Law - Education Law

Law Society of Ireland

Law - Education Law

Programme objectives
On completion of this training programme, participants will have:

An excellent understanding of the key employment law issues relevant to the school setting;

An understanding of school structures and governance arrangements;

A thorough knowledge of admissions policies and student conduct issues;

Knowledge of the legal issues relating to special educational needs;

Familiarity with key considerations regarding negligence and litigation management;

A thorough knowledge of child protection issues; and

An understanding of matters relevant to higher, further, and adult education.

Programme structure and approach to learning
Now in its sixth year, this highly regarded advanced-level diploma provides participants with a comprehensive understanding of the complex legal topics that arise when advising on education law matters. The practice of education law encompasses a diverse range of potential practice areas, including employment law, equality law, conflict resolution, corporate governance, child protection, and litigation. Added to this complexity of potential legal issues is the fact that, in order to provide effective and informed solutions, those advising in education law disputes also need to understand the governance and decision-making structures that apply within a particular school.

This course begins with a general introduction to the often fascinating development of education law in Ireland, considering key constitutional and legislative provisions, before reflecting in more detail on the specific day-to-day issues that arise when advising on education law matters or, indeed, when acting as a decision-maker within a school.

The course is designed to be as accessible as possible, with key sessions taking place during standard school holidays and all lectures webcast and accessible “live” or in playback format.

Subjects taught

The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Employment law in the school context – part 1
Recruitment of staff; status of workers,
The contract of employment and understanding Contracts of Indefinite Duration (CIDs),
Grievance and disciplinary procedures,
Termination of employment and unfair dismissals,
The Teaching Council, registration, and “fitness to teach” – part 5 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2021.

Module 2: Employment law in the school context – part 2
Promotion of staff and appointment procedures for principals,
Equality in the workplace,
Managing bullying and harassment within schools,
The application of the Transfer of Undertaking Regulations in the school context.

Module 3: Admissions policies and student conduct
Admission, enrolment policies, and equality provisions,
Codes of behaviour and school disciplinary procedures,
Peer-to-peer bullying and student use of social media,
Managing parental complaints.

Module 4: School structures and governance
Legislative framework – the Education Act 1988 and amending legislation,
Structure and role of boards of management,
The role of principals and teachers,
Financial management,
The inspectorate.

Module 5: Negligence and litigation management
The duty of care in the school context,
The standard of care,
When the duty of care arises and the “boundaries” of the school,
Sporting activities organised by schools,
Teacher negligence and contributory negligence of children,
Degree of supervision and student maturity,
Liability of the school authority.

Module 6: Providing for special educational needs
Constitutional considerations and legislative provisions,
School policies and procedures for special educational needs,
Roles and functions of boards of management and principals,
The examination and assessment process,
Equality law provisions, with a focus on disability discrimination.

Module 7: Compliance matters and miscellaneous provisions
Freedom of information and data protection concerns relevant to schools,
Child protection obligations and the role of the designated liaison person,
The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 as amended,
Participating in case conferences – best practice,
Tusla reporting requirements,
Health and safety provisions.

Module 8: Higher, further, and adult education
Governance structures at third level,
Student conduct issues,
Issues relevant to international students.
The examination process and managing plagiarism.

Workshops are a key feature of this course. These are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected case-study problems and analysis, with an emphasis on the application of the law to common scenarios encountered in practice. Workshop dates are as follows:

1. Employment and equality law issues relevant in the school context.
Saturday 27 January 2024

2. School structures and governance; litigation management; and providing for special education needs.
Saturday 17 February 2024

3. Full course review
Thursday 11 April 2024

Entry requirements

Who should attend?
This course is suitable for the following:

Solicitors, barristers, and trainees who advise or wish to advise on education law matters, and

Key stakeholders and decision-makers within the education setting, including school principals, teachers, management organisations, trade unions, and staff associations.

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified non-members. Please explain your interest and set out any relevant experience in a cover letter and a brief CV. Such applications are subject to a supplemental fee of €335.

Application dates

The closing date for applications for this course is Friday 20 October 2023.
To apply for this course please follow the instructions on the course webpage - link below


Delivery Method
Block placement Friday and Saturday sessions (to coincide with periods of school leave) with some evening lectures online.

Enrolment dates

Start Date
Friday 3 November 2023 at 10:00 AM

More details
  • Attendance type

    Part time,Daytime,Weekend

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