herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Schools pledge end to 'first come, first served' enrolment

Principal Colette Kavanagh
Principal Colette Kavanagh

A new enrolment system for Educate Together schools in Lucan is putting an end to the "first-come, first-served" system.

Parents have been putting the names of their newborns down for a place in school four or five years down the line, but that will no longer be necessary.

Under a new initiative, four Educate Together national schools in Lucan are banding together to make it easier for parents trying to enrol their children in school.

The Adamstown Castle, Esker, Griffeen Valley and Lucan East Educate Together national schools will operate a coordinated admissions system for the first time.

Launched

The Lucan Common Enrolment System (LCES) is being launched this Thursday.

Colette Kavanagh, principal of Esker Educate Together National School, which has over 400 pupils, told the Herald the new system levels the playing pitch for all parents.

"We want more people from the local area to be able to get into schools. We want to promote inclusive and integrated schools," she said.

Ms Kavanagh said that under the first-come, first-served system, it was the people who had names down for four or five years who were successful in getting places. However, the new system will mean that newcomer families will no longer be disproportionally disadvantaged.

"People were criss-crossing all over Lucan," said Ms Kavanagh.

Under the new system, parents will make an application to a centralised body, which will be run by a committee of representatives from the boards of management of each of the four schools.

Children on the system will be assigned to one of the four schools, based on specific criteria, including age. The system prioritises children according to their age, with older children given priority over younger children.

Another criteria is family. Siblings will be prioritised so that it will be much more likely that children from the same family will be educated together in one school.

Proximity to school will be another factor. Children will be more likely to be assigned to their nearest participating Educate Together school in Lucan.

All names received will be placed on the LCES database, run by an independent database company.

Children on the list will be offered a place in order of age - oldest first - until all available places in the four schools are filled.

Schools

Names can only now be put down from October 1, the year prior to entry.

Some 250 children enter junior infants across the four schools every year.

Once a child has secured a place, the LCES will determine the school to which the child will be assigned. The placement of children in individual schools will be based on the agreed criteria of siblings and proximity.

This is the first time that a common enrolment system has been used by the schools.

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