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Online Patronage Process System (OPPS)

Department of Education and Skills Logo
Online Patronage Process System (OPPS)
What is a School Patron?

A patron operates the school and appoints the Board of Management of the school.

Under Section 8 of the Education Act, 1998, the Patron of a school is described as

(1 )(a)The person who, at the commencement of this section, is recognised by the Minister as the patron of a primary school, and

(b) the persons who, at the commencement of this section, stand appointed as trustees or as the board of governors of a post-primary school and, where there are no such trustees or such board, the owner of that school,

shall be deemed to be the patron for the purposes of this Act and the Minister shall enter his, her or their name, as appropriate, in a register kept for that purpose by the Minister.


Patron Functions
  • Appointment of the school’s board of management
  • Suspension, if necessary, of the board of management
  • Responsibility for the school’s characteristic spirit, for which the board of management is accountable to the patron
  • Ultimate responsibility/liability for industrial relations
  • Responsibility for school property (and insurance)
  • Financial matters – annual budgets and reports
  • Decisions on school status such as extension, amalgamation, closure

Community Colleges are established by the local Education and Training Board (ETB) which is also the sole patron of the school. Community Colleges are funded by the Department of Education and Skills through the ETBs and deliver the post-primary curriculum determined by the Minister for Education and Skills supported by syllabuses, guidelines for teachers, circulars to schools and prescribed material for the examinations.

Community Schools are established either by one or more private or religious patrons coming together with an ETB patron or as the result of the amalgamation of voluntary secondary and ETB schools. Community Schools are funded by the Department of Education and Skills and deliver the post-primary curriculum determined by the Minister for Education and Skills supported by syllabuses, guidelines for teachers, circulars to schools and prescribed material for the examinations.

Voluntary Secondary Schools are privately owned and managed post-primary schools, usually under the patronage of an individual body such as a religious community, a charitable trust or a private charitable company. Voluntary Secondary Schools are funded by the Department of Education and Skills and deliver the post-primary curriculum determined by the Minister for Education and Skills supported by syllabuses, guidelines for teachers, circulars to schools and prescribed material for the examinations.