Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019: Committee Stage
Joe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
Much consideration has gone into this particular amendment, as it has gone into all the amendments. The Bill currently requires the Minister, when preparing the charter guidelines, to have regard to the need for a school to foster and promote mutual respect and communications between the school and students and their parents. This amendment would ensure this provision in the Bill also explicitly makes references to teachers. I can clarify for the House that the phrase "communications between the school and students and their parents" as used in this provision of the Bill encompasses communications between the school staff, including teachers, and parents and students. I agree with the Senator that the majority of the day-to-day communication between a school and its students and parents is conducted through the teacher. The teacher is central to the school environment. This is recognised by the approach in this Bill and this provision explicitly ensures that in developing the guidelines, the Minister must have regard to the need for mutual respect in these communications. That being said, I am open to the idea of possibly including the phrase "including teachers" in the legislative framework but we will have to work on the wording. With the indulgence of the Senator, if he were to withdraw this amendment, I would be prepared to work on the wording to bring it back on Report Stage if possible.