Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has quite rightly pointed out that most parents want to attend parent-teacher meetings, but may not be able to take time off work to do so. Parents are now caught in the middle of a dispute involving the secondary teachers' union ASTI, as managers of 380 schools are told to go ahead with these meetings despite the union's insistence that they can only take place inside the school day.
Management body the JMB rightly want parent-teacher meetings, especially for exam classes, to commence soon and members of the ASTI are equally adamant that the out-of-hours meetings are banned.
Either way parents lose out. Parents of exam-year students are under a lot of pressure and even stress already and adding to the burden seems quite unfair.
Because of the current dispute they may have to choose to leave work for an indeterminate time so that teachers have the luxury of holding meetings at their own convenience within school hours.
Other parents will also suffer collateral damage. Even though they are not involved, their children will have to be sent home as early as 1pm to facilitate teachers attending such parent-teacher meetings. Parents should not be put in such a situation, but it seems this is just the first salvo in the dispute which has arisen because the ASTI said no to Haddington Road.