04 December, 2015 - Minister O’Sullivan welcomes Consultation on School Autonomy

Minister O’Sullivan welcomes Consultation on School Autonomy

Minister encourages education partners to have their say on an important issue for schools. 

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, T.D., today welcomed the publication by her Department of a consultation on “Advancing School Autonomy in Ireland”. 

The Department has published a comprehensive research paper on the topic, along with a consultation paper, which calls for submissions from interested stakeholders, seeking their views and inputs on the issue.   

“Schools play a vital role in the lives of our young people and the wider communities in which they are situated.  Therefore, it is important that we give schools enough autonomy to allow the energy and expertise at local level to be harnessed for the betterment of learning outcomes in each school,” said the Minister. 

She went on to note “The level of autonomy afforded to schools is a topic of ongoing debate internationally.  It is important that Ireland should contribute to this debate and also consider the issue in an Irish context.  In that regard, I welcome the publication of these documents and I would encourage all interested stakeholders to make a submission to the Department giving their views.  By gathering a range of views, we will enrich the debate, thus leading to a more in-depth policy development process.  I look forward to an engaged and thorough policy debate on the questions and challenges raised in the papers.” 

The papers are available on www.education.ie - Advancing School Autonomy in Ireland along with details of how submissions can be made.  The consultation period runs until 29 January 2016. 


Note for Editors

The Programme for Government contains commitments that envisage that:

  • Schools will have greater autonomy “to set their own staffing needs”
  • Principals and boards will have increased freedom to allocate and manage staff and to delegate management responsibilities to teachers
  • Parents and local communities will have more say in the patronage of schools
  • The devolution of an annual capital budget to schools will be piloted
  • Local communities will have more control over educational infrastructure
  • Curricula will be reformed to improve attainment in literacy, mathematics and science and to encourage greater innovation and independent learning (Programme for Government 2011-2016, pps. 1, 3, 9-13).

The Department of Education and Skills has carried out significant piece of research on the issue of school autonomy.  This research focuses on three key aspects or dimensions of school autonomy, namely:

  • their Governance, Management and Ethos;
  • their Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment; and
  • their Budgets and Funding. 

In order to develop a broad-ranging and in-depth policy debate on the topic, the Department is, today, launching a consultation process on the issue.  A Consultation Paper has also been published, alongside the research paper, in order to facilitate a deep discussion on why, how and in what circumstances greater school autonomy could be advanced in Ireland. 

The consultation period will run until Friday 29 January 2016.  A template for submissions has been published on the Department of Education and Skills’ website, www.education.ie - Advancing School Autonomy in Ireland along with details of how submissions can be made to the Department.