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Changes to school enrolment policy must protect the vulnerable – Deputy Seán Crowe

15 June, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Education, Deputy Seán Crowe, has given a broad welcome to this week’s announcement by Minister Ruairí Quinn to changes in school enrolment policies.

Deputy Crowe said that the progressive changes contained in the Minister’s statement were welcome but Sinn Féin would exam the detail of what was being proposed before making any final decision.

He continued: “At the core of any changes to the current school enrolment policy must be the ending of the discriminatory enrolment practises that have been directed at certain children, particularly those with a learning difficulty or who have special needs.

“The Department’s primary focus must be in ensuring every school meets a minimum high standard so as they are able to deliver the educational needs of our young people regardless of their social or economic background. This means strategic investment and ring fencing funding for essential frontline services.

“It is also important that a balance is found between parental choice and the rights’ of all children to receive a decent education in an increasingly diverse Ireland.

“The TUI is correct in pointing out that some so called ‘elite’ schools have often flouted the Equality Legislation and actively discouraged students with special educational needs from attending their schools. They have been aided in this unethical practise by the Department who have usually turned a blind eye to what was happening.

“This must change and these types of discriminatory practises ended.

“Priority should also be given to children transferring from a primary Gaelscoil to a secondary Gael-choláiste so that they can continue their education through Irish." ENDS

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