– By Rose Callan
On 5 Dec 2016, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton announced that the Government had approved the draft outline of a new law.
This new law will require every school to consult with parents and students and to publish and operate a Parent and Student Charter. The National Parents Council post primary welcomes this positive step which proposes more parental involvement in education of our children.
Some of the actions which schools will be required to take under the Charter include:
- Consult students and parents regularly in relation to school costs and work to avoid costs acting as a barrier
- Publish a school financial statement which would include information on how any voluntary contributions are used
- Invite feedback from parents and students
- Provide a fair and accessible mechanism for resolving complaints, including through mediation.
- Use formal grievance and complaint processes as a last response, except in the most serious cases
- Publish a number of complaints made, the reasons for the outcome in each case, and how the outcome was reached by the school
- Provide better information about School Management, School Policies including on admission, and information on extracurricular activities and school performance
- Acknowledge gaps, deficiencies or room for improvement
The draft Bill is with the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills for pre-legislative scrutiny, scheduled for 7 March 2017.
The guidelines will be finalised following a consultation process between the Department of Education and Skills, National Parents Council primary, National Parents Council post primary and the Irish Second-level Students Union.
The role of the Ombudsman for Children will be expanded and schools will be required to consider any suggestions, guidance or recommendations made by the Ombudsman. The draft Bill is with the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills for pre-legislative scrutiny, scheduled for 7 March 2017.
Have your say
The National Parents Council post primary considers the proposed legislation as key in terms of parental involvement and role in education of our children. There are many ways for you to get involved – some ideas below:
- The National Parents Council post primary will conduct a national survey – keep an eye on our website www.npcpp.ie and encourage parents in your school to have their voices heard.
- The Parent Charter will be the key topic for our Spring Seminar on Saturday 8 April in St Tiernan’s Community School, Balally, Dublin 16. Registration opens 13 March. Details on www.facebook.com/NationalParentsCouncilPP