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Loreto Admissions Policy

Introduction

The following enrolment policy is intended to provide assistance and information for parents / guardians who wish to enrol a pupil in the above school. This enrolment policy is drawn up by School Management in accordance with provisions of the Education Act, 1998, Section 15, 2 (d).

Further information and/or clarification may be obtained by contacting the Principal Mrs Mary Ryan or Deputy Principal Mrs. Marie Holt.

Loreto Secondary School Fermoy is an all-girls Catholic voluntary secondary school run under the auspices of the Loreto Trust Board.

Ethos

Loreto Secondary School Fermoy is a girls’ Catholic   school.   Its ethos is derived from Mary Ward’s vision of education, which is grounded in Catholic Faith and Gospel Values.   The school seeks to support the development of this Faith and to promote the inculcation of these values in the individual pupil. The Catholic Faith is at the centre of the school’s philosophy.   Religious Education is timetabled for all classes and while students of other faiths and those of none are welcomed as pupils in the school, it is not possible to provide alternative Religious Education nor is it possible to provide an alternative to such classes.

The seasons of the Church’s calendar are marked during the school year; for example, Advent, Lent and specific feast days are duly integrated in the life of the school. Morning Prayer is recited over the intercom each morning. A Mass is celebrated to mark the first term of the School Year. There is a Leaving Cert Graduation Mass and a Mass for 1st Year Parents.  A priest from a neighbouring parish is appointed to act as ordained Chaplain to the school.

The ideal which we set before ourselves is that our school community should be permeated by a sense of Christian joy.  We seek to promote justice and integrity, tolerance and mutual care.

The School Programme

The school follows the curricular programmes prescribed by the Department of Education and Science.     These programmes may occasionally be amended in accordance with Sections 9 and 30 of the Education Act (1998).

The Junior Cycle Programme is taught in the first three years of the school.   The subjects taught are Religion, Irish, English, Maths, German, French, History, Geography, Science, Technology, Home Economics, Music, Art, C.S.P.E., S.P.H.E., Business Studies and Typewriting.

All classes are mixed ability in 1st Year with withdrawal facilities for those requiring special tuition. Pupils who present learning difficulties in the entrance assessment are offered re-testing, through which specific learning difficulties may be identified and support-learning strategies can then be tailored to the specific needs of individual students.

In 2nd and 3rd Year Maths classes are streamed and in 3rd Year Irish classes are banded.

Pupils take the full range of subjects in 1st year and at the end of 1st Year they make subject choices, thus reducing their subjects for 2nd and 3rd Year.

Leaving Cert Applied is offered, as is the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme.

Transition Year is optional, but pupils are encouraged to take this option if in the opinion of their teachers they would benefit from it.

The subjects available for the Senior Cycle are: Religion, P.E., Irish, English, French, German, Business, Economics, Accounting, Social and Scientific, History, Geography, Music, Art, Applied Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technology. Leaving Certificate Applied and Leaving Certificate Vocational Preparation Programmes are also offered.

School funding depends on the grants and resources provided by the Department of Education and Science; school policy must therefore have regard in all areas to the availability of these.

Philosophy of Admissions

Having due regard to the parameters of DES regulations and programmes, the rights of the Trustees as set out in the Education Act of 1998, the Religious and Educational Philosophy of the Loreto Sisters and the funding and resources available, the Board of Management supports the principles of:

  • Inclusiveness of those with disabilities or special needs.
  • Equality of access and participation in the school.
  • Parental choice with regard to enrolments.
  • Respect for diversity of traditions, values, beliefs, languages and ways of life in society.

Management

This School is under the Trusteeship of the Loreto Order of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The school is managed by a Board of Management. The Board of Management is appointed by the Loreto Trust Board.  It is made up of four nominees of the Loreto Trust Board; two parents of current pupils nominated and elected by the parents of current pupils of the school; two members of the teaching staff nominated and elected by the teaching staff. The Chairperson of the Board is appointed by the Loreto Trust Board from among the eight nominees. The Principal is the Secretary of the Board of Management. The Principal is Mrs Mary Ryan and the Deputy Principal is Mrs. Marie Holt.

The present Board took office on 15th October 2009 and will remain in place for 3 years. The Chairperson of the Board is Mrs. Evelyn Sheehan. The other members of this Board are Mr. David Cliffe, Sr. Nuala Reidy I.B.V.M., Mr. Hugh Collins, Mrs. Aileen Ryan, Mr. Pat Granville, Ms. Maria Walsh and Mrs. Jacinta Cotter. The Principal, Mrs. Mary Ryan, is Secretary to the Board.

The Board is entrusted with ensuring that DES regulations and programmes are followed, that the school’s Catholic Ethos and the rights of the Trustees are upheld and that funding and resources are appropriately used.

Representative Associations

The Loreto Fermoy Parents’ Association holds an Annual General Meeting in the first term each year. At this meeting a committee is elected and this committee meets once a month throughout the school year.

The Students’ Representative Council consists of representatives of each class and an Executive Committee of Senior pupils. The Executive Committee is assisted by a teacher and meets once a week. The whole Student Council meets at regular intervals throughout the year. The Principal and Deputy Principal are invited from time to time to attend the Student Executive Council meetings.

Information to Parents of Pupils entering the school in First Year

  • An Open Evening is held each year, normally in early February. This gives parents and guardians of prospective pupils and prospective pupils themselves an opportunity to see the school, to meet teachers and to obtain information about programmes and facilities.
  • Teachers visit local primary schools in November to offer pupils an opportunity to ask questions and to allay any worries they may have about the transition to second level.
  • A meeting for parents of intending pupils is held in May and this is very important for parents as it offers them full information regarding school procedures, orientation day for new pupils, books, code of discipline.

Contact with Parents throughout the school year

  • Parent Teacher Meetings are held once a year for each year group.
  • Reports are sent out at Christmas and in the summer for non-exam classes and at Christmas and Easter for exam classes.
  • Parents are kept informed of school activities through a twice-yearly newsletter and by means of letters sent through pupils in the event of a change in normal school procedure.
  • Parents also have the option of receiving text messages from the school regarding forthcoming events.
  • A School Year Calendar is distributed to pupils in September.

Parents are very welcome to telephone the school or to call if they have a query or if they would like to make an appointment to discuss their daughter’s progress or any problem which they feel she may be encountering.

Admissions Procedure

Parents/ Guardians wishing to enrol a pupil must complete an application form and return it to the office by 4 p.m. on the specified date in the school year preceding the September when the pupil is due to start secondary school.

The Application Form will include the following details:

  • Pupil’s name and address.
  • Names and addresses of Parents / Guardians.
  • Pupil’s date of birth.
  • Contact telephone number of parents / guardians.
  • Religion.
  • Details of any medical condition of which the school should be aware.
  • Name of school previously attended.
  • Any other relevant information.

An Entrance Assessment is held in March. The purpose of this assessment is to facilitate the formation of carefully matched mixed ability classes.

Allocation of Places

Provided that resources are available for the number of pupils seeking to enrol in the school, the Board of Management does not seek to set up a selective entry policy. Should the resources of the school not be adequate for the number of pupils seeking enrolment, as determined by the number of Preliminary Application forms received, the following criteria would be used in the allocation of places.

The following criteria will be applied in the following order:

  • Those pupils living in the designated catchment area, as defined by the School Transport Scheme.
  • Sisters of current pupils.
  • Daughters of existing eligible staff members. Eligible staff is defined as those non-casual employees who have been in the employment of the Board of Management of the school for at least six months and who are reasonably expected to be still employed by the Board at the time their daughter commences in Loreto Secondary School, Fermoy.
  • Sisters and daughters of past-pupils.
  • All other pupils who do not fit into the above categories.

In the event that that the total number of places remaining available in any one of the above categories is less than the number pupils in that category, then the places will be offered in that category on a random basis. The remaining names will be placed on a numbered Waiting List, using the same random process to determine the order of names on this Waiting List. In the event that a place becomes available, through non-acceptance, cancellation or other cause, the place will be offered to parents/guardians on the Waiting List in number order as determined by the random process.

This random process will be overseen by the Principal and will be witnessed by a representative of the Board of Management, a representative of the Parents’ Association and a Peace Commissioner. The name of each student in the relevant category entitled to participate in this random process will be placed in a drum. The Principal will draw names from the drum, one by one, until the drum is empty.  The order in which the names are drawn from the drum will be recorded on a numbered list. Places will be offered in the order in which names are drawn from the drum until available places are filled. The remaining names on the list will be placed on a numbered Waiting List in the order in which the names were drawn from the drum.

The names on any late Application Forms will then be added to the end of the Waiting List in date order of receipt in the office.

Special Needs

  • Where a pupil with a physical disability applies she will be enrolled provided that the school has adequate resources to ensure her safety on the school premises.
  • Where a pupil with a behavioural difficulty applies she will be enrolled provided that the school has adequate resources to ensure her safety, the safety of other pupils and of teachers and the uninterrupted education of other pupils in the year group.
  • Where a pupil with a learning disability applies she will be enrolled provided that the school has adequate resources to provide education commensurate with her needs.

Transfer From Other School

A student who wishes to transfer from another second level school is normally accepted only at the beginning of a new school year, provided that there is a place available in the appropriate Year Group and provided that any students who applied unsuccessfully for a place in this Year Group in First Year have stated that they are no longer seeking a place in the school.  Allowing students to transfer only at the beginning of a school year is intended to facilitate their integration into the school and to avoid interfering with the organization and balance of classes already in existence.  However, in the event of a student’s family moving from another area during the school year, that student may be enrolled, provided that a place is available in the appropriate year and is not sought by a student who has already applied.

A student who has attended another second level school will be required to provide Loreto Secondary School management with:

  • A letter from her previous school informing the management of the above school of awareness that she wishes to transfer from her present school.
  • Full details from the management of her present school of her educational record, attendance record and her behaviour record, including a report on her possible impact on the learning environment for other pupils in the classroom.  The purpose of obtaining such information is to ensure as far as possible her placement in a class situation which is most beneficial for her.

Furthermore, such a pupil’s enrolment is subject to conditions mentioned relative to Special Needs above.

When a pupil is newly enrolled in the school at a time or in a year other than the commencement of First Year responsibility for any groundwork which she may have missed or for differences of approach cannot be accepted by the pupil’s new teachers.  Sections of courses not yet covered in her former school may already have been covered in this school; responsibility for covering such sections must rest with the new pupil herself.

Religious Denomination

As this is a Catholic school, where a shortage of places may occur, preference will be given to pupils of the Catholic Faith. Where no shortage of places exists, difference of religion or profession of none will not be a bar to enrolment. However, it will not be possible to provide an alternative class at the time of Religious Instruction, nor will it be possible to allow any pupil to be removed from the classroom at this period unless supervision is otherwise available. Provision of such supervision would not normally be possible.

Voluntary Subscription

Parents are asked to pay a Voluntary Subscription, or in the case of pupils entering the school for the first time, a registration contribution of, for the school year €70. If the payment of such a contribution would present difficulty, the parents / guardians are asked to inform the principal so that reminders or repeated requests, which might cause embarrassment to either party or both parties, can be avoided. If the designated sum is not possible, any contribution, of no matter what amount, is appreciated and acknowledged

Code of Behaviour

Loreto Secondary School Fermoy has a detailed Code of Behaviour which is on the our Website. It outlines the system of rewards and sanctions which the school operates to promote a climate that facilitates the teaching and learning, which is at the heart of the school’s educational mission.

It also outlines the procedures that are followed if it proves necessary to suspend or exclude a pupil. It further outlines the Appeals Procedure which is available to parents / guardians should they wish to use it.

Prior to registration and admission to the school, the parent (or a student who has reached her 18th birthday) is required, as a condition of such registration and admission, to confirm in writing that (a) the Code of Behaviour is acceptable to them and (b) that they will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the child will comply with the school’s Code of Behaviour. They are expected to support the school in its enforcement.

Resources and Funding

Implementation of the School Plan and School Policy must be undertaken in the light of available resources and funding. The financial and teaching resources of the school are provided by a combination of DES grants, teacher allocations and pupil subventions, of voluntary contributions from parents and guardians and fund raising. Voluntary contributions of €75 are requested in respect of each pupil, or €85 in respect of each family. Such contributions may be modified in cases of particular financial hardship. These contributions are vital for the provision of materials for the enrichment of the education offered by the school; they provide library books, I.T. equipment, subventions for sport, laboratory equipment, sporting equipment, subventions for fees for speakers and visitors to the school and many other items as required by the changing curricular and extra-curricular needs of the school.

Age requirements

Under DES rules a pupil must be aged 12 on the 1st January in the calendar year following the pupil’s entry into 1stYear. The school will require a birth certificate from each pupil. This will be photocopied and returned to the pupil.

School Attendance Requirements

The Education (Welfare) Act requires that the school should keep an exact record of the attendance of each pupil. It further requires the management of the school to obtain from a parent or guardian a written explanation of each absence of each pupil from school. In compliance with this legislation, parents /guardians of pupils in this school are required to supply the management of the school with a note giving the reason for each of a pupil’s absences. This requirement applies to any day or part of a day on which the pupil is not present at class.

Full attendance is earnestly encouraged; even brief absences can hinder academic progress and will certainly place stress upon a pupil who may have missed important class work. Frequent absence is a serious impediment to full integration in the class group.

It is the school policy to acknowledge and affirm excellent attendance records. The Education (Welfare) Act requires the school principal to contact the Education Welfare Officer if a pupil is absent from school on an aggregate total of 20 school days.

Extra Curricular Activities

Extra curricular activities are encouraged and are provided within the limits of the resources of the school. These include Hockey, Ladies’ Football, Camogie, Basketball, Badminton, Soccer, Debating and Public Speaking. These may vary according to demand and resources.

Suspension and Exclusion Policies

The Principal reserves the right to exclude a pupil from a class or classes and to instruct her to go to another class or area within the school for the following reasons:

  • Sustained refusal to comply with a school rule regarding behaviour or uniform.
  • Defiance of a teacher’s instructions.
  • Sustained disruption of a particular class.

The Principal reserves the right to suspend a pupil from the school for the following reasons:

  • Where a pupil physically assaults or verbally abuses any member of the school community.
  • Where a pupil carries out sustained bullying of any member of the school community.
  • Where a pupil’s behaviour constitutes a potential threat to her own health and/or safety and/or the health and/or safety of another pupil or other pupils and/or a teacher or teachers and/or other members of the school community.
  • Where a pupil’s misbehaviour is of such a serious nature that any lesser sanction than suspension might render such behaviour acceptable in the eyes of the student body.
  • Where a pupil’s behaviour, either inside or outside the school premises is such as to bring into serious disrepute the name of the school and thereby the reputation of other pupils of the school.
  • Where a pupil continues, after formal warning to disrupt a class or classes and so infringes upon the rights of other pupils to learn and of a teacher to teach.

In the case of the persistence of any of the above, suspension may be extended and repeated and the Board of Management may exclude the pupil indefinitely from the school.

Appeals Procedure

  • Under Section 28 of the Education Act, 1998, the parent of a student or, in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, may appeal to the BOM against a decision of a teacher or other member of staff of a school.
  • Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, a student who has reached the age of 18 years or the parent may appeal to the Secretary General of the DES:
    • where the Board permanently excludes a student from the school,
    • where a student is suspended for a period of 20 days or more in one school year,
    • where the school refuses to enrol a student.

Such an appeal may only be made following the conclusion of any appeal procedures provided by the school in accordance with (a) above.

  • The appeal to the Department of Education and Science must be made within 42 calendar days from the date that the decision of the Board of Management was notified to the parents/guardians. The Appeals Application Form can be downloaded from the website: www.education.ie or obtained from the school office.
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