Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (248)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

248. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills his Department's policy is in respect of entire class groups being dismissed from school for the summer before the date previously notified to parents in response to a prank by a minority of students, thereby reducing the teaching contact time for all students ahead of their exams (details supplied); if there are certain procedures that schools are supposed to follow in such circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24632/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Education Welfare Act 2000 requires all schools to have in place a Code of Behaviour. The Act requires that a school Code of Behaviour shall, inter alia, specify the standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school and the measures that may be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards.

In relation to a school's closing date, the arrangements in relation to the standardised school year do not require that the start or end of the school year should be standardised. However, schools must provide of a minimum of 167 teaching days at post-primary level and 183 teaching days at primary level.

Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school. Decisions in relation to matters relating to the school's closing date and the implementation of the school code of behaviour are dealt with at local school level and any concerns relating to same should be addressed to the relevant school authorities. The complaint procedures adopted by most schools are those that have been agreed between the teacher unions and school management bodies.

The Office of the Ombudsman for Children may independently investigate complaints about schools recognised with the Department of Education and Skills, provided the parent has firstly and fully followed the school's complaints procedures. The key criterion for any intervention by the Ombudsman for Children is that the action of the school has had a negative effect on a child.