School Reconfiguration for Diversity

The aim of school reconfiguration is to provide more multi-denominational schools in line with the wishes of school communities for more diversity in school type.

School Reconfiguration is when an existing school transfers its patronage to a different patron in response to a demand for more diversity in school type. This may also involve a change of ethos for the school.

The school stays open with the same roll number, school buildings, staff and children.

The outgoing patron and incoming patron should agree an implementation schedule. The schedule should take into consideration various timing imperatives such as the provision of information to, and consultation with, the school community and, where relevant, employment law notices including Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations and timing of teacher redeployment panels.
Depending on local circumstances a lead-in time of a number of years may be needed for some schools before a transfer of patronage takes place. In other cases, a shorter lead-in time may be appropriate.
When a school transfers from one patron to another, the school remains open (with the same roll number and operating from the same school property), with staff and pupils remaining in place.
The school patron is responsible for decisions on any transfer of patronage.
Final decisions in relation to reconfiguration are taken at the latest by 31 December of the year preceding the reconfiguration. For example, a reconfiguration scheduled to take place on 1 September 2023, the final decisions in relation to this should be taken by 31 December 2022.It is expected that all reconfigurations would be implemented on 1 September.
The Patron needs to make a number of practical decisions including relating to property, insurance, finances, the board of management, school name and staffing.
Where a school is transferred to an ETB as a Community National School this affects a change of employer. The outgoing BOM must complete consultation and information requirements imposed by the European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003 Section 8 to provide information about the transfer to staff regarding the proposed date, the reasons for the transfer, the legal implications for employees and a summary of any relevant economic and social implications for them. There are similar obligations for the new Board of Management.

Each school authority must ensure that they have met any vetting obligations under the Vetting Act.

When a school is transferring patronage a new Board of Management will be formed.

In the case of schools that change patron, the term of office of the Board of Management operating under the outgoing patron shall cease to exist on the day prior to the first day on which the school is open to receive pupils under the new patron.

A new Board of Management shall then be appointed by a new patron in the case of a school that changes patron in accordance with the relevant provision of the Governance Manual for Schools.

In the period pending the establishment of the new Board of Management in the school that changes patron, the patron shall manage the school or appoint a manager to discharge the functions of a Board of Management in accordance with section 14 of the Education Act, 1998.

The new Board of Management will be formed and constituted in accordance with the Governance Manual for schools.

While the Board of Management of a school is the employer of the teaching staff, teachers’ salaries are paid directly by the Department of Education. Thus, when a school changes patronage, there is no change to the pay or general employment conditions for the school principal or teaching staff.
No, while the patron of the school is the teacher’s employer, salaries are paid by the Department of Education and teacher’s pay will not be affected by a change of patronage.
Sometimes, a teacher or principal may have a strong affinity to the ethos of their school and may not wish to continue teaching under another kind of ethos.

In these circumstances, these staff members will be facilitated to continue to teach in a school of their preferred patronage and ethos, whilst at the same time minimising the impact of staff change on the school going through the reconfiguration process. This facilitation will be through the main redeployment panel.

A principal of a school that is transferring patronage and changing ethos is expected to commit to managing, leading and mediating change to respond to the evolving needs of the school. This is due to the central role of the Principal in the day to day management of a school, communicating the guiding vision and leading the realisation in the context of the school’s characteristic spirit.

If they consider they are not in a position to fully commit to leading the change process they may opt to be voluntarily redeployed, before the transfer of patronage takes place, to another school as a teacher (rather than a principal) via the relevant main panel. The option to redeploy does not depend on the size of the teaching allocation of their school.

This Principal will be entitled to retain their principal’s allowance as a personal basis allowance holder and required to undertake a leadership and management role (in line with an AP1 post) in the school they are redeployed to. If they subsequently voluntarily leave this school, they will forego this allowance.
Teachers serving in the school on the date of the transfer of patronage are given the opportunity to opt to voluntarily request redeployment to another school via the main panel of the outgoing patron of the school.

Where necessary, redeployment of teachers is by a phased approach, with a limit on the number of teachers who can transfer in any given year. A maximum of 33% of teaching staff (including principal) who request redeployment can be redeployed in each of the first three years. First preference will be given to the Principal, followed by teaching staff in order of seniority. Applications are dealt with in line with relevant staffing and redeployment circulars for that year.

The option for teachers to go on the panel expires two years after the transfer of patronage has taken place. Teachers who have requested redeployment but remain in the school awaiting redeployment in the second and third years will be required to adhere to the requirements of the new patron body in relation to upholding the ethos of the school. They can subsequently withdraw their request and opt out of redeployment if they so wish.

In a school where a phased reconfiguration is taking place, redeployment of teachers may be managed in accordance with the timing of the phased reconfiguration and a longer timescale for redeployment may apply.

Where there are surplus staff in the teaching allocation of the school which is transferring patronage, the arrangements as outlined in ‘Redeployment Arrangements at Primary Level for Surplus Permanent and CID Holding Teachers’ will operate in the normal way, save for the following:

For a period of two years from the date of transfer of patronage, surplus teachers to the school’s allocation, will have the opportunity to opt to be placed on either the main panel of the outgoing patron or the main panel of the new patron.

Redeployed teachers will retain any post of responsibility allowances (Deputy Principal, API, APII) that they hold at date of transfer on a personal basis. They will be required to undertake a leadership and management role in the receiving school which would be broadly in line with an APII post. If they leave the school voluntarily, they forego this allowance.
No. All State-funded primary schools follow a common national curriculum and are subject to the same rules and regulations.
Children in multi-denominational schools learn about all faiths and belief systems as part of the school day. This may be through a multi-belief and values education curriculum called “Goodness Me, Goodness You!” as used in ETB schools or “Learn Together”, the moral and ethical programme in Educate Together schools.

In multi-denominational schools, faith formation classes do not take place during the school day. Practices vary from school to school and can operate at a local level.

No, the role of the Inspectorate will not change for a school after school reconfiguration.
The Rules for National Schools and Department of Education Circulars will continue to apply.

A teacher will have the same terms and conditions of employment regardless of the school’s patronage i.e. leave entitlement to career breaks, EPV days, job-sharing do not change. However, as in all schools, decisions regarding Career Break applications, Job-sharing arrangements, EPV days are made by the school’s Board of Management/relevant ETB.

As in all schools, the school Principal decides on class allocation.

Where can I find further information?

For further Information see here.

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