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Admissions and Participation Policy
























Admissions and Participation Policy






March 2019


Dominican Campus, Ratoath Road, Cabra, Dublin 7.

Tel: 8385326 ,  Fax: 8688909, 









CasaCaterinaSpecialSchoolis a Roman Catholic, co-educational school under the

Patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin and the Trusteeship of Le Cheile, with a Dominican Ethos.


As a Roman Catholic school, it aims at promoting the full harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including

a living relationship with God and other people.  The school models and promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

The school provides Religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic Faith.


(Schedule for Catholic Schools from Deed of Variation)



Bearing in mind the Catholic ethos of the school, every effort will be made to make the school as inclusive as possible.  While Catholic education and the ethos of the school permeate the day, pupils of other faiths or none will not be required to attend formal religious instruction nor to attend any specifically Catholic liturgies.  As far as possible, suitable alternative arrangements will be made in order to facilitate this. It will not be possible however, to provide religious instruction in other faiths.



The school operates under the Rules for National Schools and Department of Education and Science circulars and is funded by grants.  Staff are resourced by the Department

of Education and Science.



The school is subject to The Education Act (1998), The Education Welfare Act  (2000),

The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (2004), The Equal Status Act (2000) employment law and all other relevant legislation.



Casa Caterina follows the curricular programmes laid down by the Department of Education and Skills amended in order to provide an appropriate education for each pupil.



Criteria for Admission



The Admissions and Participation Policy has been formulated in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998 in order to assist parents and referral agencies.


The Chairperson of the Board of Management or the Principal will be happy to clarify any further questions arising from the policy.




Casa Caterina caters for children with special needs who satisfy the following criteria;



  • Children with severe emotional / behavioural difficulties whose

      cognitive functioning is of borderline general learning difficulties or above.



  • Children on the autistic Spectrum with cognitive functioning of mild general

      learning difficulties or above – priority will be given to applicants of borderline                                learning difficulties or above.



Additional criteria include the following;


  • The child must be of primary school age: it is preferable that the child’s age is such that there is a possibility of   a  2 year period of attendance at Casa Caterina, prior to moving into post-primary education, in order to optimise the development of the child. Children will be enrolled for a 2 year period, with the option to extend that period by a year in exceptional circumstances, with the aim of returning to mainstream primary education. Pupils who apply to extend enrolment must have up-to-date supporting documentation from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. Effectively, this means that children who are in 5th and 6th classes will not be accepted as new applicants.
  • Children with SEBD should be supported by CAMHS or their local School Age Teams. Children with ASD should be supported by and attend their local ASD service.
  • New pupils should attend for a reduced day for approximately one month to help acclimatise to the new school. This reduced attendance will be incrementally increased as pupils become more familiar with the school.



  • The National Council for Special Education requires the following;


  • Professional diagnosis of severe emotional and behaviour disorder




  • Professional diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder




  • § Application from an agency or a school – a parental application on its

      own is not sufficient.


  • § Recommendation by a Professional that aSpecialSchoolis the most  

   appropriate setting for the education of child.


  • § A recommendation for SNA support in a special school setting.


  • § An assessment of cognitive functioning carried out within the last two years.





Application Procedure


Applications for placement are considered on receipt of;


  • Letter of request for admission to the school.  This letter can be written by the       parents/guardians or a referral agency.  In the case of a referral agency, parental consent must be obtained prior to referral.
  • Appropriate reports such as;


  • Up to date psychiatric assessment
  • Up to date psychological assessment, including a psychometric assessment
  • Up to date speech and language assessment
  • Up to date occupational assessment
  • Social Work report
  • Recent school / pre-school report

Please note these reports must be less than 2 years old.


Following receipt of the letter of application and the appropriate reports, the Admission and Participation Sub-Committee of the Board of Management will consider the application.





  • Children who qualify under the outlined criteria will be enrolled on application provided that there is a vacancy.


  • Where possible enrolment should take place at the beginning of the school year.

      In exceptional cases, consideration will be given to a child during the school year


  • Decisions in relation to enrolment are made by the Board of Management.


  • Parents will be informed of acceptance of the child as soon as possible but not later than 20 days after application.


  • No pupil is refused admission for reasons of gender, family status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.


  • The completion of the application or the placement of a child’s name on a waiting list, however early, does not confer an automatic right to a place in the school.
  • Children who are offered a place have 2 weeks in which to accept it, before it is offered to someone else.
  • Children who have not returned to school within 14 days of each academic new year, without having first notified the school, will be removed from the register




In the event of the number of children, seeking enrolment exceeding the number of places the following criteria will be used to prioritise children for enrolment;


  • A pupil who lives within 5 km of the school.
  • Urgency of enrolment.
  • Applications in order of application date.



Exceptional Circumstances


The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment to a pupil in exceptional cases. 

Such an exceptional case could arise where either:


  • The pupil 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 pupil with an appropriate education;
  • The members of the Board of Management are reasonably clear from reports, that the pupil poses an unacceptable risk to self or other pupils / to school staff or to school property;
  • A pupil has been expelled from his/her previous school and cannot demonstrate that appropriate interventions have taken place and/or that there is ongoing support available to the school from and external agency such as CAMHS.
  • If the school has not managed to recruit its complement of teachers at the beginning of the school year, enrolment may be deferred in the interest of the health and safety of the school community and to prioritise the learning of the school's existing pupils.




   Enrolling a pupil


When a child fulfils the criteria and there is a vacancy in the school, the Principal will inform the referral agency and the parents /guardians in writing within 20 days. 

The parents/guardians will then be invited to a meeting in the school with the child to make arrangements for enrolment.


At this meeting, the Principal will give the parents/guardians a copy of the Code of Behaviour and explain the rules of the school.  The Principal will also recommend that the pupil with the parent/guardian engage, or continue their engagement with the clinic on a regular basis.   

This is to ensure input from the clinical team so that the pupil can become available for learning thus enabling the school to provide an appropriate education.


It is recommended that new students attend for a reduced day when they first attend Casa Caterina to allow them to become accustomed to the new routine and the school. This will be gradually increased every week until your child is able to manage the fully school day.


Appeals Procedure


In line with Section 28 of the Education Act 1998, parents who are dissatisfied with an enrolment decision, may appeal to the Board of Management. This appeal must be addressed, in writing, to the Chairperson of the Board of Management, stating the grounds for the appeal and lodged within 10 days of receiving the refusal letter.


Parents, if unhappy with the result of this appeal, may appeal to the Department of Education and Skills under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 on the official form provided by the Department.  Appeal forms are available form the Principal or on line.  This appeal must be lodged within 42 days of receipt of the refusal from the school to enroll the child.




Signed: …………………………………..


Chairperson Board of Management


Ratified by B.O.M.  –


Ratified by Staff -    


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