Role and Constitution of the Parents’ Association
Provision is made in the Education Act 1998 to allow parents of students of a school to set up a Parents' Association. The Act states that:
The parents of students of a recognized school may establish and maintain from among their number a Parents' Association for the school and membership of that association shall be open to all parents of students of that school.
The Parents' Association in a school works with the principal, staff and board of management to build effective co-operation and partnership between home and school.
The role of the Parents' Association is set down in the Education Act 1998 as follows:
A Parents' Association shall promote the interests of the students in a school in co-operation with the board, principal, teachers and students.
The Education Act also sets out two broad tasks for a Parents' Association which are:
- To advise the Principal or the Board on matters relating to the school
- To adopt a programme of activities which will promote the involvement of parents in the operation of the school, in consultation with the Principal.
To operate effectively as a Parents' Association you need to have mechanisms in place whereby you can establish the views of the parents and pupils on matters relating to the school. In this way you can select activities that will promote parental and student involvement.
While all parents of pupils of a school are members of the Parents' Association, the majority do not need to be involved in the day-to-day activities of the association. Usually the parents who are elected to the committee manage the responsibilities of the Parents' Association on behalf of the other parents. The formation of the committee is usually determined by the size of the school and the activities to be undertaken.
The Constitution of the Parents' Association is as follows:
- The name of the Association shall be the Loreto Stephen’s Green Parents' Association hereafter referred to as the Parents' Association.
The Aims of The Parents' Association
- To assist in furthering the objectives of the school.
- To provide a forum to inform and consult parents regarding school policy, plans and activities and to communicate parents’ views on such issues to the school Principal. However, the Parents’ Association will not be involved in matters relating to the internal administration of the school.
- To encourage and facilitate the participation of parents in promoting the well-being and interests of the pupils of the school.
- To work, through affiliation, with regional or national bodies representing parents where such affiliation would be in the best interests of the pupils, school and parents. The decision to affiliate to any such body will be at the discretion of the Committee.
- All parents and guardians of pupils of Loreto College, 53 St. Stephen’s Green shall be deemed to be members of the Parents’ Association.
- The business of the Parents’ Association shall be carried out by an executive committee, hereafter called the Committee.
- The term for membership of the Committee shall be two years, or where required to facilitate a transition from the previous membership term and subject to the approval of the members by ordinary resolution, three years. It shall not be possible to serve two consecutive terms on the Committee.
- If a member does not attend three consecutive Committee meetings, without good reason, he/she will be deemed to have resigned from the Committee.
- Each class shall have one parent or guardian, elected by the parents/guardians of that class, as a representative on the Committee.
- In addition to the class representatives, the Principal and another representative of the school shall be ex-officio members of the Committee with no voting rights.
- In the event of a member of the Committee resigning or if a particular class does not elect a representative at the AGM, the Committee may co-opt a parent/guardian to the vacancy until the next AGM.
- At its first meeting the Committee shall elect, for a term of one year, Officers of the Association, namely a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer from amongst its members. A simple majority will determine the outcome of the election for those posts. In the event of a tie the matter shall be decided by the drawing of lots. The Officers may hold the positions for a maximum of two successive years but must be re-elected by the members of the Committee each year. If for any reason an officer is unable or unwilling to continue to act the Committee shall elect a replacement from amongst its members at the next available opportunity.
- Committee meetings shall be chaired by the chairperson, or by the vice-chairperson in the absence of the chairperson. If neither is in attendance the members present shall elect a chair for the meeting.
- The Secretary shall record the minutes of the meeting for approval at the next meeting.
- The Committee shall hold at least one meeting each term.
- Fifty percent of its membership shall constitute a quorum for any Committee meeting.
- The Committee may, at its discretion, set up any sub-committee it deems necessary for specific purposes.
- All decisions of the Committee shall be decided by a simple majority of all members voting on an issue and in the event of a tied vote the Chairperson shall have a casting vote.
Annual General Meeting
- An Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the members of the Parents’ Association shall be held before the end of October each year.
- At least three weeks notice of the date of the AGM shall be given, in writing, to the members of the Parents’ Association. The notice shall include the agenda for the AGM.
- Fifty members of the Parents Association shall constitute a quorum for the AGM.
- A report on the activities of the Parents’ Association and on its financial position shall be presented to the AGM
- Notification of upcoming vacancies on the Committee shall be circulated to parents and guardians in the classes where vacancies exist at least three weeks before the AGM. Any parent or guardian interested in seeking election to a vacancy on the Committee should inform the Chairperson of the Association in writing at least two weeks before the Annual General Meeting. A ballot paper listing candidates for election will be circulated not later than seven days prior to the AGM to the parents/guardians of the classes where elections are required. The ballot paper should be completed and returned to the Chairperson no later than the day before the AGM. The results of the ballot will be announced at the AGM.
- Each parent or guardian shall be entitled to vote in elections to the Committee in respect of vacancies arising in the representation of a class in which he/she has a child.
- Any amendment to the constitution should be passed by a simple majority of those attending the AGM. Notice of any proposed amendments should be submitted in writing to the Secretary, not later than two weeks before the due date of the AGM.
- The Committee shall apply all membership fees and all other funds raised by it to further the aims of the Parents’ Association. All funds include any surplus of income over expenditure. The Committee will endeavour to maintain a modest surplus at the end of each financial year.
- The financial year for the Parents’ Association accounts shall be 1 September to 31 August. Annual financial accounts shall be prepared for each financial year and presented for the approval of the members of the Parents’ Association at the next AGM.
- The accounts shall make provision for expenses incurred and not yet paid, and income earned and not yet received.
- A copy of the annual financial accounts shall be forwarded to the Board of Management once approved by the Parents’ Association.
- The Committee shall prepare an income and expenditure plan for each year no later than 1st December of that year.
- Cheques drawn on the Parents’ Association account shall be signed by two signatories. Authorised signatories shall be the Principal and the Treasurer, or in the absence of the Treasurer, another nominated Officer of the Committee.
- The Committee shall propose to the Board of Management the level of subscription fees for the following year for their approval.
Board of Management
- The Committee shall organise the selection, from the members of the Parents’ Association, of two parent representatives (the Parent Representatives) to the Board of Management.
- The Parent Representatives shall be selected for a three year term.
- All members of the Parents’ Association shall be eligible for selection as Parent Representatives.
- Notice of vacancies shall be sent to all members of the Parents’ Association each of whom shall be eligible to offer themselves for selection.
- If more than two candidates offer themselves for selection an election shall take place with all members of the Parents’ Association being eligible to vote on the basis of one vote per household. In the event of a tie, the matter shall be decided by the drawing of lots.
- Parent Representatives shall be deemed to be ex-officio members of the Committee.
- An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) may be called at the written request, of not less than forty parents of existing pupils in the then current school year. The request should state clearly the reason for the meeting. Such a meeting will be convened within 30 days of receipt of a properly constituted request. Fifty parents shall constitute a quorum for the EGM.
- Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraph 5.7, this Constitution shall be reviewed by the Committee at least every 5 years and the results of that review shall be presented to the subsequent AGM.
- In the event of the dissolution of the Association, all its assets shall pass to the Board of Management.