Enrolment Policy

Enrolment Policy of St Colmcille’s BNS, Chapel Lane, Swords, Co. Dublin


The Board of Management of St Colmcille’s BNS hereby sets out its Enrolment and Admission Policy in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998 and the Board trusts that by so doing, parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters. The Chairperson of the Board of Management or the Principal Teacher will be happy to clarify any matters arising from this policy.

Founded in 1966, St Colmcille’s Boys’ National School is a Roman Catholic primary school for boys under the patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin. This policy is the result of a process of collaboration between teachers, ancillary staff, parents and the Board of Management. It was drafted in 2009 and reviewed in 2013

Mission Statement and Link between this Policy and School Ethos

St Colmcille’s Boys’ National School, Swords is an all-boys’ school under the Patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. St Colmcille’s BNS aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a living relationship with God and with other people. Our school provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic Faith.

VISION STATEMENT: “Ní neart go cur le chéile.”

Rationale for Policy

This policy aims to ensure that the appropriate procedures are in place to enable the school

  • To make decisions on all applications in an open and transparent manner consistent with the Ethos, the Mission Statement of the school and legislative requirements
  • To make an accurate and appropriate assessment of the capacity of the school to cater for the needs of applicants in the light of the resources available to it
  • To put in place a framework which will ensure effective and productive relations between pupils, parents and teachers where a pupil is admitted to the school

Legal Framework

Section 9 (j) of the Education Act 1998 specifies, that “A recognized school shall ….Subject to this Act and in particular section 15 (2) (d), establish and maintain an admissions policy which provides for maximum accessibility to the school”.

Section 15 (2) (d) states the Board of Management shall “publish …. The policy of the school concerning admission to and participation in the school and ensure that policy principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents’ choice are respected”.

Section 27 (1) states that “A board shall establish and maintain procedures for the purposes of informing students in a school of the activities of the school” and (2) that “the procedures established and maintained under subsection (1) shall facilitate the involvement of the students in the operation of the School having regard to the age and experience of the students, in association with their parents and teachers”.

The Education Welfare Act, 2000 [Section 19 (1)] requires that a Board of Management shall not refuse to admit a child except where such refusal is in accordance with the school’s Admission  Policy.

The Equal Status Act, 2000 [Sections 5 & 7 (2)] prohibits discrimination on the grounds of “gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Travelling Community” regarding admission, assess to programmes, participation in the school or regarding expulsion or any other sanction.

Aims of Policy

The school shall have in place appropriate channels of communication and procedures

  • To inform parents about the school, its programmes, activities, and procedures
  • To enable applications for admission to the school to be handled in an open, transparent manner
  • To put in place criteria under which applications shall be considered
  • To ensure that these criteria are informed by our Ethos, our Mission Statement & current legislation
  • To specify what information is required by the school at the time of application

The School

St Colmcille’s BNS caters for the full range of classes from Junior Infants to Sixth class for boys of all abilities. There are 15 mainstream class teachers, 7 resource teachers, 1 language support teacher and an administrative principal employed in the school.  Special Needs Assistants are assigned to the school by the Department of Education and Skills to enable the inclusion of certain children with special educational needs.

St Colmcille’s BNS operates under the Rules for National Schools and Departmental Circulars and is funded by grants.  The school is subject to The Education Act (1998), The Education Welfare Act (2000), The Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Act (2004) equality law and all other relevant legislation. St Colmcille’s BNS follows the curricular programmes laid down by the Department of Education and Skills.

Application Procedure

  • Applications for enrolment to St Colmcille’s BNS, Swords usually takes place during January of the year in which the pupil is due to commence school
  • Places are allocated on the basis of the priority listing and the age of the pupil
  • Pupils must be a minimum of 4 years of age in the year that they will be starting school, but the cut-off point is not known until the applications have been processed. In practice, it tends to be that pupils must be 4 years of age in May / June.
  • Applications forms may be collected from the General Office from 9.00 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. or 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m.
  • Proof of age of pupil and baptismal certificate, if applicable, must be produced before application is accepted as being valid.
  • Application forms should be completed at home when details of deputies have been ascertained. If both parents/ guardians are available, both signatures are required. Forms may be posted back to school or delivered by hand
  • With regard to deputies, they should be living locally and be available to come to the school in the event of an emergency. One deputy is not sufficient.
  • Places are offered within 21 days of the closing date for applications.
  • An advisory meeting for parents/ guardians is held in early May
  • There is an Open Day in June when new pupils may be brought to see their classroom /meet with their teacher
  • If parents wish to meet with the Principal, an appointment is required. This can be arranged by contacting 8405132.
  • Boys, other than pupils for Junior Infants, will be enrolled on application provided that there is space available.
  • Normally, Junior Infants will not be enrolled during the year unless transferring from another school. This is for educational reasons as the curriculum is progressive and it is necessary for the child to complete a full year.
  • Decisions in relation to application for enrolment are made by the Board of Management.
  • No child is refused admission for reasons of ethnicity, special educational needs, disability, language/accent, traveller status, asylum-seeker/refugee status, religious/political beliefs and values, family or social circumstances.
  • The completion of an application form or the placement of your child’s name on a list, however early, does not confer an automatic right to a place in the school.

Code of Behaviour

Children enrolled in St Colmcille’s BNS are required to co-operate with and support the school’s Code of Behaviour as well as all other policies. Parents/Guardians are responsible for ensuring that their child(ren) co-operate with these policies in an age-appropriate way. A copy of the School Prospectus which includes the Code of Behaviour is issued to all parents and each parent will be requested to sign an undertaking to uphold the school Code of Behaviour.

Priority Criteria

In the event of the number of children seeking enrolment exceeding the number of places available the following criteria will be used to prioritise children for enrolment:

  1. Brothers of children already enrolled (including step-siblings, resident at same address) and Catholic boys living within the parish.
  2. Catholic boys whose sisters attend St Colmcille’s GNS, Swords
  3. Catholic boys who live outside the parish and who do not have a Catholic school in their parish.
  4. All boys who live within the parish boundaries but are not Catholic.
  5. Catholic boys from outside the parish.
  6. All children who apply to the school and are not Catholics and not resident in the parish.
  7. In the event of being unable to enrol children in any year, the child’s name will be placed on the waiting list in accordance with the criteria as above.

Other pupils may be enrolled during the school year if newly resident in the area. Pupils wishing to transfer from other schools are enrolled subject to the Rules for National Schools, Education Welfare Act and school’s enrolment policy.

Decision making

The Board of Management determines the maximum number of children in the school based on the Department of Education’s recommended enrolment at the time.  Decisions with regard to enrolment are made by the Board of Management and are communicated to parents within 21 days of the closing date for applications.

Children with Special Needs

Children with special educational needs are welcome to enrol in the school and every effort will be made to provide them with an appropriate education as well as to include them in every aspect of school life.  The child enrolling in St Colmcille’s BNS will be resourced in accordance with the level of resources provided by the Department of Education and Skills to the Board of Management

The Board of Management may request copies of relevant reports or request that the child be assessed immediately in order to assist the school in establishing the educational needs of the child and to profile the support services required. The Board of Management will endeavour to have all resources and supports in place before the child is admitted to the school. This may include visiting teacher service, resource teacher, special needs assistants etc, specialised equipment or furniture, transport services etc.

The Principal will meet with the parents of the special needs child to discuss the school’s suitability for the child. If considered necessary, a full case conference may be called which will include parents, class teacher, resource teacher, Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) and psychologist or social workers as appropriate.

Exceptional Circumstances

The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment to a pupil in exceptional cases.  Such an exceptional case could arise where either:

  1. The pupil has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from the Department of Education and Skills, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the pupil with an appropriate education.
  2. In the opinion of the Board of Management, the pupil poses an unacceptable risk to other pupils, to school staff or to school property.

(See Appeals Procedure below)

Children of other faiths or no faith

Bearing in mind the Catholic ethos of the school, every effort will be made so that the school is as inclusive as possible.  While Catholic education and the ethos of the school permeate the day, children of other faiths or none, where request is made in writing, will be excused from attendance at formal religious instruction classes and specifically Catholic liturgies.  Religion lessons are time-tabled between 12.00 and 12.30 each day, and parents may withdraw their children from class at this time and return them to school after lunch at 13.00. The school does not have the facility to supervise children outside of the classroom during religion lessons.  It will not be possible to provide religious instruction in other faiths.

Appeals Procedure

In line with Section 28 of the Education Act 1998, parents who are dissatisfied with an enrolment decision, may appeal to the Board of Management. This appeal must be addressed, in writing, to the Chairperson of the Board, stating the grounds for the appeal, and lodged within ten days of receiving the refusal.  Parents, if unhappy with the result of this appeal, may appeal to the Department of Education and Skills provided by the Department.  An appeal form will be issued by the school to the parents/guardians.   This appeal must be lodged within 42 days of receipt of the refusal from the school to enrol.


The Board of Management will monitor the implementation of all aspects of the Policy and review and amend the Policy as required, with particular emphasis placed upon

  • Effective management placed on application process
  • Clarity and transparency relating to the process
  • Applicants informed in good time re the status of their application, particularly in the case of refusal to enrol
  • Feedback from parents

Monitoring Procedures

The implementations of this policy will be monitored by the Board of Management at the appropriate time.  It will also be referred by the Principal for consideration by the full staff at the same time.  The Principal will report to the Board of Management regarding the process of enrolment in December each year and regularly thereafter until enrolment is complete.

Review Procedure

The policy will be reviewed regularly in the light of experience.  It will be reviewed by the full staff and Board of Management every three years.  Any staff member, board member, parent, guardian or student who is unhappy with the content or the implementation of any school policy may request a review at any time and such a request will be dealt with as quickly as possible.  Next review of this policy will occur before or during the school year 2016.

Approval of Patron: A draft of this policy was submitted to the Patron for approval.


On receipt of approval from the Patron, the revised policy was approved by the Board of Management at its meeting on 11 March 2013


The revised policy will be uploaded to the school website, www.colmcilles.net within one week of its being approved by the Board of Management. Hard copies of the policy will be made available on request.

Signed __________________________________________ Chairperson  

Date:  _______________________