Admissions Policy


This policy has been developed in conjunction with the Board of Management, staff and parents of the Good Shepherd National School, Churchtown.This policy complies with the provisions of the Education Act 1998. The policy is designed to provide clarity to parents in matters relating to admissions procedure. The Chairperson of the BOM, Mr. William McAuliffe, and the Principal, Ms. Órlaith Veale, of the Good Shepherd N.S. (phone 01-2989475) are happy to clarify any further matters arising from this policy.

The Good Shepherd N.S. Whitehall Road, Churchtown, Dublin 14, is a co-educational school catering for children from Junior Infants to Sixth Class. The school is a Roman Catholic school under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. The prescribed Religious programme for Catholic Schools in the Diocese is Grow in Love. There are 17 teachers in the school including the Principal, 7 mainstream teachers, 9 Special Education teachers and a Home School Liaison Teacher. There are also currently 9 SNAs employed in the school. The school also has an Early Intervention Class for children with Autism, 2 Language Classes for children with a Specific Speech and Language Impairment and a class for children with Mild Learning Difficulties.
The school depends on the grants and teacher resources provided by the Department of Education and Science (DES). It operates within the regulations laid down, from time to time, by the DES and Patron. School Policy is subject to necessary resources being available as well as compliance with the aforementioned regulations.
The School complies with Circular 21/04 and any subsequent circulars concerning the standardisation of the school year. Parents are informed of school closures at the commencement of each school year/term.
School opening times are as follows:
Junior Infants & Senior Infants:               8.50 am – 1.30 pm
First Class to Sixth Class:                            8.50 am – 2.30 pm
There are two break times each day,     10.30am – 10.40am,  &    12.15pm – 12.45 pm.

The school also follows the curricular programmes prescribed by the DES, which may be amended from time to time, in accordance with Sections 9 and 30 of the Education Act (1998).These curricular areas include: Gaeilge, English, Mathematics, SESE, SPHE, Visual Arts and Physical Education. Within the context and parameters of the DES regulations and programmes, the rights of the patron as set out in the Education Act, in conjunction with the funding and resources available, the school supports the principles of Inclusiveness, particularly with reference to the enrolment of children with a disability or other special educational needs.Equality of access and participation in the school. Parental choice in relation to enrolment.Respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.

The Good Shepherd National School has an ethos which aims to facilitate both the personal and academic development of all its pupils. The Board of Management, staff, parents and school community work in partnership to develop moral, religious values and to meet the needs of all its students.
Pupils of the Good Shepherd National School learn to appreciate, explore and express their individuality as well as that of others. The Good Shepherd National School aims to help all of our students to grow and cultivate their talents and interests while helping them to mature as balanced, hard-working members of society.
The Good Shepherd National School is a Roman Catholic, co-educational school under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. The Board of Management reserves their right to promote and uphold a Catholic ethos under Section 7(3) of the Equal Status Act while also recognising, respecting and welcoming the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions and ways of life in society. The development of the curriculum for religious education remains the responsibility of the church authorities.

The BOM communicates with the school/parish community, through various channels e.g. notes, school newsletter, parish newsletter etc., inviting prospective parents to enrol their child in the Good Shepherd National School.
The BOM is bound by the DES Rules for National Schools which provide that pupils may only be enrolled from the age of 4 years and upwards. Compulsory attendance does not apply until the age of 6 years. Enrolment occurs on the first day of the school year that the child attends school as this is the date on which the child is placed on the school register.
In accordance with the Equal Status Act 2000 and the Disabilities Bill 2002, the BOM upholds equality of access as the key value that determines the enrolment of children to our school.
No child is refused admission for reasons of ethnicity, special educational needs, disability, language/accent, gender, traveller status, asylum-seeker/refugee status, religious/political beliefs and values, family or social circumstances.
The Good Shepherd National School welcomes early applications which are held on file until the relevant registration date. Please note that Applications Forms are available in the school office, (copy of form attached to this document).
Parents who wish to enrol their child in the school are required to return a completed Application Form with an original Birth/Adoption Certificate and Baptism Certificate if applicable. To facilitate school planning, completed applications should be returned to the school office before the October mid-term break  of the year prior to that of the year the pupil wishes to start. Parents may call to the school office to apply. Parents may also send a completed application by post to the school or by email to They will receive an acknowledgement by email which should be kept on file.
Parents are required to forward any relevant reports about their child to the school with their application form. These reports can include, but are not limited to, Speech and Language reports, Occupational Therapy reports, Psychological reports and also reports from the child’s pre-school setting. Once received the school may request a meeting with parents to discuss their child’s individual needs and may contact all relevant parties in relation to these reports.


Decisions in relation to applications for enrolment are made by the BOM of the Good Shepherd National School in accordance with school policy and the appropriate resources being available from the DES. In accordance with the Education Welfare Act 2000 the BOM will notify parents of their decision by the 1st of May prior to the child’s admission into school.

While recognising the right of parents to enrol their child in the school of their choice, the BOM of Good Shepherd NS is also required to respect the rights of the existing school community and in particular, the children already enrolled. This requires balanced judgements, which are guided by the principles of natural justice and action in the best interest of all children. Assisting the school in such circumstances, the BOM reserves the right to determine the maximum number of children in each separate classroom bearing in mind:

  • Size of / available space in classrooms
  • Educational needs of children of a particular age
  • Multi-grade classes
  • Presence of children currently enrolled with significant special education/behavioural needs
  • DES maximum pupil/teacher ratio directives. This may vary according to the DES budgets and directives.
  • Safety and educational needs of existing pupils within the class

In the event of the number of children seeking enrolment in any given class exceeding the number of places the following criteria will be used to prioritise children for enrolment:

  1. Children aged 4 by the 1st  of April of year of enrolment in accordance with criteria as outlined in points 2-7 below.
  2. Brothers and sisters of current children in the mainstream school (including step-siblings and foster children resident at the same home address) and children of current staff. (Priority will be given to the oldest).
  3. Children living within the parish boundaries of Churchtown. (Priority will be given to the oldest). Please note that proof of residence may be requested upon application.
  4. Children of past pupils. (Priority to the oldest).
  5. Children outside the parish. (Priority to the oldest)
  6. Finally, if there are vacancies after groups from 1-5 have been allocated places children born after 1st April but on/before 31st August of year of enrolment will be offered a place (priority given to the oldest first) on condition that they have completed an ECCE year or equivalent at pre-school level.
  7. Please note: Siblings of children in the special classes do not get priority-but follow the criteria 1-6 outlined above

Parents of successful applicants will be informed before May 1st. They are invited to attend a Welcome Evening in the school in late May of the year of enrolment. Attendance at this evening confirms the parent’s intent of taking the school place in the next academic year. Parents are requested to pay the book list and school fees at this time. The school handbook and any other relevant information will be given to parents during this evening, to assist parents as they guide their child into the national primary education system.

The BOM of the Good Shepherd National School recognises and upholds a parent’s right to appeal a refusal to enrol through the Appeal Procedures under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998. Upon receiving the BOM’s decision parents/guardians will be informed by the BOM of the procedure and timeframe involved for an appeal.The procedures under Section 29 cannot be invoked until all procedures at local level have been exhausted.

Since its foundation, the Good Shepherd NS has championed inclusivity of all children. We welcome children with special needs into our mainstream and Special Education classes. Prior to admission a clear statement of the extent of the child’s special learning /physical difficulty needs to be forwarded to the school from all agencies dealing with the case.
Up to date reports (psychological/speech and language etc.) must be provided to the school prior to enrolment. Following receipt of these reports the BOM will assess how the school will meet the needs specified in the report. Where the BOM deems that further resources are required, it should, prior to enrolment, request the DES to provide the resources required to meet the needs of the child as outlined in the psychological or medical report. These resources may include for example: access to or provision of any or a combination of the following: visiting teacher service/resource teacher for special needs/special needs assistant/specialised equipment or furniture, transport services or other.
If the child is currently enrolled in another school, or educational establishment (including playschool) an-up-to date report will be required. A visit to this establishment to observe the child in a learning situation may also be necessary. An analysis of the requirement of the child’s educational and physical needs and our ability to meet these needs will then be made.
A meeting with parents to discuss the case will be convened to address the above points and information. Full consideration of the parents’ wishes will be taken into account and balanced with the above. It may be necessary to convene a full case conference involving all parties which may include parents, principal, class teacher, resource teacher, visiting teacher, psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, social worker and any other appropriate services.

Criteria for admission to the school’s 2 Speech and Language classes, Early Intervention Autistic Class and Class for Children with Mild learning Difficulties are available on request from the school.
The relevant provisions of the Equality Status Act (2000) and the Disabilities Bill (2002) have been taken into account in the drafting of this policy.This policy will be reviewed annually.This policy was reviewed and approved by the Board of Management of the Good Shepherd National School at its meeting held on 7th November 2018.