Admission and Enrolment Policy
St. Mel’s College, Longford is a Roman Catholic Voluntary secondary school for male students only under the trusteeship of the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. It is situated beside St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford town.
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) and the Equal Status Act (2000). 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.
St. Mel’s College is a Catholic diocesan secondary school under the patronage of the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, 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.
Enrolment and Admission
Overview of Enrolment and Admission
The school aims to:
- Provide a fair and transparent system of enrolment for all male students.
- Make reasonable provision and accommodation for male students, including those with disability and special educational needs in accordance with relevant legislation, with due regard to the efficient use of resources provided by the DES.
- Allow for full participation by all male students, subject to resources being available and allowing for Health and Safety implications.
The Board of Management shall decide the maximum number of places to be offered for enrolment each academic year, mindful of (i) the need to ensure the school has the space capacity appropriate to cater for the number of male students to be enrolled (ii) safety considerations arising from school layout and design.
The school has 108 places for male students for first year enrolment in the 2011-12 school year. When allocating the number of places the Board of Management shall apply the selection criteria set out in this policy and also in the manner set down and explained herein.
The selection criteria shall be applied in keeping with
- our school’s Mission statement,
- the provisions of the Education Act 1998, section 15(d)
- the ethos of the school and recommendations of the Patron/trustee
- the appropriate and relevant regulations of the Department of Education and Science
The following information is required from parents prior to enrolment:
(a) Male student’s name, Date of Birth, Address and Official Birth Certificate long form.
(b) Parents’, Guardians, names addresses, telephone numbers (Home, Mobile, Emergency) and occupation(s)
(d) PPS number
(e) Previous school attended by the male student
(f) Details of relevant medical condition (s) and related requirements
(g) Details of disabilities or any special educational needs of the male student
(h) Relevant information, if applicable, regarding student custody, access arrangements and Court orders pertaining to the student.
(i) Whether or not a transport form is required
(j) A statement of Talents and Interests
(k) Whether or not there are any special exemptions e.g. Irish or PE. Copy of Official Exemption must be provided.
(l) Whether or not the male student has or had a brother in the school
(m) Whether or not the male student’s father attended the school
(n) Nationality: country of origin.
(o) Level of proficiency in English
Allocation of Places and selection criteria
Decisions on allocation of places are made in relation to and in accordance with:
(a) Criteria laid down by the BOM (these will apply if the number of applications exceeds the number of places available)
(b) DES rules and regulations: students must be 12 years of age on the 1st January in the school year in which they enrol.
(c) The Provision of Staff by the DES
(d) DES provision of resources to meet the requirements of male students with special needs
(e) DES provision of physical space in relation to classroom accommodation and the health and safety needs of the male students
(f) Prior to registration and admission to the school, parents shall be required to confirm in writing that:
- They have read and accept the Code of Conduct and that this has been explained to, accepted and signed by their son.
- That they will make all reasonable effort to ensure that their son will comply with the schools Code of Conduct
Parents must also accept all other school policies.
Order of Selection
The school shall firstly select all applications from male students whose parent(s)/guardian(s) are seeking an education in the Catholic tradition for their son and in the following priority from number 1-4:
- Brothers of present /past pupils
- Sons of staff members
- Sons of past pupils
- Male students from the catchment area – subject to places being available.
If the number of applicants from the catchment area exceeds the remaining places available, a lottery system will apply. The lottery will be chaired by an independent chairperson of standing within the community and will include two witnesses from the parents association.
Enrolment of Male students with Special Educational Needs.
The Board of Management welcomes and will accept male students with special educational needs in so far as the Department of Education & Science provides the necessary resources to meet the needs of the male student.
In order to establish the educational and training needs of the male student relevant to his disability or special needs the school management will:
- Examine application forms to identify male students with special needs
- Request that the parents/guardians meet the School Principal to discuss the male student’s needs and the school’s capability to meet those needs.
- Request a copy of the male student’s medical/psychological report/individual educational report if available
- Request immediate assessment
- Request from the Department of Education and Science necessary resources, prior to enrolment, for the needs of the male student e.g. special needs assistant, specialised equipment or furniture, learning support, transport or other.
Should it prove impossible to provide the necessary resources, as decided by the Principal based on the foregoing, to provide for the needs of the male student, the Board reserves the right to refuse an application for a place in the school.
In accordance with Sections 28 and 29 of the Education Act 1998, parents/ guardians of applicants who are not enrolled in the school may appeal the decision to the Board of Management in the first instance and subsequently if necessary to the Department of Education & Science.
Acceptance of a place.
The school wishes to make clear that the allocation of a place in the school is conditional upon the following:
- The prospective male student attending at the school, on a notified date, for the purpose of sitting an assessment test. The assessment test is taken by male students who have been offered a place and it is used to facilitate the allocation of male students into mixed ability classes in first year. The results are also used to indicate male students who may need further assessment for learning support. Please note assessment is not permitted in the allocation of places in the school.
- Where a male student does not attend the assessment test without a satisfactory explanation the prospective male student will not be offered a place.
- Places are allocated as soon as is practicable but not later than twenty school days after the closing date for enrolment application.
- Parents/guardians must accept that a male student may not get all subjects of his choice and where this occurs an alternative subject must be accepted.
- The final decision regarding all enrolment rests with the Board of Management.
- The Board of Management reserves the right to refuse application for admission in exceptional circumstances.
- An offer of enrolment may be revoked if the Board of Management becomes aware of the withholding of significant information or presentation of false information relating to the male student’s academic history, health or behaviour or personal details.
- Parents should not make an application to enrol their son in the school unless it is genuine as this may cause others to be disappointed.
- Parents must confirm their acceptance of a place in writing by the specified date.
Review and Appeal Procedures.
Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 provides for an appeal process to the Secretary General at DES. In general such an appeal must be made within 42 days of the notification of refusal by the school.
Transfers from Other Second Level Schools.
Male students may transfer into the school at any time subject to the following:
- Acceptance of all school policies
- The school authorities being satisfied with the reason for the transfer.
- Information will be requested from the male student’s former school concerning attendance, educational progress, subject choices, term reports, disabilities and special needs, reasons for transfer as per Section 20 of the Educational Welfare Act.
- The school regarding the move in the best interest of the male student.
- Available space.
- The schools curricular provision being suitable for the male student.
- Health and Safety considerations.
- Information in relation to the male student’s disciplinary record.
- Consultation with the Educational Welfare Officer if appropriate.
- As a general rule male students will not be allowed to transfer into the school after the 1st March in the relevant school year.
The Board of Management will review the Admissions Policy annually in line with evolving legislation and practice, including the Education Acts, the Equal Status Act and all related statutory and regulatory requirements.