Wednesday, 19 October 2005
Dáil Éireann Debate
310. Ms Harkin asked the Minister for Education and Science if, under section 28 of the Education Act, a school board is required to meet a parent or student who has a grievance with the school; the remedy which is available to such a parent or student if the request is refused; and if such a meeting takes place, the person who is in a position to decide on a chairperson for the meeting. [29604/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Procedures for processing complaints by parents and students will be prescribed for all schools under section 28 of the Education Act 1998. Currently, most schools use procedures that have been arrived at through national agreements negotiated between management authorities and teacher unions. Under the CPSMA-INTO and the ASTI-JMB procedures that are in common usage in primary schools and voluntary secondary schools respectively, the board of management may invite the complainant to address a meeting of the board. The chairperson of the board of management will normally chair this meeting. In general, similar procedures are followed by post-primary schools in the VEC and community and comprehensive sectors.
If, following the completion of the complaints procedure and the issuing of a finding by the board of management of the school, the complainant remains dissatisfied, she or he may appeal the matter to my Department.
311. Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will consider introducing a postal ballot for parents to elect their representatives on boards of management in order to involve more parents in the process of selecting their representatives; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29605/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): The rules of procedure for the nomination and appointment of parent representatives to boards of management of primary schools are set out in the handbook Boards of Management of National Schools: Constitution of Boards of Management and Rules of Procedure.
Appendix B of the handbook outlines two methods of election of parent representatives to boards, one of which is a postal ballot. The procedures provide that the method of election of parent representatives shall be determined in consultation with the parent representatives on the outgoing board and any parents’ association in the school.
The procedures for the election of parents to boards of management in post-primary schools do not specify the means by which a ballot should be conducted. At a local level, a postal ballot could be used if a school community felt that it would be conducive to greater involvement.
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