In accordance with the provisions of Section 14(1) of the Education Act 1998, it is "the duty of the school patron, for the purposes of ensuring that a recognised school is managed in a spirit of partnership, to appoint where practicable a board of management the composition of which is agreed between patrons of schools, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations, recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers and the Minister". The agreed composition and procedures for the appointment of Boards of primary schools are set out in my Department's publication "Constitution of Boards and Rules of Procedures 2011". The term of office of outgoing Boards of all of the circa 3300 primary schools expired on 30 November 2011 with new Boards being appointed from 1 December 2011.
Under the agreed procedures at primary level, when the Board is appointed, the Patron is required to submit a declaration to my Department confirming same. The process of updating the Department's records from the declarations received from patrons of primary schools is ongoing within my Department at present.
In the case of voluntary secondary schools, the patrons of the majority of these schools have traditionally been religious communities or Boards of Governors and the composition and appointment procedures for their Boards are generally set out in the Articles of Management of such schools. Boards of Management of VEC second level schools are sub-committees of the VEC while Community and Comprehensive schools are managed by Boards of Management of differing compositions appointed in accordance with the relevant Deed of Trust.
The various procedures for the appointment of Boards across the three sectors at post-primary level do not require patrons of post-primary schools to formally confirm each Board's appointment to my Department. Accordingly, information in relation to the number of such schools which do not currently have a Board is not readily available. It should be noted that, under the provisions of the Act, where a patron determines that the appointment of a board is not practicable, or where the patron, with the consent of the Minister, has dissolved a board of management, the patron may appoint a manager or managers to perform the functions of the board.