Education (Admissions to School) Bill
- S.19 of Education Welfare Act 2000 will be replaced.
- The school’s policy must contain an explicit statement that it will not discriminate, the purpose of this is to eliminate ‘soft barriers’ (gender/religion exceptions).
- The Minister will have power to:
- make regulations regarding the content of enrolment policies
- direct cooperation between schools
- appoint an independent person to operate the admissions policy.
- S.29 Appeals regarding refusal to enrol will be repealed and replaced.
- The decision to enrol is made by the principal with an appeal to the Board of Management, its decision is ‘final’.
- Role of National Council for Special Education (“NCSE”) and the Child and Family Agency (“CFA”) to designate a school to admit certain students.
Children First Bill 2014
- It will provide a statutory basis for the Children First Guidance.
- A ‘relevant service’ (ie work or activity involving access or contact with children) must ensure that a child is kept from harm. A school is a relevant service.
- Risk assessment/child safeguarding statement to be prepared.
- Statutory reporting obligations of mandated persons to authorised persons in CFA.
- Mandated persons include teachers registered with the Teaching Council/members of the clergy/pastoral care workers/safeguarding officers.
Children and Family Relationships Bill
- Consolidation and reform of the law in relation to guardianship, custody and access.
- The definition of “father” (in terms of who will automatically be a guardian) includes a category of non-marital father who cohabits with the child’s mother for at least 12 months prior to the child’s birth, where that cohabitation ends (if applicable) not more than 10 months prior to the child’s birth.
- Cohabitees can apply to be guardians.
Teaching Council (Amendment) Bill
- To implement provisions regarding the Teaching Council’s role in the vetting of teachers in the Vetting Act (largely to be commenced).
- It will also deal with fitness to teach provisions.
- Note school disciplinary procedures will still apply.
Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012
- To provide for a regime where certain convictions can be disregarded after a number of years have elapsed since they were imposed.
- Where a person has a spent conviction, they will not be required to disclose that conviction in a situation where they would normally have to do so (eg employment context).
Universities (Amendment) Bill
- To give the Minister the power to require universities to comply with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers.
Technological Universities Bill
- To establish Technological Universities and related amendments.