365. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the success rate for facilitators appointed by the section 29 appeals committees in circumstances in which such committees considered that it may have been possible to facilitate agreement between appellants and school boards of management in brokering agreements between parties to appeals in each of the years 2016 and 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15452/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018)
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): A facilitator is generally appointed, within 8 to 10 days, following the receipt of an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act, 1998. A facilitator is not appointed in cases where the school in question is managed by an Educational Training Board (ETB) as all section 29 appeals relating to these schools are taken to the ETB, in the first instance.
The appointment of a facilitator provides assistance for both parties to the appeal to reach agreement on the matter which is the subject of the appeal. Where resolution is agreed at this stage the appellant will withdraw their appeal and the appeal will not proceed to a hearing. An appellant may also decide to withdraw an appeal after the facilitation process where they decide not to continue with an appeal.
In 2016, 44% of section 29 appeals lodged were withdrawn or resolved before an appeal hearing, in 2017 47% of appeals were withdrawn or resolved before an appeal hearing and in 2018, to date, 54% of appeals lodged have been withdrawn or resolved prior to hearing stage.