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Department consults over draft Bill 4 April 2008

THE Department of Education is today going out to consultation over a draft Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

The Department, having reviewed the Education Act 2001, wishes to bring forward a Bill that will deal with the following issues:

• The abolition of the Board of Education and the establishment of a Panel of Governors in its place.

• The requirement for parents to notify the Department (if their child is not registered at a state school) of the provision they are making to ensure their child receives an appropriate education.

• An increase in the maximum fine, from £1,000 to £5,000, on a parent for the non attendance of a child registered at a state school. The Bill will also give the power to the Department to impose a fixed penalty to be imposed for non attendance issues.

• The power of a police officer to remove a truant child to a school or designated premises.

• Various matters dealing with the discipline of children.

• A requirement on employers to notify the Department when they employ a child.

Those being consulted are: Members of Tynwald, schools, the Isle of Man College, the International Business School, Departments and Boards of Tynwald, local authorities, unions and professional associations, Church groups and members of the public.

Education Minister Anne Craine MHK said:

‘This Bill is in part a tidying up exercise of various issues which need resolving or tightening up on within the Department.’

Mrs Craine said:

‘The public have been made aware that we are replacing the previously elected Board of Education with a body of governors who will be appointed to assist the Department in carrying out its role and this provides the legislation to do that.
‘In addition, the Bill covers other areas such as a requirement for parents to let the Department know if their children are not attending a state school and what alternative provision they are making for them. This is an area that concerns me greatly because at the present time we do not have a clear picture as to the whereabouts of our children and that is not satisfactory in this day and age.
‘The Bill also encompasses areas of discipline and the ability to control unruly children,’ said the Minister. ‘I hope that the Bill will be welcomed by both staff and the public and look forward to receiving their comments.’

The consultation period runs until Friday 16 May 2008. Comments should be sent in writing to John Gill, Head of Legal and Administrative Services, Department of Education, St George’s Court, Upper Church Street, Douglas.

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