Wednesday 18 October 2017

State must review education for Travellers

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan
Editorial

Editorial

There is a lot right about the current admissions policies used by the majority of the country's 4,000 primary and second-level schools. But when demand exceeds supply of places, as it does in 20pc of schools, then bottlenecks and complaints from parents can arise.

These over-subscribed schools are not free to pick and choose pupils at will, nor should they be if they are in receipt of public funds. They are obliged to take account of the laws of the land in terms of potential discrimination against individuals or groups.

The Education Minister, Jan O'Sullivan, is planning to bring forward legislation to make the system fairer and more transparent. We will have to wait and see what exactly the minister is proposing before we can pass judgment. In the meantime, the Supreme Court's ruling yesterday would seem to allow the existing practice of giving priority to children of former pupils. But the minister has indicated that she remains to be convinced of the reasons for allowing schools to retain 25pc of their places for children of past pupils, as her predecessor Ruairi Quinn was disposed to do. This could yet prove to be a very contentious piece of legislation.

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