Principle Of Ardscoil Na Mara, Clarifies Concerns Over Admissions
Mr Padraig Cawley, Principle of Ardscoil Na Mara, has spoken to TCRfm about concerns regarding the admissions policy for the school.
Parents who have children attending what is classed a Primary “feeder” schools have expressed concern upon realising that their child may not be guaranteed a place as previously hoped. The schools in question are Dunhill Fenor Butlerstown N.S., Kill , Killea Light of Christ.
According to Principle Cawley, the reason behind this is very simple. The school’s admissions policy offer places on a scale of eligibility. First & foremost are the students who attend Primary schools within Tramore, second, comes students who already have a sibling in Ardscoil Na Mara, and the remaining places are filled from the outlying feeder schools. Up until now, there has never been an issue, as places were available, & so the feeder schools could safely assume that the places would become available. However this year with growing population & class sizes, with the first and second place preferences filled, Ardscoil Na Mara, is left with 15 places to fill. In short meaning that of all the students finishing in the feeder schools, only 15 can attend Ardscoil Na Mara,. This figure may change, as some of the 1st or 2nd offerings may indeed decide to go elsewhere, thus opening up more availability, which will go to those on the waiting list. He reminds parents that if your child is not granted a place, you can appeal the decision under section 29 of the Education act, and your case will be looked at by a board, totally independent from the school itself.
Mr Cawley also admitted that in an ideal world the school should be able to cater for a larger number of students, but also stated that from year to year, it is impossible to accurately guess the numbers that will apply for places, and as such, there is potential that it could go the other way, if on any given year, a large number of secondary level candidates decide not to attend Ardscoil Na Mara,. And the offer of places structure is there to manage this. However operating at capacity he stated, shows great local confidence in the school, but the safety of students & staff must come first and foremost.
Speaking on the traffic problems that are created at peak times around the school, Mr Cawley explained that they have been in contact with the council, and have had the Summerhill traffic lights re timed to alleviate it, but to a degree their hands are tied regarding the issue. He would like to see a situation that he believes was initially proposed where the access road would run past the school to join Priests road, or as an alternative that land opposite the school could be made available to provide a loop, thus removing the cul de sac nature of the access to & from the school. However this land is in private ownership so it is not an option. Although at the time when we called to Mr Cawley, it was wet and overcast, he explained that on lovely summer days there would still be no more than 9 or 10 bikes in the racks in a school of over 1000 students, so maybe children could be encouraged to cycle to school more,
Mr Cawley would also like to remind parents that if they have any issues or concerns, he is more than willing to meet with them and discuss the issues and explain things on a one to one basis.