Introductory statement:  The Board of Management is setting out its policy in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998, and the Board of Management trusts that by so doing, parents and professionals will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters.  The Chairperson of the Board, Mr. Con Sweeney, and the Principal, Kathleen Dodd will be happy to clarify any further matters arising from the policy.


Rationale: This enrolment policy outlines the procedures to be followed involving the parents and guardians of the referred pupil, the referral agency, the school from which the child is transferring and the Principal and designated staff of Scoil Chiaráin, in accordance with legislative requirements.


Relationships to the Characteristic Spirit of the School: The policy reflects the stated Ethos of the school as outlined in the school Mission Statement:


Scoil Chiaráin is a school whose ethos is Christian in the Catholic tradition, open and welcoming to those of other traditions.  The principles of equality*, participation and respect for difference ensure that in Scoil Chiaráin all members of the community are valued and have a role in its development.

*(see also equality policy document)


Aims: This enrolment policy details the criteria required and procedures to be followed for the placement of any pupil in Scoil Chiaráin in order

  • To provide clarity of purpose for staff
  • To be understood by the agencies and the school who refer pupils to Scoil Chiaráin
  • To be clear to those parents and guardians whose children may be referred to the school
  • To be consistent with the purpose of the school as designated by the Department of Education and Science and with the agreed ethos of the school which states that


Scoil Chiaráin is a specialist school providing for the academic, personal and social needs of pupils ranging in age from five to eighteen years with general learning disabilities (mild), who can best benefit educationally by being placed in the school.


  • To enable a process which has as its outcome the appropriate educational placement of the pupil being referred.  This may or may not be Scoil Chiaráin.


To further this aim, Scoil Chiaráin will provide information and promote an understanding of what the school offers by facilitating liaison and school visits for the parents/guardians of the referred pupil and for the agencies or schools who refer pupils.


Content of Policy


About Scoil Chiaráin

Scoil Chiaráin is a specialist school under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin.  In operation since 1970, the school is recognised by the Department of Education & Science as a school which offers specialist education to boys and girls aged 5 to 18, at both primary and post-primary level, from the area of North Dublin, city and county.


The school caters for children with a mild general learning disability.  Our aim is to help children to develop socially and educationally to the maximum of their potential in a stimulating and caring environment.  The school aims to provide the widest range of appropriate learning experiences at every stage of development.


To meet the individual needs of students, the number of students per class is limited (6 – 13 pupils) and a wide variety of teaching methodologies and educational equipment is employed in the teaching and learning process.  Training in the basic skills of social competence forms an integral part of the school programme at all levels.  Children are divided into classes according to age and at present (2017) we have 4 classes in primary and 8 in the post-primary section.


Our purpose is to provide a suitable education programme to meet the individual and group needs of our students to enable them to gain as high a level of independence as possible.



The school is staffed by 17 experienced teachers, 13 special needs assistants and 5 part-time subject specialist teachers. (These numbers may change in response to NCSE reviews)  Many of these staff members hold additional qualifications for this specialist work.  The Health Service Executive (HSE) employs a full-time Speech & Language therapist and full-time Occupational Therapist to work with students within the school. The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides a limited service to the school.



Our mission statement states:


Scoil Chiaráin provides a specialist curriculum.  It strives to maximise the learning skills, social skills, self-worth and sense of independence of its pupils.


At primary level, the Revised primary curriculum is modified to cater for individual needs in so far as possible.  Group and individual teaching is used to develop perceptual and cognitive abilities.  Special emphasis is placed on sensory training and the acquisition of basic skills in communication, speech and language, reading, writing and number.  The level and pace of learning is designed to meet individual learning needs.


At post-primary level there is a practical bias to programmes.  Home Economics is taught to all students.  In addition to the continued development of oracy, literacy and numeracy, special emphasis on prevocational guidance directs senior cycle students to ensure a greater sense of awareness and responsibility to work, leisure and post-school life.  A wide variety of subject options reflects the range available in post-primary schools and these are conducted at a suitable level for students.


The school has an active sports and social education programme with encourages pupil participation in inter-school competitions in football, basketball, swimming and athletics.   Senior students go on an annual holiday to an Adventure Centre to participate in additional water and land bases sports.


The Curriculum in Scoil Chiaráin is wide and expansive and is organised under the following headings:

  • Development of Motor Skills – PE, Games, Athletics & Swimming
  • Communication & Language – including ICT
  • Mathematics
  • Social Personal & Health Education (SPHE) – including Relationship & Sexuality Education, Substance Misuse and Stay Safe Programmes and a work experience programme for school leavers
  • Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) – including environmental studies, science & technology, history, geography, horticulture and CPSE (Civic, Social and Political Education)
  • Creative Arts – including woodwork, art, drama, music and dance
  • Religious Formation – including preparation for sacraments


While the programme offered reflects the provision in mainstream post-primary schools, our students do not participate in Junior or Leaving Certificate exams.  This would not be a fair measure of their achievements.  Our school currently provides for Junior Cycle Level 2 and FETAC Awards (Further Education & Training Awards Council) in a wide range of subjects according to each student’s ability and interest.  Work is continually assessed and built up into a portfolio of work which is examined by an external examiner on completion of the course.  A National Certificate is awarded detailing each student’s achievements and is presented at our Annual Awards Ceremony.


The educational provision within the schools depends on the grants and staffing resources provided by the Department of Education and Science and we operate within the regulations laid down, from time to time, by the Department.  The school is classified as a primary school and so adheres to the annual calendar for primary schools.


Application Procedures

  • A referral may be made in writing to Scoil Chiaráin by a psychologist or school principal and must be received by the last day in January for consideration for the following September.


  • Once a referral has been received, the principal opens a new file in the pupil’s name and includes an Application Progress Form (attached) and the pupil’s name is placed on a waiting list.


  • The parents or guardians of the referred pupil may be invited to visit the school to help them make an informed decision about the proposed placement.


  • The principal ensures that a complete record is in place before discussion can take place on the appropriateness of the referral


Records will include:


  • A recent psychological assessment (not more than 2 years old) from a qualified psychologist recommending placement in Scoil Chiarain (or special school such as Scoil Chiarain) and identifying the special educational needs of the pupil along with a statement of the resources / intervention needed to meet such needs. Only children diagnosed with a mild general learning disability will be considered for enrolment.
  • Children with additional needs including ASD, S&L disorders, physical & sensory disabilities and medical conditions with a mild general learning disability will be eligible for consideration and enrolment
  • An educational report from the school or preschool in which the child is currently enrolled (attached educational record forms for primary and post-primary).
  • Other reports as may be deemed necessary in each individual case – Speech & Language therapy, medical, social, psychiatric, etc.


  • If the outcome of formal assessment procedures is unclear or complex, it may be appropriate for a teacher from Scoil Chiaráin to observe the child in his/her current educational setting and to meet the personnel who work with him/her.


  • Following consideration of the reports, if the Board considers that additional resources are required to meet the particular educational/special needs of the child, an application will be made to the DES, via the SENO (Special Education Needs Organiser) to provide same.  A case-conference may be called to discuss the needs of a particular child if appropriate. Placement may depend on the provision of specialist resources.


  • When Parents/Guardians of the pupil have expressed their wish to have the enrolment process proceed, the child’s name will be placed on the waiting list.


  • When all necessary documentation is in place, the application for a place in Scoil Chiaráin will be considered in relation to the number of available places and resources available.


  • Successful applications are submitted to the Board of Management for ratification.


  • In accordance with the DES pupil teacher ratio for schools within this category, and the Board of Management recommendation, the maximum number of places available in the Primary section of the school will be 36 pupils and 96 post primary places, making a total of 132.  For operational reasons, the number of primary classes will not be less than 4.


  • The Board of Management may consider offering additional places if demand exceeds available places and the school has adequate personnel to meet the needs of additional students. No class however will exceed 13 students.


  • Where applications exceed the maximum number of places available, priority consideration will be given to students with no provision, those who cannot benefit further within mainstream schools and those with the greatest need for immediate support.  Priority is also given to siblings of current students and those on the waiting list from previous years.


  • A child with significant emotional/behavioural problems may be turned down if it is believed that his/her enrolment would impact negatively on the safety, welfare or learning of other pupils.


  • Parents may wish to appeal the decision of the Board by taking a Section 29 appeal as outlined in the Education Act.


  • The Board welcomes applications on behalf of children from different religious, cultural or ethnic backgrounds or who may have a physical disability and will endeavour to meet any requirement necessary to fully include all students into the life of the school.


  • Unsuccessful applications may be referred to other facilities or may have their names placed on a waiting list, pending further places becoming available.


  • The list of pupils for enrolment is submitted to the National Council for Special Education and subsequently special transport is arranged by them with Dublin Bus and both parents/guardians and the school informed. Full details, including psychological reports and other relevant documents will be forwarded to the SENO in March to secure staff and appropriate resources for newly enrolled pupils.


  • Pupils due to start school in September are invited to visit their “new” school in May/June to meet staff and pupils in preparation for the transfer.  A letter confirming their transfer will be forwarded to their previous school as required in the Education Welfare Act 2000.



While it is envisaged that most students will remain in Scoil Chiarain until they complete their education at 18 years of age, some students may require further assessment to assist with planning for their future support or to determine if Scoil Chiarain is the most appropriate setting to meet their educational needs.

Assessment may be carried out by the school’s NEPS psychologist or a student may be referred to another appropriate agency. Parents’ / Guardians’ permission will always be sought before such a referral is made.

If the recommendation is made that the child transfer to another specialist facility, the school will make every effort to support families to make the transition.

If a student is found to be functioning within the high moderate range of learning disability, parents and professionals will discuss the most appropriate placement for the student – this could be to remain in Scoil Chiarain if the student is benefitting from the programme or the decision could be made to transfer to a specialist moderate GLD facility. Each child’s needs will be considered separately.


Admission Date

Pupils return to school at the beginning of September and all new pupils start at this time.  All available places are filled by 30th September each year.  No further enrolment takes place during the school year.


Success Criteria

In Scoil Chiaráin the enrolment policy is structured to ensure documented consultation and review in a manner that is open and professional and in the best interests of the children we serve.  It is hoped the publication of this document will clarify for parents and professionals the enrolment policy.


Roles & Responsibilities

Board of Management:

  • Seeks resources to meet the educational/special needs of students
  • Ratifies the admissions list


  • Liaised with families, schools and agencies
  • Maintains records
  • Leads discussion in consideration of applications
  • Implements review process annually

School staff

  • Facilitate parent/professional visits to the school
  • Visit pupils in other educational facilities when appropriate

Educational Professionals

  • Consider carefully the requirements of each child referred
  • Provide relevant documentation by the end of January each year
  • Participate in case conferences/meeting where necessary, to assist enrolment committee


Timeframe for Implementation

This policy will be circulated to staff, the parents’ policy committee and the Board of Management for consideration, comment and amendment and subsequently to the Board of Management for ratification in April 2017



Timeframe for Review

This policy will be reviewed in October 2017 to ensure it is working satisfactorily and any necessary changes made by agreement.



Responsibility for Review

The Board of Management will include the document for review at the October Board meeting in 2017.  The Principal will bring this to the attention of the Board.


Ratification & Communication

The final draft will be presented to the Board for ratification in April 2012.  Following ratification the agreed policy will be:

-      Circulated to all staff

-      Available to all parents through the revised Parents Handbook

-      Available to all agencies via the school website







This policy has been ratified by the Board of Management on



Latest News

19 June 2020




St. Canice's Rd,


Dublin 11,

d11 vk64



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