School places for the unbaptised
Sir, – Fr Pat O’Hagan (December 13th) says a Gaelscoil and a multi-denominational school, by declining to accept Kitty Holland’s son, may be guilty of “discrimination”. While I cannot speak for the Gaelscoil, as chair of the board of management of Wicklow Educate Together NS may I enlighten him on Educate Together schools admission policies?
Educate Together schools operate a numbered pre-enrolment system where the first child to pre-enrol is given the first choice of actually enrolling. And so on down the list. They do not add extra hurdles (like religion) that you have to pass to even get on to the waiting list. Religious-run schools often fill their spaces with those who pass the religious test before they even attempt to address other (non-religious) applicants. Thus a parent may have been the first to apply for a place yet not get into a school because all those who applied later pass the religious test and thus get preferential treatment.
Our school has to refuse places to children every year because we do not have the space. And perhaps a lottery system would be fairer to newcomers to the area. But there are no children from “special” backgrounds who queue jump the list. All our children are special regardless of their faith or lack of faith. – Yours, etc,