Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
648. Deputy Mary Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Science the sections of the 1930 Act and the 2001 VEC Amendment Act required to be amended in order to enable vocational educational committees to become patrons of community primary schools; if work has commenced on the proposed legislative changes; and if the amendment to the legislation will be in place for the 2010 school year to coincide with the conclusion of the pilot scheme. [27783/09]
Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Draft legislation to put in place a legal framework which will facilitate the involvement of Vocational Education Committees (VECs) in the provision of primary education is currently in preparation.
It has been decided that it is proper that the role and responsibility of VECs in relation to the patronage of primary schools should be set forth in primary legislation and brought before the Oireachtas in due course. As the Deputy will be aware, VECs currently operate in the area of further and continuing education. If their remit is to be expanded to encompass primary education it is desirable that this should be done by primary legislation setting out the nature and extent of their duties and voted upon by the Houses of the Oireachtas. The General Scheme of an Education (Patronage) Bill 2009 has recently approved by the Government for drafting and I hope to have the Bill published and passed during the Autumn session 2009. The new model of primary school patronage is being explored in a pilot model in two locations in Dublin 15. In order to properly test the model and to thoroughly evaluate its performance, no date has been set for the conclusion of the pilot phase.
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