'Parent and Student Charter' will provide transparency in schools

New laws are to be introduced which will force schools to consult with parents and students and provide much greater transparency under a ‘Parent and Student Charter’.

Jim Daly, chair of the Oireachtas Children’s Committee, said the charter should help to bring “a small minority of schools who are underperforming and not engaging with parents, up to standard”.

The Department of Education said the new legislation will improve information and complaints procedures for children and their parents.

It says some of the issues which schools will be required to deal with under the charter include:

  • Consulting with students and parents regularly in relation to school costs and publishing a school financial statement to include information on how any voluntary contributions are used;
  • Inviting feedback from students and parents and poviding a fair and accessible mechanism for resolving complaints, including through mediation. The Department said the use of formal grievance and complaint processes should be a last response, except in the most serious of cases;
  • Publish the number of complaints made, the reasons for the outcome in each case, and how the outcome was reached by the school. Acknowledge gaps, deficiencies or room for improvement;
  • Furthermore the role of the Children’s Ombudsman is to be expanded and schools will be required to consider any suggestions, guidance or recommendations made by the Ombudsman.

The department said Education Minister Richard Bruton would consult with educational bodies such as the National Parents Councils and the Irish Second-level Students Union, before finalising the guidelines.

Mr Bruton, who will publish the draft of the bill to introduce the charter later today, said teachers perform a vital role and that “to build on the high professional standards that exist in schools it is important that we seek ways in which to continually improve”.

“For the very first time those high professional standards in schools will be underpinned with a Parent and Student Charter,” he said “The Charter is an important step aimed at improving the engagement between students, parents and schools.

He said ongoing consultation and information sharing would be cornerstones of each charter. “Consultation can be quick and easy. Through the use of online surveys, it should be possible for a school to consult with hundreds of parents quickly and easily,” he added.


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