Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Education and Skills

School Management

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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269. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the key circulars which set out the terms of operation for school boards and their patrons at primary and at secondary levels respectively; and the frequency with which these are updated. [28677/24]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The Education Act, 1998 sets out the legal framework for schools and their patrons. The act provides that the board of management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school on behalf of the patron. The act also sets out a requirement on schools to ensure that education provided by a school meets education policy as determined by the Minister.

The agreed procedures for the operation of primary school boards of management are set out in my Department’s publication the ‘Governance Manual for Primary Schools 2023-2027’. The term of office of primary school boards of management is for a period not longer than four years, up to and including 30 November 2027 for current boards of management. A review of the governance manual is undertaken every four years in advance of the appointment of new boards of management, in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

In terms of the operation of boards of management at post primary level, there are three sectors, voluntary secondary schools, ETB schools and Community and Comprehensive schools.

In the case of voluntary secondary schools, the procedures of the operation of their boards are generally set out in the Articles of Management of such schools. Boards of management of ETB post primary schools are sub-committees of the ETB and they operate under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, Section 44 of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 and the Code of Practice for the Governance of Education and Training Boards. The procedures for the operation of boards of management of Community and Comprehensive Schools are set out in the relevant Deed of Trust for such schools.

The Department’s Inspectorate has a quality assurance and improvement remit in relation to the oversight of curriculum, assessment, teaching, learning, leadership, and governance in schools. The FSSU supports boards of management in complying with the provisions of the Education Act in terms of transparency, accountability, and financial responsibility for state and other funding. The NCSE is the statutory body responsible for the co-ordination of special education needs provision in our schools. in line with Department guidelines and circular letters.

While school boards are required to adhere to all other relevant rules, regulations, legislation (including child protection, health and safety and charities legislation) and Department circulars relating to the operation of boards, there are separate compliance requirements that are overseen by various agencies including Tusla, the Health and Safety Authority and the Charities Regulator. In such instances agencies work closely with the Department and education partners to ensure that all legislative requirements are in place in schools.


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