New Governance Manual for Primary Schools

Sep 24, 2019

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Tuesday September 24) thanked thousands of volunteers who have served on primary school boards of management over the last four years.

The Minister passed on his thanks as a new Governance Manual for Primary Schools 2019-2023 is published to help schools prepare for new boards of management.

Minister McHugh said: “Thousands of people volunteer and give up their time, knowledge and experience for the good of their schools and the school community to work on boards of management of primary schools. They deserve huge credit.

“They make an enormous contribution to the management and operation of our schools.

“It is a huge commitment to ensure that schools are managed to provide all pupils with the best possible education. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.”

The Department announced that schools will be arranging elections over the coming weeks for appointments to new boards of management that will take up office from 1 December.

The governance manual being launched today contains a helpful overview of the role of the board in addition to the various rules regarding the composition and operation of boards.

The board of management structure has been in place since 1975 and currently operates in more than 3,200 primary schools. Each board generally has eight members, two of whom are parent representatives with membership designed to reflect all the different interests in the school community including the patron, parents, teachers and wider community.

Minister McHugh said: “The most effective schools boards should have a clear understanding of their governance role and responsibilities and are fully aware of the importance of good communications with the school community.

“Some schools are already doing excellent work communicating and consulting with the community. The recently published Student and Parent Charter Bill aims to continue and develop that spirit of partnership that makes our schools what they are. It will help improve the level of engagement between schools and students and their parents by inviting feedback, comment and observations from students and parents and by developing a listening culture in the school.”

There are also plans for the Primary Education Forum to hold further discussions about what future governance arrangements and responsibilities for school boards of management may look like.

Minister McHugh added: “I want to thank management bodies for their work with boards of management including the training, advice and guidance. All new boards should seek out this support.”

Further information is available on