Limerick boy sent nine refusal letters was ‘only child in his class’ not to receive offer

Jess Casey

Reporter:

Jess Casey

Boy 'should not have been refused': Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan

Boy 'should not have been refused': Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan

A 12-YEAR old Limerick student received nine rejection letters from secondary schools, including his first choice school that he can “literally see from his front door”.

The Minister for Education was asked to intervene in one Limerick family’s case after it emerged a young boy received a rejection letter through his postbox from each of the nine schools he applied to through the common application system (CAS).

“No young child should ever get nine rejection letters and no offer of a place and be left to search frantically for a solution,” Sinn Fein Deputy Maurice Quinlivan said.

The child in question submitted his application for a secondary school place just “like all his friends”, he added.

“He was the only child in his class who did not receive a school place acceptance letter.

“He was very distraught and did not know what to tell his friends when they asked him what school place he had received.” 

“He could not answer because he had been offered no school place.” 

“The rejection letters received included the child's first choice school, which his family can literally see from the front door of his house.”

“I know that well, because I know the family and know exactly where they live and I know the school in question. The primary school he attends is a feeder school of that school, so he should not have been refused.” 

As well as the nine rejection letters, the student also received another letter asking him to apply to two more schools; one of these schools is 30km away from his home and the other 27km. 

It is understood that while the young student has been offered a place in a suitable secondary school in recent days, there are other children in Limerick who are currently in a similar situation.

“Finishing primary school and going into secondary school should be an exciting time for children. It should not be as stressful as it has been for this child,” Deputy Quinlivan added.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Quinlivan said he believes CAS usually works well in Limerick but that changes need to be made so this situation does not happen again. 

“I appreciate that not every child will be accepted into his or her first choice school, but to receive nine rejection letters and no offer of a place in secondary school is disgraceful and should never be allowed to happen again,” Deputy Quinlivan told the Minister for Education Joe McHugh.

Minister McHugh said the department is open to improving the CAS system.

“The transition from primary school to secondary school is hard enough in itself,” he said, adding that he would follow up on the case directly with his officials.