Choosing a School for your Child

Article 42 of the Irish Constitution recognises that the family is the “primary and natural educator of the child” but the State is obliged to ensure that each child receives a “certain minimum education”. Under the Constitution, the State must provide for free primary education for children.

The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 provides that children are to be educated in an inclusive setting unless this would not be in the best interests of the child or the effective provision of education for other children in mainstream education.

Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) will inform you about where there are places available for your child in local schools – but ultimately it is up to you to decide where you wish to send your child to school.

The Board of Management of every school must publish an enrollment policy which sets out the policy of the school concerning the admission and participation of children with special educational needs. If you opt to send your child to the local mainstream school, you should fill out the enrollment form and indicate that your child has special needs and attach any professional reports. The school will complete an application form for special educational resources with your permission which will be sent to the local SENO for consideration.

Parents are often very concerned about whether it is best for their child with special educational needs to attend a mainstream school or a special school or class. In making this decision, it is helpful to think about which setting is most suited to your child’s individual needs and the quality of education that can be provided for your child within that setting. Professional reports such as a psychological assessment should give you an indication of what type of educational placement would be most appropriate to meet your child’s needs.

A range of factors should be taken into account such as:

  • your child’s needs
  • your child’s best interests
  • your own preference
  • the needs of other children in the school setting.

The NCSE has published a new guide for parents to assist you in Choosing a School which will give you further information.


Back to Education