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Primary School Governance


Governance Manual for Primary Schools 2019-2023


The Governance Manual for Primary Schools 2019-2023 is available to download from the Department of Education & Skills website.


The Bishop is the recognised patron of the Catholic school in his diocese. In that capacity the Bishop has certain rights and responsibilities, particularly in relation to ethos, the appointment of the Board of Management, the appointment of staff, enrolment/admission policy, insurance and buildings. In appointing the Board of Management of the school, the Bishop delegates to the members certain responsibilities. Such delegation carries a duty of accountability by the Board of Management to the Bishop and to the Department of Education and Skills.

Subject to the approval of the Minister, the Bishop, as Patron of the school, may at any time, resume the direct management of the school, or may nominate another manager to manage the school. 

Decisions about the arrangements to be entered into for new schools (including repacement schools) are the prerogative of the Patron of the schools. Boards of Management should refer all such issues to the Patron.

Board of Management:

Boards of Mangement are appointed for a term of four years. The term of office for the current members of Boards of Management is 1st December 2019 to 30th November 2023.

Constitution of Boards:

For schools that have a recognised staff of more than one teacher the Board of Management will comprise of the following:

  • Two direct nominees of the Patron.

  • Two parents of children enrololed in the school (one mother and one father). These are elected by the general body of parents of children who are enrolled in the school.

  • The Principal Teacher or the Acting Principal Teacher of the school.

  • One other serving teacher on the staff of the school. This person will be elected by the staff of the school including the Principal Teacher.

  • Two community nominees chosen by the other members of the board.

For schools that have a recognised staff of one teacher the Board of Management will comprise of the following:

  • One direct nominee of the patron.

  • The Principal Teacher of the school.

  • One parent of children enrolled in the school. This person will be elected by the general body of parents of children who are enrolled in the school.

  • One community nominee chosen by the other members of the board.

Functions of a Board of Management - Section 15 Education Act 1998

(1) It shall be the duty of a board to manage the school on behalf of the patron and for the benefit of the students and their parents and to provide or cause to be provided an appropriate education for each student at the school for which that board has responsibility.

(2) A board shall perform the functionsconferred on it and on a school by this Act and in carrying out its functions the board shall-

  • Do so in accordance with the policies determined by the Minister from time to time,

  • Uphold, and be accountable to the patron for so upholding, the characteristic spirit of the school as determined by the cultural, educational, moral, religious, social, linguistic and spiritual values and traditions which inform and are characteristic of the objectives and conduct of the school, and at all times act in accordance with any Act of the Oireachtas or instrument made thereunder, deed, charter, articles management or other such instrument relating to the establishment or operation of the school,

  • Consult with and keep the patron informed of decisions and proposals of the board,

  • Publish, in such manner as the board with the agreement of the patron considers appropriate, the policy of the school concerning admission to and participation in the school, including the policy of the school relating to the expulsion and suspension of students and admission to and participation by students with disabilities or who have other special educational needs, and ensure that as regards that policy principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parents’ choice are respected and such directions as may be made from time to time by the Minister, having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school and the constitutional rights of all persons concerned, are complied with,

  • Have regard to the principles and requirements of a democratic society and have respect and promote respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society,

  • Have regard to the efficient use of resources (and, in particular, the efficient use of grants provided under section 12), the public interest in the affairs of the school and accountability to students, their parents, the patron, staff and the community served by the school, and

  • Use the resources provided to the school from monies provided by the Oireachtas to make reasonable provision and accommodation for students with a disability or other special educational needs, including, where necessary, alteration of buildings and provision of appropriate equipment.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in the Act shall confer or be deemed to confer on the board any right over or interest in the land and buildings of the school for which the board is responsible.