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Progress finally underway for streamlined secondary school application process

Statement by Senator Emer Currie

20th April 2024 - Emer Currie

The Minister for Education’s pledge to consider recommendations and explore reform of the secondary school admissions process is a welcome step to improving a currently chaotic and disjointed system, a Fine Gael Senator has said.


Senator Emer Currie, Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson for Special Education and Inclusion said a statement from Minister of Education Norma Foley this week in response to a motion on a Common Applications System (CAPPS) model for secondary school enrolment is a step in the right direction.


“This year and in previous years, I have been inundated with stories of struggle from parents who have waited months to secure a secondary school place and who rightly question if there is enough capacity in their local schools. It was on their behalf that I wrote to the Minister and raised the idea of a CAPPS for post-primary schools in the Seanad,” Senator Currie explained.


“Under this system, which is currently being used in areas of North Dublin, Ennis and Limerick, parents submit a common application and adhere to one deadline for all the schools in their area. Families can apply to multiple schools but list their preferences. Schools then collaborate and manage the applications together through a committee, which could help to speed up the entire process.


“Although not perfect, the model offers a solution to the lack of integration currently afflicting local schools, which often results in applications overlapping. I have been told by principals and parents in areas where it’s now in use that the system significantly improves the lengthy delays families have previously faced.


“However, in her statement, the Minister did caution that there would be challenges associated with implementing such a system on a national level, as it would need to take into account the complexity of each school’s unique admissions policy.


“This is exactly why we need a common system. If the complexity of each school’s system is a challenge at Government level, imagine how daunting it is to parents?


“I do believe, however, that it is possible for each school to retain its own admissions policy, while integrating the CAPPS to assist with the transition.” Senator Currie added.


“I am pleased that the Minister will be assessing how CAPPS could influence admission processes and the commitment to fostering cooperation between schools in relation to admissions is undoubtedly a positive step toward a simplified system,” Senator Currie concluded.

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