Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Dáil Éireann Debate
19. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Education, in view of the lack of information available to her Department on the level of permanent suspensions from primary and second level schools, if she will initiate a study to establish the number of such suspensions; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Following consultation with management authorities, teacher unions and parent representations, my Department issued “Guidelines Towards a Positive Policy for School Behaviour and Discipline” to schools in 1990 and 1991.
The guidelines do not include a system of reporting suspensions to the Department. They do provide that, where parents feel aggrieved with a decision to expel a student, they may bring the matter to the attention of my Department which arranges for appropriate investigation.
However, the question of suspensions and expulsion from school were among the issues considered by a working party which was set up to review the School Attendance Act 1926. The report of the working party contains a number of relevant recommendations. The report was published in April 1994 in order to stimulate wider debate in the issues concerned. This report and comments on it from interested parties is under consideration in my Department.
I might add that the position paper on regional education councils which I published in March 1994 suggests that the regional education councils could provide parents with an appeal forum on issues which had been raised and not satisfactorily resolved at school level.
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