Many Catholic schools look like they will be unable to prioritise enrollments for Catholic children if Richard Bruton’s plans go ahead. According to the Irish Independent today, the so-called ‘baptism barrier’ “allows Church-run schools to give priority admission to pupils baptised in their faith – for which they have legal protection under the Equal Status Act.” It appears that the legislation to allow this to happen will be forthcoming soon. However, it does allow other denominational schools (about 6.5% of all schools) to continue to prioritise pupils from particular faith backgrounds.
The second initiative surrounds the concept of divestment. Media reports suggest that 10 schools have technically been divested since 2011, but the actual figure is closer to 1. In any case, the ETBI (who interestingly have an interest in divesting schools to their own patronage) are being asked to survey parents as to the type of schooling they would like in their area.