Limerick mother says daughter will miss school due to lack of spaces

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Katsiaryna Kurylo with her daughter Anna-Maria Jelisejeva.

A LIMERICK mother says she will be left with no option but to take her child out of school for a year because the little girl has been turned down for a place in three local secondary schools.

Dooradoyle mother Katsiaryna Kurylo, told the Limerick Post she cannot drive her daughter, Anna-Maria Jelisejeva into the city to Coláiste Nano Nagle, where she has been offered a place, because of her own work commitments.

All of Anna-Maria’s classmates have been given places in the schools of their choice – Crescent College, Mungret and Croom secondary schools – but Katsiaryna was told all three are oversubscribed.

“I am a lone parent and I cannot drive into the city because I start work at 8am. She is very scared of going to a school where she does not know anyone or have any friends, particularly if she has to use public transport. She gets very anxious. She just can’t do it,” Katsiaryna said.

“She cries and cries because all her friends have school places and she cannot go with them. I don’t understand why my daughter was left out when all her classmates have places in these schools.”

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Katsiaryna can produce glowing references from Anna-Maria’s teacher at St Paul’s Primary School, where she has been enrolled for more than four years.

“She is a good student and regularly gets 100 per cent on her tests. She is quiet and never causes any trouble.

“If she could get a place in some of the other schools, her friends are going there and I could probably organise a lift for her or she could walk to two of them as part of a group when the weather is good. But I have another daughter and a full time job with no family support, I just can’t go driving to the opposite side if the city from my job,” said Katsiaryna

Katsiaryna looked at sending her daughter to a private school but found she couldn’t afford the fees.

“The schools she chose are the schools that serve this area, where we live permanently. Why is she the only one who has not been offered a place. I will have no choice but to keep her out of school next year and I know I could be prosecuted for that but I don’t know what else I can do.

“Also, I believe, this automatically will bring my second child out of the area for the secondary school choice in future.

The family appealed the school’s decision, as is allowed but were refused again, A spokesperson for the Department of Education said that school applications are handled by the Limerick Education Centre.

“Whilst this administrative system ensures that a co-ordinated approach can be taken to enrolment processes in the area, each school authority involved in the Limerick Common Application System has, in accordance with the Admission to Schools Act, 2018, autonomy in relation to its own enrolment policy and the specific selection criteria it applies. ”

“In schools where there are more applicants than places available, a selection process will be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. Nonetheless, where a school is oversubscribed some pupils may not obtain a place in the school.”

The spokesperson said that if parents are not successful in getting a place for their child, they should consult TUSLA’s Education Support Services.