I am aware of complaints concerning management issues at Carndonagh community school. These complaints related to the level of financial accountability to the board and the accuracy of returns of pupil enrolments submitted to my Department.
Community schools are established under a deed of trust and managed by an 11 member board of management separate from my Department. The board comprises three representatives of the religious communities, three representatives of the vocational education committee, two parent and two teacher representatives. The principal teacher of the school is a non voting member of the board of management. My Department is not represented on the board. Each board is responsible for the governance and direction of the school and for the procedures in place to inform board members concerning the affairs of the school. My Department provides guidance to boards in relation to school management generally and it also supports initiatives taken by the representative management body for boards — the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools — in this regard so as to ensure that best practice obtains. Where internal board difficulties arise, these fall to be dealt with by the board in the first instance.
The complaints received concerning Carndonagh community school were referred to the board of management for its consideration and report to the Department. The board responded stating that it was satisfied with the accountability arrangements in place at the school and that all relevant information had been made available to board members.
In March 1995 the school informed my Department of an error in the return of enrolments submitted for 1994-95 which resulted in an over-statement of pupils attending the school. This error was the result of inadequate checking of the return before it was submitted to my Department. The board was reminded of its obligations to ensure that such returns are accurate and complete. Roll keeping procedures have been reviewed on a number of occasions since then and my Department is satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of pupil returns.