The Enrolment policy of St. Helen’s Junior N.S. is set out in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998. The Board of Management trusts that by doing so, parents will be assisted in relation to enrolment matters. The Chairperson of the Board of Management, Ms Celine O’ Connell and the Principal Teacher, Ms. Miriam Dowdall, will be happy to clarify any further matters arising from this policy.
St. Helen’s Junior N.S. is a Roman Catholic Primary School under the patronage of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. As a Roman Catholic school, the school aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic school provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Roman Catholic faith.
At present the school has 19 Teachers including the Principal, the Special Educational Team Teachers and Teachers for children on the Autistic Spectrum. Mainstream classes are from Junior Infants to Second Class, catering for boys and girls. The school is funded by, and depends on grants and teacher resources provided by the Dept. of Education & Skills, and operates within the regulations laid down from time to time by the Dept. of Education & Skills. St. Helen’s Junior N.S. Outreach Classes and pre-school cater for boys and girls on the mild end of the autistic spectrum. These classes, in addition to depending on grants, teacher and special needs assistant resources provided by the Dept. of Education & Skills, also depend on grants and resources provided by Beechpark Services, South Western Area Health Board.
St. Helen’s Junior N.S. must take due regard to the resources and funding available. St. Helen’s Junior N.S. follows the curricular programmes prescribed by the Dept. of Education & Skills, which may be amended from time to time in accordance with Sections ‘9’and ‘30’ of the Education Act (1998).
St. Helen’s Junior N.S. supports the principles of:
• Equality of access and participation in the school
• Respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society
• Inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational need
• Parental choice in relation to enrolment, subject to Parish Enrolment Policy
The Board of Management may limit the number of classes formed in Junior Infants in any given year in order to maintain a pupil population consistent with the prevailing number of classes and staffing in the school.
The Board of Management may place restrictions on the maximum number of children in each separate classroom depending on:
• Size of available space in classrooms
• Educational needs of children of a particular age
• Multi-grade classes
• Presence of children with special educational/behavioural needs
• Dept. of Education & Skills directive regarding class size.
Children enrolled in St. Helen’s Junior N.S. are required to cooperate and support the school's Code of Discipline and Behaviour.
For the purpose of enrolling pupils in St. Helen’s J.N.S., St. Helen’s S.N.S. and St. Marnock’s N.S., the three Boards of Management and the parish authorities have agreed that the proper organisation of primary education in Portmarnock is best served by the division of the parish into two catchment areas.
While respecting the principle of parental choice of school, (Section 15 (2) (d) of the Education act 1998) the Boards of Management believe that it is in the best interest of pupils to attend their designated school. Accordingly, the parish of Portmarnock is divided into two catchment areas as follows:
1. St. Marnock’s catchment area extend northwards from St. Marnock’s School as far as, and including Beach Park, Burrow Court, Carrickhill Heights, Woodlands, Pine Court, Ardilaun, Lower Carrickhill, Carrick Court, Strand Rd. south of Burrow Court, St. Anne’s Square, Strandmill, Station Road, Drumnigh and Old Portmarnock south of the railway bridge located beside Hazelwood garage on the back road.
2. St. Helen’s catchment area includes Strand Road north of Burrow Court, Upper Carrickhill, Martello Estate, Hillcourt, Dal Riada, Torcaill, Carrickhill Road north of Carrickhill Heights, Blackwood Lane and the Back road leading to Old Portmarnock north of the railway bridge located beside Hazelwood garage on the back road.
All enrolments in Parish schools to be made in accordance with the agreed policy except as follows:
1. In the case of parents who currently have a child attending a school outside their local catchment area, it will be open to those parents to continue to send their child to his/her present school or to enrol the child in their local school, subject to availability of space
2. If there is no space for their child in the local school, the child may be enrolled outside the local catchment area
3. In the case of (2) ……. the parents may subsequently transfer a child back to their local school subject to the availability of space
4. In the case of (2) ….. the parents may subsequently choose to enrol younger children in the school of the first child or in their local school
5. The brothers and sisters of children enrolled in a special class may enrol in the school in which the special class is located.
In the matter of enrolment, it is emphasised that all parents have the right to appeal to their local Board of Management.
Enrolment Procedures / Requirements
Parents wishing to enrol their children in St. Helen’s Junior National School are requested to attend the school to complete an Enrolment Application Form. In respect of Junior Infants Classes, specific dates are set aside (usually in January) for registration. These dates are communicated to the wider community by special announcements in the local church and by circular letters issued to all the pupils attending all classes in St. Helen’s J.N.S. and St. Helen’s S.N.S. Portmarnock and by notification to local creches.
In the case of Roman Catholic children, a Baptismal Certificate and a Birth Certificate is required. For children of other faiths an original Birth Certificate/Adoption Certificate is required.
A child enrolling in Junior Infant Class must have reached the age of 4 years on or before the 31st August of the year that he / she starts school.
A Junior Infant pupil may enrol into a junior infant class only on the first day of the school year unless the pupil is transferring from another school.
Pupils wishing to transfer from other schools are enrolled subject to the school’s enrolment policy, local agreements with other schools, available accommodation and a transfer form. Pupils should transfer at the beginning of each academic year, unless they become domiciled in St. Helen’s catchment area.
Criteria for Enrolment in Mainstream Classes
Priority will be given to applicants as follows:
1. Brothers and sisters of the children attending the school and Roman Catholic children residing in St. Helen’s School catchment area.
The catchment area is determined by the Board of Management of St. Helen’s Junior N.S. in agreement with the Boards of Management of St. Helen’s Senior N.S. & St. Marnock’s N.S. and Portmarnock Parish authorities. (St. Helen’s catchment area includes Strand Road north of Burrow Court, Upper Carrickhill, Martello Estate, Hillcourt, Dal Riada, Torcaill, Carrickhill Road north of Carrickhill Heights, Blackwood Lane and the Back road leading to Old Portmarnock north of the railway bridge located beside Hazelwood garage on the back road.)
2. Children of Staff members.
3. Roman Catholic children who reside outside the parish of Portmarnock who do not have a Roman Catholic school in their parish.
4. Roman Catholic children from St. Marnock’s catchment area who cannot be accommodated in their local school.
5. Children who are not Roman Catholic who reside in St. Helen’s catchment area.
6. Non- Roman Catholic children from St. Marnock’s catchment area who cannot be accommodated in their local school.
7. Children residing outside St. Helen’s catchment area, excluding those who reside in St. Marnock’s catchment area.
8. Children from the parish of Portmarnock who do not reside within the catchment area of St. Helen’s.
NOTE: In the event that the number of applicants in any criterion exceeds the number of available places the eldest children will be given priority. If the number of applications for enrolment exceeds the number of places available, the Board of Management will initiate the following decision-making process and places will be allocated as follows:
The Board of Management will process all completed applications and will decide on a cut-off date-of-birth for all applicants on an annual basis. Please note that the cut-off date-of-birth may vary from year to year and the Board reserves the right to determine the cut-off date-of-birth once all applications have been received.
Enrolment of children with Special Needs in Mainstream Classes
When enrolling a child with special needs parents will be required to provide an up-to-date medical report and/or psychological report and/or other relevant reports to establish the educational and training needs of the child in relation to his/her special needs and to profile the support services required to meet those needs.
Children with special needs will be resourced in accordance with the level of resources provided by the Dept. of Education & Skills. These resources may include, for example, access to the provision of any, or a combination of the following: the Visiting Teacher service, the Resource Teacher, the Special Needs Assistant, specialised equipment or furniture or other. Notwithstanding the availability of such resources, parents who are dissatisfied with the level of educational provision in St. Helen’s Junior National School are advised to consider a special school which is designed and resourced to specifically cater for the needs of children with special educational needs.
Children can apply for enrolment in the Cabhair Centre (ASD unit) by submitting a letter of application to the Admissions Team c/o St. Helen's Junior school, Limetree Ave., Portmarnock. The letter must state for which class and year you wish to make the application. The letter must be accompanied by the following items:
1. A psychological assessment which (a) confirms a diagnosis of asd and (b) recommends placement in an asd class.
2. A letter from Beechpark Services confirming that the child meets the criteria for their services.
Please Note :
Children who meet Beechpark services criteria AND who have acquired a placement in an asd class will be waitlisted by Beechpark services for clinical support. NONETHELESS referral to Beechpark services must be made and a copy of the letter from them stating that the child is suitable for their services (when they acquire a placement in an asd class) must be forwarded with your application to the school.
St. Helen’s Junior School Outreach classes, for children with Autism, are suited to children on the mild end of the spectrum: i.e. children with no significant intellectual difficulties and children with Aspergers Syndrome. There must be a realistic expectation that the children can be integrated to some degree with mainstream classes by the age of 8 years.
Children can apply for enrolment to the pre-school class following the same application procedure as outlined above.
Children enrolled in the pre-school will not automatically transfer to an outreach class. Such a transfer is dependent on a written transitional psychological report recommending such a placement.
Children in the outreach & pre-school classes for children with autism will be resourced in accordance with the level of resources provided by the Dept. of Education & Skills and the South Western Area Health Board. These resources may include, for example, access to the provision of any or a combination of the following: Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Behavioural Therapist, Home Liaison Nurse, Psychologist, and Psychiatrist.
All placements in the outreach & pre-school classes for children on the autistic spectrum are subject to review by the Board of Management, Beechpark Services, Dept. of Education inspectorate and the availability of Teachers and Special Needs Assistants. Placements may be reviewed in light of the ability of the school, its resources and staffing to effectively meet the needs of each child as they present over time. For enrolment procedures for the pre-school and outreach classes please refer to “Enrolment and Transitional Policy for the unit for children with autism”.
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management and amended as follows:
Amended January 2006, February 2006, June 2007 and January 2008
Amended September 2012, September 2014 and December 2014
Amended February 2016