The Education (Admission to School) Bill 2016 passed into law this evening in Dáil Éireann, two years after it was initiated and is relevant to children with special educational needs.
Firstly, the law will require schools to have and publish an admissions policy and require that this policy is non-discriminatory on the grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, race, Traveller community ground or the ground that the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned has special educational needs.
The new law will give extra powers to the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) or the Child and Family Agency. These powers will allow the Child and Family Agency to designate a school or centre for education for a child with the exception of a child with special educational needs where the NCSE acts as the relevant agency. Where the NCSE is of the opinion that the parents of the child have made all reasonable efforts but have failed, for reasons related to the child’s special educational needs, to obtain a school placement for the child, they may of its own volition, or at the request of the parents of the child, direct a school to admit a child.
The new law will also allow a school which provides an education exclusively for students with a category or categories of special educational needs to refuse to admit a student who does not have the specified category of special educational needs concerned.
Inclusion Ireland has given the Admission Bill a cautious welcome but expressed some areas of concern and you can read our press statement by clicking on this link