Northern Ireland

School admissions help body announced by minister

Caitriona Ruane
Image caption Caitriona Ruane said the ECB will consider evidence presented by parents

A new body has been set up to help children turned down by secondary or grammar schools.

The Exceptional Circumstances Board will deal with vulnerable or traumatised children.

It will consider individual and exceptional cases for admission to specific schools.

The education minister Caitriona Ruane said the ECB will be an independent body which will consider evidence presented by parents.

But this will be only after they have applied directly to the school in question.

The minister said that the body "provides a mechanism that has never existed in our education system before".

"It will be able to consider those rare cases, usually relating to very vulnerable or traumatised children, that the existing admissions process could not deal with sensitively due to the constraints of the legislation.

"The service is available to those seeking admission to years eight to 12," she said.

The body is separate from the Appeals Tribunal, used when parents believe a school is wrong in the way it applied its admissions criteria.

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