Education Act 1998

Appeals to Secretary General.

29

29. (1) Where a board or a person acting on behalf of the board—

( a) permanently excludes a student from a school, or

( b) suspends a student from attendance at a school for a period to be prescribed for the purpose of this paragraph, or

( c) refuses to enroll a student in a school, or

( d) makes a decision of a class which the Minister, following consultation with patrons, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations, recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, may from time to time determine may be appealed in accordance with this section,

the parent of the student, or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, may, within a reasonable time from the date that the parent or student was informed of the decision and following the conclusion of any appeal procedures provided by the school or the patron, in accordance with section 28 , appeal that decision to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science and that appeal shall be heard by a committee appointed under subsection (2).

(2) For the purposes of the hearing and determination of an appeal under this section, the Minister shall appoint one or more than one committee (in this section referred to as an “ appeals committee”) each of which shall include in its membership an Inspector and such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate.

(3) Where a committee is appointed under subsection (2) the Minister shall appoint one of its number to be the chairperson of that committee and who, in the case of an equal division of votes, shall have a second or casting vote.

(4) In hearing and determining an appeal under this section an appeals committee shall act in accordance with such procedures as may be determined from time to time by the Minister following consultation with patrons, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers and such procedures shall ensure that—

( a) the parties to the appeal are assisted to reach agreement on the matters the subject of the appeal where the appeals committee is of the opinion that reaching such agreement is practicable in the circumstances,

( b) hearings are conducted with the minimum of formality consistent with giving all parties a fair hearing, and

( c) appeals are dealt with within a period of 30 days from the date of the receipt of the appeal by the Secretary General, except where, on the application in writing of the appeals committee stating the reasons for a delay in determining the appeal, the Secretary General consents in writing to extend the period by not more than 14 days.

F41 [ (4A) The National Educational Welfare Board may, at the hearing of an appeal brought by a parent or student against a decision to which paragraph ( a ) or ( c ) of subsection (1) applies, make such submissions (whether in writing or orally) to the appeals committee, as it considers appropriate. ]

(5) On the determination of an appeal made under this section, the appeals committee shall send notice in writing of its determination of the appeal and the reasons for that determination to the Secretary General.

(6) Where—

( a) an appeals committee upholds a complaint in whole or in part, and

( b) it appears to the appeals committee that any matter which was the subject of the complaint (so far as upheld) should be remedied,

the appeals committee shall make recommendations to the Secretary General as to the action to be taken.

(7) As soon as practicable after the receipt by the Secretary General of the notice referred to in subsection (5), the Secretary General—

( a) shall, by notice in writing, inform the person who made the appeal and the board of the determination of the appeals committee and the reasons therefor, and

( b) in a case to which subsection (6) applies, may in such notice give such directions to the board as appear to the Secretary General (having regard to any recommendations made by the appeals committee) to be expedient for the purpose of remedying the matter which was the subject of the appeal and the board shall act in accordance with such directions.

(8) The Minister, in consultation with patrons of schools, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, shall from time to time review the operation of this section and section 28 and the first such review shall take place not more than two years from the commencement of this section.

(9) In the case of a school which is established or maintained by F42 [ an education and training board ] an appeal against a decision of the board of such school shall lie, in the first instance, to F42 [ the education and training board ] and thereafter to the Secretary General in accordance with subsection (1).

(10) The Minister shall, from time to time, following consultation with F42 [ education and training boards ], national associations of parents and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, prescribe—

( a) the procedures for appeals under this section to F42 [ education and training boards ], and

( b) which appeals shall inquire into whether the procedure adopted by a board in reaching a decision or conducting an appeal was fair and reasonable and which appeals shall be by way of a full re-hearing.

(11) The Secretary General may, in accordance with sections 4 (1) ( i) and 9 of the Public Service Management Act, 1997, assign the responsibility for the performance of the functions for which the Secretary General is responsible under this section to another officer of the Department of Education and Science.

(12) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), “ student” means a person who applies for enrolment at a school and that person or his or her parents may appeal against a refusal to enroll him or her in the same manner as a student or his or her parents may appeal a decision under this section.

Annotations:

Amendments:

F41

Inserted (5.07.2002) by Education (Welfare) Act 2000 (22/2000), s. 26(2), commenced as per s. 1(3).

F42

Substituted (1.07.2013) by Education and Training Boards Act 2013 (11/2013), s. 72(1) and sch. 6 item 27, S.I. No. 211 of 2013.

F43

Substituted by Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 (14/2018), s. 7(1), not commenced as of date of revision, subject to transitional provision in subs. (3).

F44

Substituted by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 4(a)(i), not commenced as of date of revision.

F45

Inserted by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 4(a)(ii), not commenced as of date of revision.

F46

Substituted and inserted by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 4(b), not commenced as of date of revision.

F47

Substituted (1.01.2014) by Child and Family Agency Act 2013 (40/2013), s. 93 and sch. 2 part 11 item 3, S.I. No. 502 of 2013.

F48

Inserted by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 4(c), not commenced as of date of revision.

F49

Inserted by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 4(d), not commenced as of date of revision.

Modifications (not altering text):

C4

Prospective affecting provision: section substituted by Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 (14/2018), s. 7(1), not commenced as of date of revision, subject to transitional provision in subs. (3).

F43 [ Appeals

29. (1) Where a board or a person acting on behalf of a board

( a ) permanently excludes a student from a school,

( b ) suspends a student from attendance at a school for a period or periods totalling not less than 20 school days in a school year, or

( c ) refuses to admit a student to a school, where the decision to refuse admission is due to

(i) the school being oversubscribed, or

(ii) a reason other than the school being oversubscribed,

the parent of the student, or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student (each of whom is, in this section and sections 29A to 29F , referred to as an applicant), may, within such period as may be determined in procedures under section 29B , and following the conclusion of any review under section 29C or any appeal procedures provided by the school in accordance with this Act, appeal a decision in accordance with this section and sections 29A to 29F .

(2) In this section and sections 29A to 29F

Act of 2018 means the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018;

annual admission notice has the same meaning as it has in Part X (inserted by section 9 of the Act of 2018);

applicant has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (1);

board includes a committee established under section 44 (1) or 44 (7) of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 ;

oversubscribed has the same meaning as it has in Part X (inserted by section 9 of the Act of 2018);

school has the same meaning as it has in Part X (inserted by section 9 of the Act of 2018);

school year has the same meaning as it has in Part X (inserted by section 9 of the Act of 2018);

special class has the same meaning as it has in Part X (inserted by section 9 of the Act of 2018);

special educational needs has the same meaning as it has in the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 ;

student includes a person in relation to whom an application for admission to a school has been made and that person or his or her parents may appeal against a decision to refuse to admit him or her in the same manner as a student or his or her parents may appeal a decision under this section. ]

C5

Prospective affecting provision: section amended by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 4, not commenced as of date of revision. Not that s. 4 is prospectively repealed by Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 (14/2018), s. 12(d), not commenced as of date of revision.

29. (1) Where a board or a person acting on behalf of the board— ...

F44 [ ( c ) refuses to enrol

(i) a student in a school, or

(ii) a student to receive instruction on the curriculum through Irish in a school, if that school provides for the teaching of subjects on the curriculum through Irish for some or all of its students, or ]

...

the parent of the student, or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, may, within a reasonable time from the date that the parent or student was informed of the decision and following the conclusion of any appeal procedures provided by the school or the patron, in accordance with section 28 , appeal that decision to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science and F45 [ , subject to subsection (4D) , ] that appeal shall be heard by a committee appointed under subsection (2).

...

F46 [ (4) In hearing and determining an appeal under this section against a decision to which subsection (1)(a) or ( b ) applies an appeals committee shall have regard to

( a ) the nature, scale and persistence of any behaviour alleged to have given rise to, or contributed to, the decision made by or on behalf of the board,

( b ) the reasonableness of any efforts made by the school to enable the student to whom the appeal relates (the student concerned ) to participate in and benefit from education,

( c ) the educational interests of the student concerned and the desirability of enabling the student as far as practicable to participate in and benefit from education with his or her peers,

( d ) the educational interests of, and the effective provision of education for, other students of the school and the maintenance of a classroom and school environment which is supportive of learning among the students of the school and ensures continuity of instruction provided to students in any classroom concerned and the school,

( e ) the safety, health and welfare of teachers, students and staff of the school,

( f ) the code of behaviour under section 23 of the Act of 2000 and other relevant policies of the school and

(i) in the case of that code of behaviour, the extent to which it is in compliance with that section 23 and any guidelines issued under subsection (3) of that section, and

(ii) in the case of those other policies, the extent to which each of them is implemented, promotes equality of access to and participation in education and is in compliance with

(I) any enactment that imposes duties on schools or their boards,

(II) any relevant guidelines or policies of the Minister,

( g ) the duties on schools or their boards imposed by or under any enactment,

( h ) guidelines issued pursuant to section 22(7) of the Act of 2000, and

( i ) such other matters as the appeals committee considers relevant.

(4A) Nothing in subsection (4) affects the obligation of an appeals committee to uphold a complaint in relation to the permanent exclusion of a student from a school if the parent of the student or the student, as the case may be, shows that subsection (1) or (4) of section 24 of the Act of 2000 has not been complied with in relation to that exclusion.

(4B) In hearing and determining an appeal under this section an appeals committee shall act in accordance with such procedures as may be determined from time to time by the Minister following consultation with patrons, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations, recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, and such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate, and such procedures shall

( a ) provide that the Secretary General may require one or more of the parties to the appeal to furnish to the committee, within a period specified in the requirement, such information as the Secretary General specifies in the requirement,

( b ) provide that the Secretary General may stipulate, as a condition for the committee proceeding to hear and determine the appeal, that a requirement made of a parent or student by the Secretary General in accordance with procedures under paragraph ( a ) has been complied with, and

( c ) ensure that

(i) the parties to the appeal are assisted to reach agreement on the matters the subject of the appeal where the committee is of the opinion that reaching such agreement is practicable in the circumstances,

(ii) hearings are conducted with the minimum of formality consistent with giving all parties a fair hearing,

(iii) the appeal is determined within a period of 30 days (the relevant period ) from

(I) save where clause (II) applies, the date of the receipt of the appeal by the Secretary General, or

(II) if a requirement, in accordance with procedures under paragraph (a) , is made of any of the parties to the appeal, the date on which the period specified in the requirement for furnishing the information concerned expires,

unless the Secretary General extends the relevant period (which the Secretary General has, by virtue of this subparagraph, power to do) where he or she is of opinion that an extension is necessary in all the circumstances of the case (but the period of that extension may not exceed 14 days).

(4C) An appeals committee may draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from any failure of a party to an appeal to comply with a requirement made of the party in accordance with procedures under subsection (4B)(a) .

(4D) An appeals committee may refuse to hear, or continue to hear, an appeal under this section if

( a ) it is of opinion that the appeal is vexatious, frivolous, an abuse of process or without substance or foundation, or

( b ) it is satisfied, having regard to the grounds of appeal and any attempts to facilitate agreement between the parties or any subsequent steps taken by the parties, that in the particular circumstances the appeal should not be considered further.

(4E) At the hearing of an appeal against a decision to which subsection (1) applies, the F47 [ Child and Family Agency ] and the National Council for Special Education may each make such submissions, if any (whether in writing or orally), as it considers appropriate to the appeals committee. ]

...

(7) As soon as practicable after the receipt by the Secretary General of the notice referred to in subsection (5), the Secretary General— ...

( b) in a case to which subsection (6) applies, may in such notice give such directions to the board as appear to the Secretary General (having regard to any recommendations made by the appeals committee) to be expedient for the purpose of remedying the matter which was the subject of the appeal and the board shall F48 [ , within such period (if any) as may be specified by the Secretary General in that notice, ] act in accordance with such directions.

...

F49 [ (13) Notwithstanding subparagraph (iii) of subsection (4B)(c) , the Minister may provide by regulations that no appeal under this section shall be heard during a specified period in any year, being a period in that year in which schools are closed; any period that is specified in such regulations for the time being in force shall not be reckoned in calculating the period referred to in that subparagraph (iii) that is applicable to the appeal concerned.

(14) If, in the circumstances of the particular matter, an issue relating to the refusal of a particular school to enrol a student or the exclusion by a particular school of a student from it would (if this subsection had not been enacted) be capable of

( a ) being the subject of an appeal under this section, and

( b ) being, in substance, contested in an appeal under section 10 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 ,

then, in those circumstances, an appeal may be made by a person under one or other of those sections (being whichever of them the person proposing to appeal opts for) but not both of those sections.

(15) For the purposes of the application of subsection (14) , but only for those purposes, a student and his or her parents shall be treated as the one person; for the purposes of that subsection and this subsection, subsection (12) applies in relation to the construction of student . ]

C6

References in subs. (1) to “parent of the student” and “student” construed (5.07.2002) by Education (Welfare) Act 2000 (22/2000), s. 26(1), commenced as per s. 1(3). Subsection amended by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 6(a)(i), not commenced as of date of revision. Note that s. 6 is prospectively repealed by Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 (14/2018), s. 12(d), not commenced as of date of revision.

Right of Board to appeal etc. decision of board of management under section 29 of Act of 1998.

26.—(1) The Board may appeal a decision to which paragraph ( a) or ( c) of subsection (1) of section 29 of the Act of 1998 applies and accordingly a reference in the said subsection (1) to “parent of the student” or “student” shall be construed as including a reference to the Board.

...

Editorial Notes:

E12

Duties of Educational Welfare Board in relation to child, in respect of whom certain decisions are upheld under section, prescribed (5.07.2002) by Education (Welfare) Act 2000 (22/2000), s. 27, commenced as per s. 1(3). Section amended by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (9/2007), s. 6(b), not commenced as of date of revision. Not that s. 6 is prospectively repealed by Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 (14/2018), s. 12(d), not commenced as of date of revision.