Governance Services are provided by the Edmund Rice Schools Trust in accordance with the ethos of our schools and the legal framework under which they operate. The executive provides ongoing advice and support for Boards of Management and Principals in our 33 Primary and 63 Secondary schools in matters relating to good governance and the role of trusteeship.
In our ERST Primary Schools, the Boards of Management operate under the patronage of the local bishop. Every four years, the Edmund Rice Schools Trust nominates the Chairperson and a Trustee/Patron representative to our Primary Boards of Management for appointment by the Patron. Primary School Boards’ governing documents are: The Education Act 1998, The Governance Manual for Primary Schools 2019-2023 and the Edmund Rice Schools Charter.
Governing Documents for Primary Schools
At second level, the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Directors are the legal Patron as outlined in Section 8 of the Education Act 1998. The Directors of the Trust appoint all 8 members of the Boards of Management in each of our 62 secondary schools on a three year rolling basis. The Trustees appoint the Chairperson and three other Trustee nominees, the two parent elected nominees and the two teacher elected nominees. Secondary Boards governing documents are: the Education Act 1998, the Articles of Management for Voluntary Secondary Schools and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Charter.
Governing Documents for Secondary Schools
School Boards of Management operate under the Education Act 1998 and more recent legislation which sets out the legal requirements regarding schools’ Admissions, Behaviour and Anti-Bullying and Child Protection policies. In recent years, the Charities Governance Code, Child Protection legislation and the Education (Admissions to Schools) Act 2018 outline the legal role of the the Trustees. At second level in the above areas, the approval of the Trustees or Patron is a requirement.
The Trust also plays a key role in advocating on behalf of our schools with the Department of Education and Skills, Diocesan Offices and other Trustees in relation to schools changing status i.e. proposals for change to co-education, amalgamation and the feasibility of a Sruth Lán Gaelach. We actively encourage all of our schools to include ASD provision as stated in our Strategic Plan. The Trust is available to advise and support the Boards of Management as they engage in future planning.
The Trust supports the Board in ensuring that best practice pertains regarding financial accountability and good governance. All new property and building projects must be approved by the Trust.
The Principal is responsible to the Board of Management for the day to day running of the school. The Principal acts as Secretary to the Board and ensures that records are kept and reports are made to the Board at all meetings.
The Trust advises and supports the Board of Management during the interview process for Principals and Deputy Principals at Second level and for Principals at Primary level.
The Trust provides ongoing advice and support to principals in relation to governance and trusteeship issues through conferences, training seminars and cluster meetings and in response to any needs or issues that might present.
We recognise the key role of all staff in our schools. Our Boards are required to have in place a Safety Statement, a Dignity in the Workplace policy and a contract for each person employed in our schools.
The Edmund Rice Schools Trust actively encourages parents to become involved in their children’s education through participation as elected parent nominees on Boards of Management and as members of the Parents’ Council.
The Edmund Rice Schools Trust values the key role of the teaching staff. We actively promote the leadership role of teachers in the context of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Charter. Teachers are encouraged by the Trust to participate in the Immersion Programme, Student Council training, ethos-based leadership courses and as members of Boards of Management.