Decree-Law No 7/03, 15 January, amended by Law No 41/03, 22 August, regulates the responsibilities, make-up and management of the municipal education boards, and the procedures for the preparation and approval of the Education Charter.
The municipal education board is a coordination and advisory body that oversees education policy at municipal level, articulating the actions of interested educational agents and social partners, analysing and monitoring the education system, as well as proposing measures to promote greater efficiency and effectiveness in the educational system (Decree-Law No 7/2003, 15 January, Art. 3).
At municipal level, the Education Charter is used for prospective planning of educational facilities, according to educational and training needs to ensure a better use of the educational resources according to demographic and socio-economic development of each municipality.
To this end, the Education Charter aims to ensure the suitability of the network of pre-school, basic and upper secondary education establishments so that the educational provision available at municipal level meets demand (Decree-Law No 7/2003, 15 January).
Decree-Law No 75/2008, 22 April approves the autonomy, administration and management of pre-school and compulsory education in public education institutions, establishing the following school administration and management bodies:
- The general council is the senior strategic management body, responsible for defining the guidelines of school activity, ensuring the involvement and representation of the educational community.
- School head: administration and management body of the school, or school cluster for educational, cultural, administrative, financial and asset-related areas.
- Pedagogical council: the body responsible for pedagogical coordination and supervision, defining the pedagogical direction of the school, or school cluster, namely in the pedagogic/didactic and student guidance and monitoring fields, as well as in supervising the initial and continuing training of teaching and non-teaching staff.
- Administrative council: the body responsible for taking decisions on administrative and financial matters.
Parents are represented by parents’ associations that defend and promote the interests of their members in all matters concerning the education of their children who attend public, private or cooperative pre-school, basic or upper secondary education. Parents' associations are independent of the state, political parties, religious organisations and any other institutions or interests.
Regarding adult education and certified training, provision is managed locally by the Employment and Vocational Training Institute’s employment centres which, in conjunction with the local authorities and the business sector, autonomously define training programmes that meet the needs of the local labour market. Something similar occurs with vocational schools which, most being dependent on local council initiatives, seek to offer non-higher training provision according to local needs.
Basic and upper secondary schools also offer adult education and training provision with school certification and dual certification, academic and vocational, in response to needs identified locally and also by Qualifica Centres. This provision is free of charge and taught during after-work hours (or, when requested, during the day or a combination of the two).
In 2019, the 22nd Constitutional Government implemented the transfer of duties regarding education to municipal and inter-municipal bodies (Decree-Law No 21/2019, 30 January, rectified by Declaration of Rectification No 10/2019, 25 March and amended by article 189 of Decree-Law No 84/2019, 29 June, by article 422 of Law No 2/2020, 31 March and by Decree-Law No 56/2020, 12 August). This legislation conducts the new transfer of powers from the direct and indirect governance of the State to local government, operated by Law No 50/2018, 16 August, implementing and developing the principles of subsidiarity, the autonomy of local authorities and the democratic decentralisation of public administration, set out in paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.