Secondary school students could sit on boards of management in their school as full or partial members according to a new Bill to be published by the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, in the next few weeks.
The bill, already approved by the Cabinet according to the Irish Times, will see a more transparent approach on the handling of complaints. The proposal will also mean schools will be forced to give parents and students performance updates.
All schools will be forced, by law, to have a parent and student charter based on key guidelines laid out by Minister Bruton. The charters aim to improve parent and student consultations over the running of the school and improve transparency.
Schools will be made provide information on complaints made against it and to publish the number of grievances.
Up until this point, the Education Minister has had no position in the handling of board of management decisions or complaints about schools, but with this new legislation the Minister will have the ability to direct school’s board of managements and force them to comply with its guidelines.
Additionally, the Ombudsman for children will have greater power to investigate complaints made against schools even in the event where a complaint was still being considered.
According to the education editor of The Irish Times, Carl O’Brien, Board of Managements are very important when it comes to the running of a school and hold a lot of power.
“They’re not really answerable to anybody including believe it or not – the Department of Education”, O’Brien told Newstalk Breakfast.
The move by the Department will strengthen their control on schools across the country, however, O’Brien said that the possibility of having students on these boards is far from certain.