Education Act 1998
The Education Act, 1998 was signed into law in December 1998. The Act provides, for the first time, a statutory framework for the Irish education system at first and second levels. As such, it represents a landmark in Irish education. The Act sets out broad objectives and principles underpinning the education system and provides for the rights of children and others to education. It also clarifies the roles and the responsibilities of teachers, Principals, school patrons, Boards of Management and the Minister.
It provides a framework for the development of a supportive and dynamic working environment for teachers and school managers and promotes the development of partnership in education at school level and at national level, providing for consultation with teachers, parents, school patrons, and Boards of Management on a wide range of issues.
Section 1 of the Act allows for different parts of the Act to be commenced at different times. Section 1 provides for a maximum two-year commencement period; any provisions that had not been commenced by 23rd December, 2000 were to automatically come into effect on that date. The Act was commenced in three parts. The first commencement order was made on the 5th February, 1999 and the second on the 23rd December, 1999. Taken together, these orders commenced 51 sections of the 59 sections in the Act, as well as both schedules in the Act. The third and final commencement order was made on 22nd December, 2000.
Section 29 - Amendment
Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, allows parents, and students over the age of 18 years, the right to appeal decisions by a board of management in relation to suspension or permanent expulsion from a school and in relation to refusal to enrol. In 2007, Section 29 of the Education Act was amended to require an appeals committee, operating under Section 29, to take account, inter alia, of the educational interests of other students in the school, as well as the student who is the subject of the appeal; the maintenance of a school environment supportive of learning; the safety, health and welfare of teachers and staff; and the safety, health and welfare of other students.