Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (141)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Ceist:

141. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 103 of 27 February 2014, the reason boards of management of schools are now being asked to involve themselves in curriculum matters such as decisions on the use of workbooks; his plans to involve them in other teaching or curriculum matters; if he will advise the way the matter is resolved, when the chosen policy of the board of management, in respect of workbooks, is opposed by the principal and teachers in that school; his views that, it is undesirable that the board of management should be put on a collision course with the teachers who will always choose the use of workbooks because it makes their own job easier but at huge cost to parents; his views that possession and use of good textbooks give a sense of ownership of the subject to students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11829/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Education Act, 1998, places a responsibility on boards of management to manage the school on behalf of the patron of the school and for the benefit of the students and parents, and to provide or cause to be provided an appropriate education for each student at the school. Boards of management, in exercising their function to ensure that an appropriate education is provided for students, have the authority to determine school policy on this matter. Teachers under the guidance of the senior management of the school must make decisions on the textbooks or workbooks to be used in line with the school policy determined by the board. No change has been made to these arrangements.

The Guidelines that accompany the "Primary School Curriculum, 1999" acknowledge that carefully selected textbooks may play a role in supporting the implementation of the curriculum but they also warn against an over-reliance on textbooks, stating, for example, in regard to history, that "it should be noted that textbooks, of their very nature, cannot adequately cover local history studies and should therefore be regarded as only one source among many for the teaching of history." I am conscious of the additional costs that may have to be borne by parents if workbooks are used extensively in schools and the "Guidelines for Developing Textbook Rental Schemes in Schools", published by my Department in 2012, outline a number of strategies that can be used to obviate the need for such workbooks.