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Fee paying schools 'cherry-picking pupils' - Crowe

14 November, 2006

Commenting on Department of Education and Science figures which reveal that some schools are failing to live up to their responsibility of education provision for children with special education needs, Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Seán Crowe stated that ‘education apartheid is being reinforced in this state while the government stands idly by’. He went on to castigate schools who are cherry-picking pupils.


The Dublin South-West TD said: “I am calling on Minister Hanafin to enforce the stipulation in the Education Act, which prohibits restricted school enrolment policy based on academic achievement or socio-economic background. While the Minister has criticised such schools who engage in this activity, she has failed to act to prevent this two-tier system from growing.


“We now have a situation in which schools in disadvantaged areas are struggling to cope with special needs provision, while so-called elite fee-paying schools are avoiding their responsibilities and failing children with special education needs. This scenario where the doors of certain schools are closed to certain students is blatant discrimination and is unacceptable. Is it any wonder such schools boast of high places in the league of feeder schools to university when they actively implement a policy of cherry picking the pupils from primary schools?


“Inclusiveness should be the key in any education policy. With the intensification of our two-tier education system, inequality is being reinforced. While some improvements have been achieved regarding higher education access for disadvantaged students, overall top university courses are still largely the preserve of students from wealthy backgrounds.


“Sinn Féin firmly believes that each and every child should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and the state has a direct responsibility to ensure this.”



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