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Unchristian attitude in refusing school admission

The unchristian actions and attitude of the lay principal of a so-called Catholic-ethos school in refusing admission to his school of a teenage mother beggars belief.

The idea that the principal of a State-funded institution could also be the owner, patron and founder gives rise to major accountability questions, such as how any appeal system can be independent. I also wonder by what right it can claimed to be a Catholic-ethos school?

Last year I wrote to the relevant bishop asking for a list of Catholic secondary schools in the area that I could approach for enrolment of my two girls. I then wrote to these schools asking for enrolment criteria and after repeated requests I got the information I wanted. I found the information very inadequate and wrote a submission to the Department of Education consultation on admission procedures.

My hope is that in the case of the present finding of the Ombudsman for Children the relevant bishop will make clear Catholic understanding in terms of support for children such as this unfortunate mother.

Before my retirement as principal of an English Catholic college it was my responsibility alongside governors to ensure that special consideration be given to teenage mothers and diocesan trustees would have ensured that we fulfilled this aspect of our Catholic ethos.

Alan Whelan


Co Kerry


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