Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019: Committee Stage
I welcome the Minister to the House. As a former Member, he will be anxious to engage to the nth degree to accommodate the views of this House, as he does on every occasion. I am happy with much of his response on the amendment, which I welcome.
In framing the document on the rights and responsibilities, the charter and the guidelines, it is crucial that the professionalism, dignity, rights and centrality of the teacher be taken into account. Teachers are very much key personnel in the school community. We have to accommodate their rights and realistic expectations.
I was happy to hear the Minister say the stakeholders will be listened to keenly and seriously in the formation of the guidelines. I am firmly of the view that the rights, dignity and professionalism of the teachers should be central to any school charter or set of guidelines. The teachers are very much central to the entire process; they are not just stakeholders. The school community has now widened. It is wonderful that parents, pupils and others are involved. In the old days, the community was very teacher-centric. We cannot move from the older model to a completely new one if the teachers are not regarded as key personnel. They are very professional. This should be enshrined in guidelines and the ultimate charter. I will return to this theme again because it is key.