Saturday 17 March 2018

Time to legislate for a level playing field in our schools

John Walshe

There was no great surprise over yesterday's Supreme Court ruling. Had it gone the other way, it could have resulted in a 'free for all' with school admission policies torn up all over the place.

One can't but have admiration for Mary Stokes and her determination to get a good education for her son John. She claimed indirect discrimination against Travellers when he was refused a place in the High School in Clonmel. Had his father attended the school, even briefly, then John would have been guaranteed admission as sons of past pupils are given priority.

There are schools that deliberately put up what are sometimes termed 'soft barriers' to Travellers, those with special needs, ethnic minorities, etc, but the High School is not one of them. It has a good solid reputation, has already enrolled at least eight Traveller children in the past few years and doesn't drop hints to parents that their children would be better off in some other school that could cater for their specific needs.

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