Parents Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What is the Edmund Rice Schools Trust?

The Edmund Rice Schools Trust is an educational lay trust, established in 2008, with responsibility for the 96 former Christian Brother schools in the Republic of Ireland. It is a company, with charitable status, whose business is conducted by Members, Directors and an Executive team. The primary objective of the Trust is to ensure and foster the advancement of education and to further the aims and purposes of Catholic education in the Edmund Rice tradition, in colleges, schools and other educational projects in Ireland, owned or operated by the Company, in accordance with the religion and education philosophy of the Company, as stated in the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Charter.

What is the Charter?

It is the religious and educational philosophy of the group of schools in the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. It is what the Education Act 1998 terms ‘the characteristic spirit' of the school as determined by the Trustees. It expresses the tradition, heritage, core characteristics and values which characterise the school and which the school seeks to uphold. It is a challenge to every school. It is aspirational. Each school seeks to uphold the Charter and make it real in the school community. It is the norm against which each school community measures its mission, performance and priorities. It is the 5 KEY Elements of an Edmund Rice School. Each individual school might have additional elements. It states the Vision and Mission of Edmund Rice Schools and proclaims the catholic values that the schools uphold. It inspires the school partners in their commitment to Catholic education. It is “subversive” (P. Pinto) and encourages a commitment to national and international networking on behalf of the poor and less fortunate in the world.

What is the Edmund Rice Schools Trust's position on students of different faiths?

The Edmund Rice School is an inclusive school. Admission to the school will be in accordance with the stated Admissions Policy of the school. Before enrolment, students and parents will be made aware of the ethos, philosophy and practices of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust school and will be in a position to decide if the values of the school are compatible with their own beliefs.

What is the Edmund Rice Schools Trust's position of the teaching of Religious Education
and students opting out of RE class?

In Edmund Rice schools Religious Education should be at the heart of the curriculum. The subject should be allocated the correct minimum requirement (in secondary schools this is three periods per week on the timetable and at the very least, the provision of qualified and specialist teachers to teach Religious Education.

Within schools an equitable financial amount should be available for development work in RE. Religious Education should ensure that students are exposed to a broad range of religious traditions and to the non-religious interpretation of life. It has a particular role to play in the curriculum in the promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding. It seeks to develop in students the skills needed to engage in meaningful dialogue with those of other, or of no religious traditions.

However, Edmund Rice schools are entitled to teach the syllabus through the lens of our own religious tradition. The presence of other religious traditions in the Religious Education class is an ideal opportunity for peer teaching. All parents should be aware that their son or daughter will be experiencing the values and ethos of the school in the day to day running of the school, not just in RE class. Some parents, however, do have concerns and may wish to withdraw their child from RE class, as is their constitutional right. A student cannot be required to receive religious education against the wishes of the student's parents or against his or her own wishes once they turn 18 years of age.

However, withdrawal from religion class needs to be negotiated with school management and will hopefully be addressed during an enrolment meeting. Withdrawing students from RE class presents the school with considerable logistical and supervision dilemmas. In cases such as this, a school should make it clear that responsibility for supervision of the student at such times lies with the parent. This is because it may not be practically possible for the school to provide for such alternate supervision of their son or daughter within the Department of Education's staff allocation to the school.

What is the role of the Board of Management and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust with regard
to the Admission Policy?

It is the responsibility of a school's Board of Management to draft their school's Admissions Policy and to ensure it is implemented correctly. The Board of Management should also ensure that it is regularly updated taking into account any legislative changes or Department of Education and Skills guidelines. The Edmund Rice Schools Trust, as Patron, has a role in agreeing to the publication of its schools' Admissions Policies pursuant to Section 15(2)(d) of the Education Act 1998.

How do I apply for admission to an Edmund Rice Schools Trust school for my child?

You must apply directly to your chosen school for admission. A list of Edmund Rice Schools Trust primary and secondary schools can be found here. Every school is obliged, by law, to publish an Admissions Policy which explains in a clear manner how the school allocates places.

As a first step, you should check the school's website to get a copy of the Admissions Policy. If the policy is not available online, contact the school office directly for further details. It is advisable to inform yourself on the admissions procedure relevant to a given school well in advance of the relevant admission date.

In the event that there are too many applicants for the number of places available, the Admissions Policy should set out clearly the criteria the Board of Management will use to allocate places. Most schools update their Admissions Policy annually.

My child has been refused admission to and Edmund Rice Schools Trust school. Can I appeal the
Board of Management's decision to the Edmund Rice Schools Trust?

No, the Edmund Rice Schools Trust does not offer this facility. All decisions relating to the admission of students to Edmund Rice Schools Trust schools rests with our schools' Boards of Management. If your child has been refused admission to an Edmund Rice Schools Trust school, you should first consult the school's Admissions Policy and the section dealing with appeals. It is often the case that a school Board of Management will hear appeals on admissions decisions in the first instance.

It is open to parents / guardians to use this appeals process. Alternatively, parents / guardians (or students who have reached 18 years of age) can appeal a Board of Management's decision on admission directly to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills. This is known as a Section 29 appeal. Such an appeal process is also available to parents / guardians / students who are have reached 18 years of age in relation to Board of Management decisions on expulsion or suspensions where the cumulative period of suspension would amount to 20 school days.

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