A General Scheme of an Education (Parent and Student Charter) Bill 2016 was published by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton on 5 December 2016. We outline some of the key implications for schools.
Under section 28 of the Education Act 1998 and as part of the Action Plan for Education 2016-2019, the Minister for Education set out procedures to enable students over 18 and their parents to:
appeal against decisions of a teacher or other member of staff of a school deal with grievances of students and parents, and take appropriate remedial action as a consequence of an appeal or in response to a grievance No procedures have previously been prescribed under this section.
The new legislation sets out a statutory basis for a Parent and Student Charter (the "Charter"). Once enacted, schools will be required to prepare a Charter based on the statutory principles set out in section 28 and any guidelines issued by the Minister.
Key aspects of the Charter
The Charter aims to put the student at the centre of school life, while recognising parents as primary educators and provides for the following:
Consulting students and parents regularly in relation to the policies and plans of the school School costs and working together to avoid costs acting as a barrier to participation Providing students and parents with information Inviting feedback from parents and students Providing information about school management and school policies, including admission, extra-curricular activities and school performance, and Acknowledge gaps and efficiencies or areas for improvement Benefits for students and parents
The Charter promotes a proactive approach to dealing with issues or concerns of students or their parents, promoting informal resolution without the need to rely on formal grievance and complaint processes. The Charter will require schools to have grievance and complaint procedures in place which include mediation and remediation. Schools will be required to account for the outcome of any complaints made, including setting out the reasons for the outcome and the basis on which the outcome is determined by the school.
Responsibilities for boards of management
Boards of management will be required to prepare, publish and operate a Charter that follows the guidelines set by the Minister. The Minister will take action where he considers that a board has failed to prepare, publish or operate a Charter in accordance with the guidelines, in...