Secondary school can challenge decision forcing it to enrol boy in first year, courts
A SECONDARY school has been given permission by the High Court to challenge a decision which requires it enrol a boy in first year following an appeal by his parents.
The school, in the west of Ireland, has sought to challenge the decision of an appeals committee, which was established by the Department of Education and Science under the 1998 Education Act to deal with appeals over matters like enrolment refusals.
The school claims the committee's decision was wrong in law because it gave undue weight to evidence by the boy's parents that they had a reasonable expectation of an offer of a place for him once they switched him to a particular primary level feeder school in the year before he sought a place in the secondary school.
The court heard the school denies any undertaking was given to the parents but says they were told they would be in a better enrolment position if the child was in the feeder school. The child repeated sixth class in primary school so that he could get into the feeder school.
Feichin McDonagh SC, for the school, said the child ended up being put onto a lottery for available places but he was not successful. Following this, the parents lodged an appeal with the Department which was successful.
Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted Mr McDonagh leave for the school to challenge the committee's decision following an ex parte (one-side only represented) application. The case comes back next month.