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'Baptism Barrier' In Schools To Be Lifted Next Year

Even if your child is just a newborn, you will probably be all too aware of the pressure to get your infant's name down onto a primary school waiting list as soon as possible.
 

Taking into consideration that more than 90% of the country’s primary schools are Catholic, one of the criterias to attend these schools is that your child should be baptised (the so-called “baptism barrier”).

Luckily from September 2019, you may have more choices as Catholic primary schools will be banned from using a baptism certificate to choose pupils for entry.

What Does This Mean?

This means that Catholic schools are not allowed to give preference to children of Catholic faith. It doesn’t matter if your child is baptised or not, if a school has received too many applications, it will no longer be allowed to give enrolment priority to baptised childern. Your child, who may not be baptised, will also be eligible to attend that school.

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Richard Bruton, minister of Education, said the “historic” move aims to balance the rights of non-denominational, Catholic and minority faith families.

“It is unfair that a local child of no religion is passed over in favour of a child of religion, living some distance away, for access to their local school,” he said.

“Parents should not feel pressured to baptise their child to get access to their local school.”

How Many Schools Are Affected?

More than 90% of vast majority primary schools in Ireland are of Catholic ethos. However, minority faiths (about 5% of schools), such as the Church of Ireland, will still be allowed to prioritise members of their religion so that they can protect their ethos if they are overflowing with applications.

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Will My Catholic Child Still Get Into The Local Catholic Primary School?

Even if you’re a committed Catholic, depending on how much children are competing for places, this can mean that your child might not get into your local Catholic primary school. However, the distance you live from school as well as if he/she already has siblings in that school could be important factors that might be taken into consideration.

If you are in fact Church of Ireland, this does not affect your children as Church of Ireland will still be allowed to prioritise school children of their religion.

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How do you feel about the "baptism barrier" that's been lifted? Tell us in the comments below.

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