Written Answers. - School Discipline.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

146 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science his Department's policy in respect of discipline in primary schools; and his views on the practice of cancelling subjects such as art and physical education as a form of punishment in administering discipline within a school. [17578/01]

The board of management of each primary school is responsible for formulating, in consultation with parents, a fair and efficient code of behaviour. This code should ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated, while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption-free environment. This code should include provision for dealing with serious breaches of discipline and continuously disruptive pupils.

My Department has issued guidelines to boards of management to assist them in discharging their obligations in the area of school discipline. These guidelines were drawn up following consultation with representatives of management, teachers and parents, and are sufficiently flexible to allow each school authority to adapt them to suit the particular needs of the school.

Every pupil has the right to access the full range of curricular subjects and boards of management and staffs of schools should ensure that the full curriculum is delivered to all pupils. The cancelling of any curricular area as a form of administering discipline is not appropriate.

The Education Act has made provision for new appeal procedures to address grievances at school level. These procedures will bring a greater transparency to decisions by schools and promote fair procedures at school level.