue to participate and be enrolled in the school.

5.8.3. Dis-enrol the child by removing their name from the school roll and offering the child's place to another child.

5.9. As dis-enrolment would involve the permanent exclusion of the child and, in accordance with S.29(1)(a) of the Education Act 1998, the child's parents may appeal this to the Department of Education and Skills within 42 days of the date of the decision to dis-enrol the child.

5.10. Where a child is being dis-enrolled from the school, the school will make every effort to support families to make the transition to another placement.

 

Appendix 1

Enrolments for September 2019:

Notwithstanding points 1-8 in Section 3.5.2, for the school year commencing September 2019, the following places only are available in our junior school. There are no places at post primary level in our senior school for the school year starting 2019 due to the number of pupils progressing through the school.

  • Three places for children with an assessment of severe/profound GLD (as described in 3.5.1. Sect 2 and 3) aged between 5 and 9 years.
  • Four places for children assessed with moderate GLD (as described in 3.5.1. Sect 1 and 3)  in the age range 5 – 9 years
  • Two places for children assessed with autism and a GLD (as described in 3.5.1. Sect 1,2 and 3)  in the age range 5 - 9 years.     

The number of places on offer will vary from year to year and are dependent on school leavers and progression through the school.