Admission Policy






This policy has been drawn up in consultation with the Board of Management, Staff, Parents and Students of Archbishop McHale College.  It has been approved and ratified by GRETB and was adopted by the Board of Management.  This policy applies to all students who wish to enrol in the school, and their parents, but particularly to those who live within the catchment area of the school.


The policy is rooted in the school’s fundamental aim of providing excellent post primary educational opportunities for all students in our catchment area. 


The policy sets out procedures to be followed in all the following circumstances:


  • Students applying for a place in First Year
  • Students from outside of the school applying for a place in any other year group or programme
  • Students applying to transfer from another second level school
  • Students applying to repeat any year of any programme within the school, including repeating the Leaving Cert.
  • Students from within the school applying for a place on any programme: LCVP, TY, FETAC.


The policy should be read in conjunction with:


  • The School’s Mission Statement
  • The School Code of Behaviour
  • The School’s Homework Policy
  • The School’s Attendance Policy
  • The School’s Inclusion  Policy
  • The School’s Substance Abuse Policy
  • The School’s Bullying  Policy
  • The ICT Acceptable Use Policy
  • School Prospectus




Relationship to the School Mission Statement


This policy is in line with the objectives set out in the school’s mission statement which states:


‘ the school is co-educational, multi-denominational, and inclusive’.


This policy, therefore, provides for the admission of all boys and girls in the local community regardless of religion, social class or educational need within the limits of available accommodation and facilities provided by the Department of Education




The school is subject to all legislative requirements and regulations set down, from time to time, by the Department of Education.  The school is funded by the Department of Education and is provided with staff in accordance with the Department of Education staff allocation systems.  The curricular programme of the school is governed by the Department of Education regulation in accordance with section 9 and 30 of the Education Act 1998


Enrolment is limited by school capacity and by the requirements of the school curriculum and organisation as prescribed from time to time by the Board of Management and as determined by the Department of Education regulations and standards.


In assessing applications for admission, the school will take full account of:


  • The rights of students living within the local community
  • The rights of parents to enrol their children in the school of their choice
  • The capacity of the school to provide adequately for the education of all its students.


This policy also aims to ensure that appropriate procedures are in place to enable the school:


  • To make decisions on all applications in an open and transparent manner, consistent with its ethos, mission statement and legislative requirements
  • To make accurate and appropriate assessment of the capacity of the school to cater for the needs of applicants in the light of the resources available to it.
  • To put in place a framework which will ensure effective and productive relations between students, parents, and teachers after students are admitted to the school.


The Education Welfare Act 2000 Section 19:1 requires that the Board of Management shall not refuse admission to a student except where such refusal is in accordance with the school’s admission policy.   Section 19:2 requires that parents must provide relevant information to the school while section 19:3 of the above named Act requires that the Principal, on behalf of the Board of Management shall, as soon as is practicable (but not later than 21days) after receiving such information ‘make a decision in respect of the application and inform the parents, in writing, thereof’


The Equal Status Act 2000 5 and 7:2 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, or membership of the Travelling Community, regarding admission, access to programmes, and participation in the school.  The same legislation applies regarding expulsion or any other sanction.


The school will comply with this legislation and render any application void which does not comply with this legislation, particularly section 19:2


The Context


Archbishop McHale College is a school under the patronage of Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board and as such supports the principle of equality for all students regarding access and participation in the school.  The Board of Management is a sub-committee of the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board.  The school respects the diversity of traditions, values and beliefs, languages and the ways of life in society.  The school acknowledges the right of parents to send their children to the school of the parents’ choice, subject to the resources available to the school, including classroom accommodation, class size, teaching resources, financial resources, and subject to the capacity of the school to provide for the needs of those who apply for admission.  Where the school lacks the necessary resources to meet the needs of any applicant, it will make every effort to secure those resources.  In cases where the resources cannot be secured, the school may refuse admission


Management, Teaching and Financial Resources


The school is funded by the Department of Education and is part of the free education scheme.  The school is staffed in accordance with the standard pupil/teacher ratios sanctioned by the Department of Education and any additional teaching hours sanctioned by the Department of Education in respect of curricular concessions, special needs and special programmes.  The school operates within the regulations laid down by the Department of Education from time to time.


The capacity of the school to implement its desired curriculum, its broad range of educational programmes, its breadth of extra – curricular activities, its school plan and policies are dependent on the resources it receives.  Consequently, in determining its activities and programmes for any year, the school must have due regard to the teaching, management, administrative resources, accommodation, equipment and funding available to it.



Parents are kept up-to-date on information regarding important school activity through the web site, information bulletins, texting and vs-ware.




The school offers a broad curriculum, designed to meet the needs of a wide range of abilities and aptitudes.  The detail of the school curriculum is set out in the prospectus, a copy of which is given to all who apply for admission. The curriculum is subject to change from time to time.  The school also endeavours to provide a wide range of extra-curricular activities.  The detail can be followed on the school website.  




The objectives of this policy statement are to clearly define


  • The procedures to be followed by parents/guardians when applying for the admission of a child to the school:


  • Transfer from primary to post primary school
  • Transfer from another post-primary school
  • Seeking admission to a particular programme like TY, LCA.


  • To define criteria to be applied when considering applications in the event that the number of applications exceeds the number of places available


  • To clearly define the means by which enrolment decisions may be appealed to the local school management and/or to the Department of Education


Application Procedures, Enrolment Criteria and Decision/Appeal


Application Procedures into First Year.


November / December:

All feeder National Schools in the catchment area are visited.  Fifth and sixth class pupils are given information about the school as well as information about Induction and Open Evenings

The Open Evening takes place during the Autumn Term and is followed by the Entrance Assessment.  Notice of the Open Evening and Entrance Assessment is given in the local press and radio as well as visits by the Principal to all sixth class students in the catchment area. Application Forms are included in the School Prospectus and are available at the Open Evening. These application forms must be returned to the school prior to the Entrance Examination. The Entrance Assessment serves to determine the needs of the students and the school’s capacity to meet the needs.  It is not used to determine admission.


Application Forms and the opportunity to sit the entrance assessment will be considered up to mid January each year or until the school has reached capacity.   After the entrance assessment, places are made available for September on a first come, first served basis.  Acceptance of the place is complete when the parents return the signed tear-off slip which accompanies the letter offering a place.


February / March


Discussion with National Schools and Parents about special needs, which is on-going from the start, intensifies.  Any refusal for admission is based on the schools ability to meet the needs of the applicant.


Students will be accepted into Archbishop McHale College from all backgrounds, as well as those from minority groups.  If a situation arises where the school receives more enrolments than it can cater for, the following will apply:


  • Priority will be given to pupils living in the catchment area and attending National schools in the catchment area
  • Students living in the catchment area and attending a National School outside the catchment area will also be given priority
  • Priority will also be given to brothers and sisters of pupils from the catchment area already enrolled in the school.


If more students enrol from the catchment area than the school can cater for, then the following will apply:


  • Priority will be given to brothers and sisters attending the school
  • Lottery


All students entering the school in First Year must be 12 years of age on or before September 1st of the year of admission.

In the interest of Health and Safety enrolment is capped at 38 students in First Year until we have the fully functioning new school.


September       All students in attendance on September 1st are considered ‘registered’.  Once the school term has commenced, all applications for enrolment will be dealt with in the context of ‘Transfers During a Term’ 


Acceptance of a place in this school implies acceptance of the school’s Code of Behaviour.


Applications from Outside the Catchment Area:  First Year


Archbishop McHale College welcomes students from outside the catchment area provided they can be accommodated. The procedure is as follows:


  1. Application Form must be completed
  2. Interview with parents and student
  • Reference from the previous school must be submitted
  1. Evidence of the attendance record must be submitted
  2. Full disclosure of all relevant information is essential
  3. A behaviour record from the previous school must be submitted
  • Receipt of written assurance regarding full compliance with school rules and

        regulations is essential

  • Overall capacity of the school to meet the educational needs of the students will

    be considered.

  1. Class size will be considered



  1. Capacity of the school to deliver programmes that adequately prepare students for public examinations


All applications must be submitted with full documentation to the Principal.  Failure to complete the documentation as listed above or to supply relevant information requested by the school may result in the applicant being refused admission to the school.


 If students cannot be accommodated in individual classes because of class size issues, they will be immediately informed and the process will be terminated.


Transfers During A Term


A transfer is only considered where all the following conditions are met:


  • All information as outlined above are met (Applications from Outside the Catchment Area: First Year)
  • The applicant’s presence is unlikely to adversely affect the education of the students already enrolled at Archbishop McHale College
  • The applicant has no previous history of substance abuse or the distribution of such substances
  • The applicant has not previously, in a serious manner hindered the educational progress of other students. i.e. persistently interfered with teaching and learning or infringed the rights of others to proper educational provision.
  • The subjects available are suitable to the applicant
  • There is sufficient space in the class, using maximum class size directives.


Students will be asked to provide details of their educational performance, behaviour and school attendance in their previous school.  Where an applicant has attended more than one second level school they will be asked to submit reports from each school.  Where no such reports are supplied, the application cannot go ahead.


Class size and subject choice will also be taken into consideration for students transferring or repeating a year to ensure consistency in the curriculum being studied.  If all information concerning the student is not supplied, the application is considered invalid.


We do not accept transfers into Junior Cert Year because of (x) above.   


Selection Criteria

The following will apply when considering applications:


  • The capacity of the school to cater for the applicant’s needs … subject choice and class size
  • The behaviour record of a student in their previous school
  • The attendance record of a student in their previous school


Admission to Senior Cycle


We accept new students into Senior Cycle: Leaving Cert, Leaving Cert Applied and Transition Year.  Notice of these courses, as well as PLC Courses, is given in the local press and radio.  Admission is limited, under Health and Safety, to the limits on numbers, imposed by the maximum class size directive for practical subjects.


All procedures as outlined above apply. (Applications from Outside the Catchment Area:  First Year).  The Board of  Management at Archbishop McHale College does not enrol students who are repeating Fifth Year.   Admission to Senior Cycle for students who did not sit Junior Cert at Archbishop McHale College is achieved through individual interview.   Admission  to  TY is by individual interview.  Admission to LCA is by individual interview and requires a record of attendance in Junior Cycle that is close to 90%.  


The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment to any student in exceptional cases, such an exceptional case could arise where either:


  • The student has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from the Department of Education and Science, the school cannot meet such needs and / or provide the student with an appropriate education.


  • In the opinion of the Board of Management the student poses an unacceptable risk to other students, to school staff and school property.


  • Our ability, under Health and Safety, to provide a place in the class.  The maximum class size directive required by practical subjects is a constraint on admissions.


Admission to Specific Programmes and Subjects.


Autism  Students are admitted to this class based on referrals from SENO, Educational Psychologists and other appropriate agencies


Students with Special Needs


It is the policy of  the school to identify the specific needs of each student.  Parents/ guardians will be required to provide all relevant reports and assessments to the school.  This information is required to:


  • Ensure that the most appropriate education is planned and provided for the student.
  • To access appropriate supports and resources from all appropriate agencies as well as The Department of Education.


Enrolment of students is contingent upon securing resources.  It may be necessary to defer admission of the student until such resources, deemed necessary, are put in place.


Decision Making Process Regarding Entry


This is a matter for the Board of Management but is delegated to the Principal, who decides such matters in accordance with the school’s Admissions Policy.  The Principal may refer any application to the Board for decision.


Right of Appeal


Where students are refused admission to the school or to a specific programme within the school, they have the right to appeal the decision to the Board of Management  see Section 29 Education Act 1998.





Review and Evaluation of This Policy


The implementation, monitoring and review of this policy will be done by senior management, in conjunction with staff, parents and the Board of Management on an on-going basis.  It is envisaged that the policy would be reviewed on a formal basis three years after the formal adoption date.


This policy will be reviewed by April 2018.