Special Class Enrolment /Admissions Policy

Special Class Enrolment/Admissions Policy

Enrolment/Admissions Policy

St Mel’s College is a voluntary secondary school. Procedures for admission are set out having regard for the Education Act 1998, the Education Welfare Act 2000, the Equal Status Act 2000 and the Education for Persons with Special Needs Act 2004.

The Autism Unit is funded and resourced by the Department of Education and Skills. This school policy has regard to the funding, resources, services and spaces available.

Health Service Executive Input

Essential services are provided by the Health Service Executive. These services include Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy.

St Mel’s College has no control over these services, merely acting as a relevant setting for their provision. All queries about these services must be addressed to the Health Service Executive and not to St Mel’s College.

Characteristic spirit and general objectives of the school.

St. Mel’s College, Longford is a Catholic Voluntary Secondary School with a Catholic Ethos for male students only under the trusteeship of the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. “Catholic Ethos” in the context of a Catholic voluntary school means the ethos and characteristic spirit of the Roman Catholic Church which aims at promoting

  • The full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil including the intellectual,physical,cultural,moral and spiritual aspects and
  • a living relationship with God and with other people;and
  • a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; and
  • the formation of the pupils in the Catholic faith

and which school provides religious education in accordance with the doctrines,practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, and/or characteristic spirit as may be determined or interpreted from time to time by the Irish Episcopal Conference.

In accordance with S.15 (2) of the Education Act, 1998 the Board of Management of St Mel’s College shall uphold and be accountable to the patron for so upholding, the characteristic spirit of the school, linguistic and spiritual values and traditions which inform and are characteristic of the objectives and conduct of the school.

The school is managed by a Board of Management consisting of eight members, four nominated by the trustee, two elected by parents and two elected by the teaching staff. The Principal, while not a member, acts as secretary to the Board.

The Board of St. Mel’s College supports and subscribes to the principles of inclusiveness, accountability, partnership, transparency, respect for diversity, parental choice and equality and is committed to the successful implementation of relevant education legislation, in particular the Education Act (1998), The Education Welfare Act (2000) ,the Equal Status Act (2000) and Admissions Act (2018).

The school is grant aided by the Department of Education and Science, which includes teacher resources. The school seeks extra funding in the form of a voluntary contribution and is supported annually by the parents association through its fund raising activities, which is greatly appreciated.

3.Mission Statement

St. Mel’s College is a Catholic diocesan secondary school under the patronage of the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, that is committed to providing an education for male students which, in co-operation with parents:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, social and personal development of our male students;
  • strives for academic and sporting excellence in keeping with our inherited traditions,
  • fosters an inclusive, caring, Christian Community based on Gospel values,
  • where each person can expect to be treated with courtesy, respect, and dignity,
  • nurtures and guides our students in developing their potential and in becoming responsible adults.

4.Admission Statement

St Mel’s College will not discriminate in its admission of a student to the school on any of the following

  • the gender ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned
  • the civil status ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned
  • the family status ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned
  • the sexual orientation ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned
  • the religion ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned
  • the disability ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned
  • the ground of race of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned

  • the Traveller Community ground of the student or the applicant in respect of the student concerned

  • the ground that the student or applicant in respect of the student concerned has special educational needs

As per section 61(3) of the Education Act 1998, ‘civil status ground’,’disability ground’,’discriminate’,family status ground’,gender ground’,ground of race’,religion ground’,sexual orientation ground’,and Traveller community ground’shall be construed in accordance with section 3 of the Equal Status Act 2000.

St Mel’s College is an all boys school and does not discriminate where it refuses to admit a girl applying for admission to the school.

St Mel’s College is a school whose objective is to provide education in an environment which promotes certain religious values and does not discriminate where it admits a student of Catholic faith in preference to others.

St Mels College is a school whose objective is to provide education in an environment which promotes certain religious values and does not discriminate where it refuses to admit as a student a person who is not of Catholic faith and it is proved that the refusal is essential to maintain the ethos of the school.

The Admissions Committee will deal with any applications for enrolment in the Autism Unit .The Admissions Committee consists of the following-Chairperson of the Board of Management, Principal, Head Teacher in the ASD Unit and NCSE SENO.

The Admissions Committee reviews the psychological assessment of the child and any enrolment is subject to the approval of the said committee.

The members of the Admissions Committee are – Chairperson B.O.M, Principal, Teacher for Autism, and the dedicated NCSE SENO. The decision of the committee is subject to Board approval.

Criteria for Enrolment

Each child in the class must have a definite diagnosis of Autism.

The unit will only cater for children who are 12 years of age or more and less than 18 years of age on the 1st September of the school year in question, unless there is specific approval from the Department of Education and Skills for a particular student who is outside this upper age limit.

Prospective students must have a recommendation from a NEPS psychologist , other Educational/Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist or Multidisciplinary team for placement in a Special Class for Autism.

All applications in operation on a child should be provided to the school for assessment by the Admissions Team/Board of Management. The withholding of such reports from the Board of Management may invalidate an enrolment application at any time.

The Parents/Guardians of the applicant must accept and agree to St Mel’s College School Code of Behaviour/Discipline and the terms of this policy.

Children with special educational needs may display difficult, defiant or oppositional behaviours. All efforts will be made by staff at the school to manage such behaviour using various strategies and through the implementation of the student’s Individual Educational Plan. All students including those with special educational needs are subject to the school Code of Behaviour/Discipline and the terms of the Health and Safety Statement adopted by the Board of Management at the school. Where any student’s behaviour impacts in a negative way on the other students in the ASD Unit or the students in a mainstream class, to an extent that their constitutional right to an education is being interfered with, as judged by the Board of Management of the school, then the school reserves the right to advise Parents/Guardians that a more suitable educational setting should be found for their child.

Under guidelines from the Department of Education and Skills the number of places in the Autism Unit is limited to six students.

Applications relating to students who have been attending ASD Special Classes in Primary School will be given priority.

Enrolment Procedure

The process of enrolment begins with

  1. A referral from an external agency or a telephone call or visit in person from the parents.

  1. A school application form, showing family details and medical history is then completed. This application must be accompanied by an up to date educational psychological assessment and diagnostic report.

  1. Fully completed applications are then recorded in the applications file. The deadline for applications is the last Friday in February preceding the school year in question.

  1. Entry into this file secures a place on the list of applicants. Only applications that meet the criteria for enrollment above will be considered as suitable applications.

If the number of the children on the list of applicants exceeds the number of places available the following ranked criteria will apply

  1. Applicants with siblings already in the school.

  1. Applicants resident within the defined school Catchment Area and (1) attending the local feeder National Schools, or (2) not attending these feeder schools but for whom this ASD unit would be nearest facility.
  2. Applicants not in any of the above categories.

Allocation of a place in the Autism Unit does not guarantee a place in the mainstream classes for any siblings.

If the number of applicants at any of the ranked criteria above, exceeds the number of places available, then the available places will be allocated on the basis of date of birth, with priority being given to the oldest applicant at that criteria level, and continuing thus forth until all places are filled.

Should two or more applicants share the same date of birth, then places will be allocated on the basis of the date that fully completed applications were recorded in the applications file.

Please note that the fulfilling of the enrolment criteria does not necessarily ensure enrolment if

  1. Necessary resources pertaining to the enrolment are not available

  1. Sufficient classroom space is not available.

The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment to any student with Autism in very exceptional situations. Such a very exceptional situation could include the following:

  1. The student 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 student with an appropriate education or

  1. In the opinion of the Board of Management, the student poses an unacceptable risk to other students, to school staff or to school property

Parents/Guardians should note;

  1. a) The Parents/Guardians of a child being offered a place in the ASD Unit will be invited to visit the school to meet with a member of the Special Education Team and the Principal/Deputy Principal of the school, to discuss the placement/enrolment of their child. Any information requested by the Parent/Guardian will be provided at this meeting.
  2. b) The Parents/Guardians may be requested to consent to a visit by a member of the Special Educational Needs professional staff at St Mel’s College, to visit the existing school placement of the student concerned in order to observe the student in a classroom situation. Staff will also meet with the principal and any relevant personnel involved in the student’s education to that point.
  3. c) The Parents/ Guardians will be invited to accompany their child to visit St Mel’s College ASD Unit and meet staff.
  4. d) The Parents/ Guardians are also invited, after the acceptance and placement of their child in the ASD Unit, to be consulted about the Education Plan for their child.
  5. e) The NEPS psychologist and SENO will be appraised of the Education Plan.
  6. f) A child may be phased gradually into the special class in the ASD Unit through a mutually agreed process between Parents/Guardians and the Management of the school.
  7. g) Where it is deemed appropriate, a student in the ASD Unit will be assigned to an age appropriate mainstream class for integration purpose by school management.

Students that are currently enrolled in an ASD Unit in another post-primary school will not be considered for transfer enrolment at St Mel’s College ASD Unit during the course of the school academic year except under exceptional circumstances.

The Board of Management of St Mel’s College respects the right of the existing school community and the children already enrolled. This consideration is paramount when assessing entry to the Autism Unit.

The closing date for enrolment for the 2021/22 school year is the 26th February 2021 at 5pm and in subsequent years the final date for enrolment will be that which is set out by the schools general Admissions policy for 1st Year students.

Applicants will be informed in writing as to the decision of the school. Offers will be made on March 5th 2021 and unsuccessful applicants will be notified 10 days later when offers have

been accepted in writing.

If a student is not offered a place in our school, the reasons why they were not offered a

place will be communicated in writing to the applicant, including, where applicable, details of

the student’s ranking against the selection criteria and details of the student’s place on the

waiting list for the school year concerned.

Applicants will be informed of the right to seek a review/right of appeal of the school’s

decision within 3 weeks of being informed that their application was unsuccessful.

Where an applicant has been refused admission due to the school being oversubscribed, the

applicant must request a review of that decision by the board of management prior to

making an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

Under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, the parent of the student may appeal a

decision of this school to refuse admission.

This policy has been ratified by the Board of Management at its meeting on Thursday February 4th 2021.

Signed- Enda Flynn- Chairperson Board of Management

This Policy is subject to periodic review by the Board of Management of St Mel’s College

St. Mel’s Road, Longford, Co. Longford.
043 334 6469
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