Twin brothers separated in school admissions fiasco
A DISTRAUGHT mother from Trim says her family has been left devastated after just one of her twin sons got a place in a secondary school in the town while the other was rejected.
Last Saturday Adri O’Dea dropped her son Cian to the entrance exam for Boyne Community School while his disappointed brother Aidan looked on from the car but the determined mum has vowed that they will not be separated and is calling on the Department of Education to step in.
Ms O'Dea says that she was shocked to receive two letters from the school, one giving one of her sons a place and the other saying the second boy was not accepted. The twelve-year-old 6th class students, who live just outside Trim and attend St Michael's NS nearby to Boyne Community School, are said to be ‘inconsolable’ while mum Adri says that no indication was given that there were any issues in relation to oversubscription during the application process.
Mum Adri has vowed that her twin boys will not be separated
It is believed that there are currently 36 students on the waiting list for the coed school.
"We sent in the application form on the open day so we were in plenty of time. I indicated on both of their forms that they were twins. There wasn't any mystery around the fact that they were twins.
"I got home to two letters from the school one Friday, one to say Cian had been accepted and the other to say Aidan had not.
"I wrote a letter to the board of management and said I assumed that this was an error and I wanted to bring it to their attention.
"On the Monday morning we found out that Aidan was number 59 on the waiting list. When I rang the school I was just told that it was unfortunate and I should apply to another school. We have written additional letters to the school and the board of management but have not received a response. We have hit a stone wall.
"They did a lottery and basically gave everyone a number so that's how it ended up that one got in and the other didn't. There was no consideration given to the fact that they were twins.
Cian was accepted to Boyne Community School while Aidan did not get a place
"On Saturday I took Cian for the entrance assessment while Aidan sat in the car. He feels that the school doesn't want him. Aidan feels bad and is saying I don't want to go to a school that my brother can't go to. It has created a difficult situation for us as a family.
"It is a constant issue in the house. You are trying not to make a big deal about it but it is a big deal.
"I refuse to send them to two different schools. You could say I have one child in the school but I don't. I don't have a place for my sons until I have a place for the two of them.
Parents were not told at any point that this was going to be an issue according to South African born Adri.
"The place was thronged at the open day and we asked if we needed to be concerned regarding the number of places available but were told no as long as you have the application in time you will be fine. Nobody realised that there were 23 feeder schools. It is mind-boggling how they have allowed this to happen.
The boys are hoping that they can attend the same secondary school
"The school made a big deal out of prioritising siblings. I asked them that seeing as you give priority to siblings then surely you need to prioritise twins as well but I was told until your child is physically attending the school it doesn't count.
"The stress of the situation has been unreal it has really affected all of the family. It has created a lot of stress not just for myself but for my boys.
"It's very unfair to both boys. Cian can't even look forward to going to his new school because he doesn't know what's going to happen.
"Aidan really feels like he has been pushed aside in a sense. He thinks that they don't want him there. It's just heartbreaking but I'm going to keep fighting for them."
A Department of Education and Skills spokesperson has said:
"The Department is in ongoing discussions with the school authorities."
Boyne Community School has been contacted for comment.
For the full story on the schools admissions crisis read: https://www.meathchronicle.ie/news/roundup/articles/2020/01/22/4184686-there-was-no-warning-that-places-were-so-scarce/