Admissions Policy




Heywood Community School was established in 1990 and serves the educational needs of the community of Abbeyleix, Durrow, Ballinakill and surrounding areas.  More specifically this school normally caters for students from the following national schools:  Scoil Mhuire, Abbeyleix; South School, Abbeyleix;  St. Pius N.S., Ballacolla;  Ballinakill N.S.;  Ballyroan Boys N.S.;  Ballyroan Girls N.S.;  Clough N.S.;  Cullohill N.S.;  Our Lady’s Meadow N.S., (Durrow)  Knock N.S.;  Tobar an Léinn, Raheen;  Shanahoe N.S.; Swan N.S.; Lisdowney N.S.;  Ballyragget Girls N.S.;  Ballyragget Boys N.S.

Mission Statement


Heywood Community School provides an educational setting in which the person is encouraged to grow at every level – personally, academically, spiritually, socially and culturally.

Heywood Community School is a second-level co-educational community school established under the joint Trusteeship of the Brigidine and Salesian Orders and the Laois Vocational Educational Committee. Its mandate is set out in the Deed of Trust for the school as follows.

“The School shall be established with the object of providing a comprehensive system of post-primary education open to all the children of the community, combining instruction in academic and practical subjects and ongoing education for  persons living at or near Abbeyleix/Ballinakill/Durrow and generally for the purpose of contributing towards the spiritual, moral, mental and physical well-being and development of the said community”


The ethos of the school, as befitting its origins, is one where Christian values predominate whilst maintaining a deep respect for the diversity of traditions, values and beliefs found in the wider community.

The Trustees and Board of Management of Heywood Community School in formulating this admissions policy have shown due regard to current educational legislation, in particular the Education Act 1998, the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Equal Status Act 2000.  In keeping with  the above  mentioned legislation, this Admissions Policy ensures that the school supports the principle of equality for all students regarding access to and participation in the school by:


  •  Respecting the diversity of traditions, values, beliefs, languages and ways of life in society.
  •  Acknowledging the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents’ choice, subject to the resources available to the school, including classroom accommodation, class size, teaching resources, financial resources and subject to the capacity of the school to provide for the needs of those who apply for admission.


Where the school lacks the necessary resources to meet the needs of any applicant or student, it will make every effort to secure those resources.  Where the resources cannot be secured, the school may refuse admission.


Heywood Community School is funded by the Department of Education & Science and is staffed in accordance with the standard pupil-teacher ratios sanctioned by the Department in respect of curricular concessions, special needs, special programmes etc.  The school operates within the regulations laid down by the Department from time to time.

The school follows the curricular programmes prescribed by the Department of Education and Science which may be amended from time to time, in accordance with Section 9 and 30 of the Education Act 1998.

The capacity of the school to implement its desired curriculum, its broad range of educational programmes, its breadth of extra curricular activities, its school plan and policies are dependent on the resources it receives. Consequently, in determining its enrolment,  activities and programmes for any school year, the school must have due regard to the teaching, management and administrative resources and the accommodation, equipment and funding available to it.  This is established by the overall size of the school sanctioned by the D.E.S. and the Enrolment Policy of the Board of Management.

In order to provide better for the needs of students, all parents pay an administration/enrolment contribution/fee each year. The amount is determined by the Board of Management in consultation with the Parents’ Association on a regular basis.  Among other items, this money is used for: photocopying, in-school exams administration, assessment tests, stationery and bus insurance. In addition, a fee for personal accident insurance may be paid by parents for their son/daughter. This insurance is optional.

From time to time, the senior management and the Parents Association may, with the permission of the Board of Management, engage in fundraising activities for specified development projects within the school which are not resourced or only resourced in part by the D.E.S.


The Board of Management, consisting of three nominees of the Religious Orders, three nominees of County Laois V. E. C., two parent nominees and two teacher nominees, is responsible for the running of the school in accordance with the Deeds of Trust and section 15(1) of the Education Act 1998.  The Principal is Secretary to the Board and is a non-voting member. A list of current board members is outlined in Appendix 1.



School Organisation

  1. The Parents Association consists of elected representatives of parents of students in the school.  The Association provides a valuable source of communication, is involved in policy formulation and has contributed greatly to the development of facilities in the school.
  2. Parent/Teacher Meetings are held and parents are notified of same. Parents are invited to make appointments with tutor or teachers as the need arises.


Heywood Community School, through its prefect system, has had a student representative body since 1990. The prefects/students council now operates in accordance with Section 27 of the Education Act 1998.


  • The working day (Monday-Thursday) extends from 8.50 a.m. to 3.40 p.m. with a short break at 11.00 a.m. to 11.10 a.m.  Lunch break is from 1.00 p.m.  to 1.40 p.m.  Friday extends from 8.50 a.m. to 1.50 p.m. with one short break at 11.00 a.m. to 11.10 a.m. Students are not permitted to leave school grounds during break times.
  • A school calendar is produced and circulated to parents at the commencement of each academic year.
  • Dress Code. Students are required to wear the school uniform, details of which are available from the school office.

Curriculum Provision in Heywood Community School

Heywood Community School offers a comprehensive range of academic and   practical subjects so as to provide its students with a full range of learning experiences.  It is the policy of Heywood Community School to keep pace with curricular innovations and to adopt those changes, which apply to the subjects taught in our school.  The details of the curriculum on offer are set out each year in the separate Information Booklet/ Prospectus which is distributed to all who apply for admission and which is available from the school on request.  The curriculum is subject to change from time to time either due to changes indicated by the D.E.S., or due to change in the financial and staffing resources available to the school. The school also endeavours to provide a wide range of extra-curricular activities.  Those on offer each year are set out in the relevant Information Booklet/Prospectus.  The provision of these activities is subject to a range of factors and the list of activities is subject to change from time to time.


Junior Cycle Curriculum

On entering secondary education, students follow a three-year cycle to the Junior Certificate.



Senior Cycle

On completion of the Junior Certificate Programme, students may apply for participation in the Transition Year Programme or proceed directly to the Leaving Certificate Programme.  The Leaving Certificate is a two-year programme.  Students follow seven subjects for the Leaving Certificate examinations.  In addition to this traditional Leaving Certificate Programme, students may also follow the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme.


Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme

The LCVP is a programme which links selected subjects with the world of work and Enterprise. It is taught
via Link Modules:


  • Preparation for the world of work.
  • Enterprise Education.


The programme is designed to foster a spirit of enterprise and initiative. All students follow the Link Modules in 5th year. Those students who qualify for the course take the modules in addition to the Leaving Certificate.  Students who are sitting five (5) honours subjects or more may be exempt from following the Link Modules course in Leaving Certificate year. The course in highly respected by employers.



Assessment of students occurs on an ongoing basis through the medium of regular class assessment tests, end-of-term and end-of-year exams. Comprehensive progress reports are issued to parents four times a year.

Regular meetings of Heads of Departments, Deputy Principal and Principal are held to review and evaluate assessment policy. This review includes assessment procedures, record-keeping, reporting, resources, rewards and awards for achievement.

In the allocation of students to classes, account is taken of the standard achieved in terms of grades by students.

Students’ progress in each year group is also reviewed through weekly Year Heads/Pastoral Care meetings.

Procedures for application for enrolment

In the interests of Health & Safety, the Board of Management restricts the overall enrolment of Heywood Community School to between 630 – 660 students.

Procedure For First Year Admissions/ Enrolments.

  • An “Open Night” for parents and their 6th class child takes place each school year in November/ December.
  • Primary schools in the transport catchment area of Heywood Community School are visited in January of the year of enrolment. Application forms, transport forms, the school’s Code of Behaviour and  prospectus  are distributed during the visitation.
  • Parents/Guardians of applicants are then invited to attend an information meeting where application procedures, the curriculum, school rules and ethos are outlined. Time is allocated before and after this meeting, for accepting applications for enrolment.  All applications should be made not later than the Saturday of the Aptitude Tests (early February).
  • The application form, firstly, requires parents/guardians to submit information concerning the applicant student’s name, date of birth, address, contact numbers in case of emergency, name of previous school attended, information regarding name, etc. of parent(s)/guardian(s), name of family doctor, details about relevant known medical condition(s), etc.
  • Secondly, the form requires a signed declaration stating that both the student(s) and the parents/ guardians agree to accept the terms of the school’s Code of Behaviour and the school’s right to promote good behaviour and to deal with indiscipline in accordance with the properly agreed Code of Behaviour.
  • A Subject Preference form will be distributed on the Information Night.  Prospective students will be required to indicate their preferred optional subjects as covered in the school’s Junior Cycle programme.  The school will try to accommodate these requests, but constraints in relation to staffing resources and class size regulations agreed by the Department of Education & Science will lead to limits being applied.  Where demand exceeds the number of places available in the school, students will be allocated at random.
  • Application forms, duly completed, should normally be returned on the Information Night or by the date specified on the form itself. The completed form should be accompanied by a birth certificate and the appropriate administration contribution/fee.
  • An aptitude test is held in February to help assess pupils’ academic attainments and potential.
  • Classes are arranged on a mixed ability basis in 1st year.  From 2nd year onwards classes are streamed for Irish, English and Mathematics.  Grades are used in all years to determine the level at which a student will study a subject.


Entry Requirements

Enrolment is open to all students who satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Age: The applicant must have reached the age of 12 years by the 1st January of the year preceding entry into Heywood Community School. (A Birth Cert must be presented).
  2. Primary education must be completed.
  3. Acceptance of our school’s “Code of Behaviour.”
  4. All students undertake to follow the prescribed curriculum.  Science is a compulsory subject for all Junior Level classes.  For health and safety reasons – Science class groups will not exceed twenty-four (24) students.  The maximum number of students in any one Junior Year will be determined by the number of Science classes of 24 in that year.


Parents of applicants will be notified within 21 days of the parents having provided the required information to the school.  The Principal, subject to the approval of the Board of Management, will decide on the admission of the applicant.  For the most part, it is envisaged that enrolment on application will be automatic. Where the number of applicants exceeds the number of places, available places will be allocated according to the following criteria:


  • Preference will be given to students where home address is within the school’s designated transport catchment area. (i.e. Primary schools listed above)


Any remaining places will be allocated to:

  • Siblings of current students where all the older members of the family have attended, or are attending our school.
  • Children of staff of Heywood C.S. and or of B.O.M. of Heywood C.S.
  • Other Schools by tradition:
    Wolfhill N.S., Ratheniska N.S., Timahoe N.S., Cosby N.S. – applicants from these schools must reside within the immediate vicinity of the school.
  • Children of past pupils
  • A lottery will apply to all other available places.

Parents/guardians whose children have been offered a place in Heywood Community School must confirm their acceptance within 14 days of date of offer.


Special Educational Needs

The Board of Management is supportive of the principle of inclusiveness, in particular in regard to students with a disability or other special educational needs in so far as is reasonably practicable and subject to the resources provided by the Department of Education and Science.

We acknowledge that within our school population there are students who have special educational needs.  Our special needs policy applies to gifted students, disadvantaged students, students with learning difficulties and students with physical and other disabilities.

Parents/guardians of prospective students with special needs are advised to contact the school separately in writing in relation to the general/specific educational needs of the student involved.   This involves informing the school of the need, the resources previously received from the D.E.S. and if possible, submitting copies of the various relevant items of correspondence with the D.E.S., psychologists, etc. to the school. Heywood Community School requires students’ records from primary or previous schools.  The school will use this information in its application to the Department of Education & Science for additional resources to support students with special educational needs.

The school (e.g. the Principal/Deputy Principal/Special Needs Co-ordinator) will work with parents to discuss the child’s needs and the school’s capability to meet the child’s needs.

The school reserves the right to refuse to enrol a student where he/she has a disability for which the school cannot cater, even with additional resources as provided by the Department of Education and Science.

Transition Year

This is a broadly based programme which combines traditional academic subjects, careers education and work experience, as well as personal and social development in order to augment the Leaving Certificate experience, by providing a solid foundation for Leaving Certificate courses. This will enable participants to make mature and informed decisions, which will enhance their educational performance.  The Transition Year is a non-compulsory option available to students who have completed the Junior Cycle.


Entry Criteria

1. All students wishing to follow the Transition Year Programme must fill in an Application Form and may be required to attend for interview.

2. Since it may not be possible to accept all applicants the following criteria will apply:


  • Class size in general, will not exceed 24 students.
  • Students will be required to have demonstrated a reasonable willingness and capability to follow programmes that allow for varying levels of supervision (Record of behaviour).
  • Preference will be given to students who have completed their Junior Cycle education in Heywood Community School.
  • Because of the wide range of extra-curricular activities offered to Transition Year students, the school is obliged to charge a fee which will vary from year to year.



Applications To Transfer From Other Schools

It is the policy of Heywood Community School not to accept applications for enrolment in mid-year. Heywood Community School does not accept transfers from other schools into 3rd Year. (Junior Certificate Year)

Heywood Community School does not accept transfers of students whose parents reside in the catchment area and who have enrolled such students in other schools except in the most exceptional circumstances.  Such transfers are accepted subject to the following:

  • Space being available in the class group.
  • Space being available in the subject option sought and at the level sought  by the applicant.  Please note that the maximum number in Science is 24 students, Home Economics is 20 students.
  • All relevant information sought meets the criteria as set out below (how to apply).

How to Apply

In the first instance, parents should apply in writing.  Such letters will be kept on file until transfer requests from other schools are being processed (usually from the 20th August each year).

If having satisfied the curricular requirement of our own students, places remain in the class group and subject level, students who have requested to be considered for places will be invited to complete an Application Form. Applicants should complete the application form, giving all of the details required.   Parents should sign the application form and date it.  Parents are required to provide an emergency contact phone number.  Incomplete forms will be returned to parents.

Applicants are required to submit a reference from their previous school(s).   Failure to complete any of the necessary documentation listed above or to supply any other relevant documentation requested by the school may result in an applicant being refused admission to the school.  In addition, information will be required from the student’s former/present school concerning attendance, educational progress, reports, special needs, reasons for transfer, psychological reports (if appropriate).  Where appropriate, applicants may be required to submit copies of the results of state examinations.  Where an applicant has attended more than one second-level school he/she may be required, at the discretion of the Board, to submit reports from each school.

The behaviour record of a student in their previous school shall be an important factor.  The school reserves the right to refuse to admit a student whose behaviour in his/her previous school has been unsatisfactory or where there has not been a satisfactory level of co-operation between the previous school and the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s).  The attendance record of a student in his/her previous school shall also be an important factor.

At an appropriate time each year the school will take steps to determine what are the intentions of its own students for the following year.  Students in Third Year and Transition Year will be required to complete a re-application form indicating their intentions.

When this process is complete, the school will determine whether and how many places, may be available to students from outside the school.  Priority will be given to students from the school that are permitted by the school, in accordance with Department of Education regulations, to repeat a school year.

Remaining places will be allocated as follows:
1. Students whose parents have moved into the catchment area.  Such application will be considered with reference to the date of the application letter.
2. Students who reside outside the catchment area and who fulfil the conditions above.

The process of allocating such places will commence on or around 20th August each year.

Admission To Specific Programme/Subject or Levels

From time to time it may arise that the demand for particular subject or at a specific level for any subject or for a particular programme may exceed the number of places normally available on that programme.  The school will make every effort – within the constraints of the accommodation, teaching resources and equipment – to accommodate all such students.  Where all students cannot be accommodated the following shall apply:
• Priority will be given to students from within the school.
• Priority will be given to students who return fully completed Application Forms by the dates specified by the school.

Where it is not possible to accommodate all applicants:
•    Entry to specific subject levels will be determined by the student’s previous performance at that subject relative to the other applicants.  Their results in house and state examination where available will also be considered.  This allocation of subjects levels will be reviewed from time to time when class tests are completed and when full assessment tests are concluded and compiled.
•    Entry to specific subjects will be determined by reference to the preferences indicated by students on their option/application form and by reference to the student’s previous performance at that subject relative to the other applicants. Their results in state examinations where available will also be considered.

Where this does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, the school may survey the students’ previous teacher(s) about their suitability for the subject or alternative subjects and the school may also take into account the availability of other suitable subjects available to competing applicants.

Admission to Repeat a Year

All such applications are subject to the relevant Department of Education & Science guidelines.  The Department normally restricts students to a maximum of six years at second level and does not allow students to repeat a year unless there are exceptional circumstances.

•        Applications to repeat a year will be considered in the light of D.E.S. Circulars & Guidelines.
•       Applications will also be considered in the light of places available on the relevant programme, subject to class size limitations.
•       Applications must be in writing and must be accompanied by supporting documentation as appropriate.
•       The school must be satisfied that the applicant, in light of the special circumstances that gave rise  to the application, applies him/herself to study to the best of his/her ability.
•       The discipline record of the student shall be a determining factor.

Admission to Repeat Leaving Certificate Programme

The school does not operate a Repeat Leaving Certificate Programme.  It does not normally provide any additional teaching to cover material normally covered in 6th Year.  Students who apply to repeat the Leaving Certificate at the school will be considered:
•       In the light of places available in the relevant subjects and at the level required, the overall programme and overall enrolment within the school.
•       In the light of the student’s previous academic record, application to studies, attendance, discipline etc.

Refusal to Enrol, Re-Enrol and/or Admit Students

Parents and guardians are asked to note especially that the Board of Management of
Heywood Community School reserves the right to refuse to enrol, re-enrol and/or admit
students where the Board believes that the admission of a student is not in the best interests of the student himself/herself, where the student has displayed a significant disregard for this school’s and/or the student’s previous school’s Code of Behaviour, where the student has engaged in illegal activity, where the Board believes that the health and safety of student and/or staff are at risk from the student’s presence in the school and/or where constraints of space place a limit on the numbers of students that the school can adequately cater for.


Right to Appeal

Parents/guardians have the right to appeal a decision to refuse to enrol to the Board of Management itself under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 and where applicable, to the relevant agency under the authority of the Department of Education & Science.



The Board of Management of Heywood Community School, in devising this “Admissions Policy”, is determined to ensure that the school serves students of both genders and of all abilities in a healthy, safe, positive, challenging and rewarding learning environment.  The Board would like to emphasise to parents/guardians the necessity for the school and the home to work together, and in partnership, to develop fully the range of talents, abilities and personalities of its students, so that they can, both individually and collectively, contribute confidently and productively to the local and global communities.

Admissions Policy Last Review Date:  November 2009