30 November, 2007 - Boards of management give their time to support high standards in education - Minister Hanafin thanks over 20,000 outgoing Board members for their vital service to schools and the community

"Today marks the end of the four year term of office for the current boards of management of primary schools throughout the country. I want to express my gratitude to all those who volunteered their services to ensure that schools are effectively managed on a day to day basis" said the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, T.D., today . 
New boards will begin a new term of office on 1st December 2007 for a four year period. Copies of a new publication - The Constitution of Boards and Rules of Procedure - for boards of management will be circulated to all schools in the coming week. It contains provisions governing the composition and functioning of boards of management of national schools. The publication also contains a number of revisions to rules of procedure following consultation and agreement with the partners in education. 
Speaking in Monaghan today, Minister Hanafin welcomed all the incoming board members and wished them well in their significant roles over the next four years. "The current system of school management has served us well.It means that communities have a strong role in how schools are run and that Patrons can ensure that their ethos is promoted in their schools.  
Boards of management have a vital role to play in meeting the goal of creating the best learning environment for every child. Education is not just about learning how to read and write, it is also about learning a respect for others and a sense of social justice. These values can't be just learned in the classroom, they have to be reflected also in how the school is run. They should be reflected in a school's policies such as bullying, discipline and enrolment" said Minister Hanafin.Minister Hanafin went on to say "modern employment law and the Education Act give a very strong role to boards of management as employers. As managers of our schools the boards have a tremendously important role in protecting the quality of education that children receive."
The Minister expressed her thanks to the over 20,000 outgoing board members throughout the country for their valuable contribution to the effective and efficient running of those schools since 2003. "Without the input of these individual representatives it would not be possible to maintain the recognised high standards of education in our primary schools today. We are extremely fortunate to have people like those who give their time and energies to schools selflessly."
Minister Hanafin acknowledged that such a locally-based system places a lot of responsibility on voluntary members of boards and is anxious to ensure that members of boards are provided with the training and other supports that they need to discharge their responsibilities. The Department of Education and Science has provided funding to the various school management bodies to enable them to provide training for their boards of management.
A new Information Manual for Boards of Management, providing information for board members on a wide range of issues at primary level has been published alongside the Constitution and Rules of Procedure for Boards. "I am sure that these new publications will prove useful for members of the newly appointed boards of management" said Minister Hanafin.  All schools will be issued with copies of the new publications in the coming days and they are available on the Department's website on the link.