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BUILDING EDUCATION FUTURES Budget submission Conference details Middle Leadership ICT Schools New school building Leaving Cert. analysis Welfare Insert And lots more!

October 2013

A Publication of the National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals




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FEATURES 8 Conference Details What’s happening in Galway

9 Managements Call for end to Cuts

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Page 12

34 Innovation 21c

How to make it work


Mary Sheridan and Niall Lynch

Seamus Ryan

28 Leaving Cert. analysis 2013

39 The Leader Reader

Change and continuity Seán McDonagh

10 Middle leadership

36 Phoenix NEW!!

Working Group proposals

Rising from the ruins of the old order – a photo-essay

12 Inspirational Leadership Distilling the Essence of Henry V Ben Walden and Mary Brake

14 Leaders of Learning Old school – new style. Wilson’s Hospital moves with the times. Derek West

17 Buzzing Barracks Creative Engagement Celebrations at the National Museum

Making Difficult Conversations

48 Comment Education Matters Clive Byrne



5 First Lady

Youth Mental Health Junior Cycle

Kay O’Brien

Triumphant euro-scientists

6 The National Executive

Promoting Thinking Skills

23 The Very Useful Guide –

Media management

School lunch

Essential Time-lines NAPD AND



Cover illustration: Our thanks to Mary Kennedy, Newpark Comprehensive, who saw the big crane moving on site, as the bulding started – after a wait of nearly 20 years!

Budget submission Conference details Middle Leadership ICT Schools

Top TIE group is out of the game

42 Cúram

Philip Hollwey and Mary Kennedy


20 All up for TEAM

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21 The eSchool

Leaders Singing off the same hymn-sheet.

Compiled by Áine O’Neill




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New school building Leaving Cert. analysis Welfare Insert And lots more!

David Meredith October 2013

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A Publication of the National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals





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Leader EDITOR:

Season of Mists and Busyness


Photo: Nick West

ou only have to look at the centre pages of the LEADER, at the school time-lines, to see what a busy month this is for principals and deputy principals, and, in this particular year, with the Budget and the industrial action, there is considerable tension in schools...

Formerly straightforward events, such as the annual prize-giving, staff planning or parent-teacher meetings are now fraught with dilemmas for teachers and management. The problem is particularly acute in two-union schools, where there is a disturbing potential for bitter division. Many school leaders are exercised, too, by having to negotiate a path between serving the interests of the school students and complying with the instructions of their union. The NAPD leadership has been working hard to find solutions for its members and is determined to promote calm, rather than stir conflict. The Presidents and the Director are on hand to offer support to troubled members.

Derek West Email: Mobile: 087 289 1443

ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS How to contact Leader You can send your comments, replies, letters to the editor etc. E:

DISCLAIMER Articles produced in this publication solely represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of NAPD. Every effort has been made to fulfil requirements with regard to reproducing copyright material. NAPD will be glad to rectify any omissions at the earliest opportunity.


October also offers school leaders the chance of a mini-break at the Galway Conference, with opportunities to relax, network, ‘mix ‘n’ mingle’ as Clive Byrne would have it [See outline on page 8].

Layout & Print: Mark Daniel CRM Design & Print, Unit 6, Bridgecourt Office Park, Dublin 12.

It’s also a time to reflect on what education is about, both through the varied inputs from key-note speakers and through the pages of Le Chéile, which will reach you shortly.

Photography: Nick West, Derek West, Paddy Boyle, David MacPherson.

‘The power of now’ is rather daunting right now, but, as leaders, we also need to keep a broader perspective in mind. We are concerned not only with now, but with a better future.


For the first time, the LEADER is featuring advertisements on its pages. Apart from enjoying some vital revenue, the presence of advertising allows us to bring additional information to readers and, from a technical point of view, provides some very handy fillers for those awkward corners of the magazine! Please support our advertisers if you can.

11 Wentworth, Eblana Villas, Grand Canal Street Lower, Dublin 2 Tel: (01) 662 7025 Fax: (01) 662 7058 Email:

See you in Galway!!

Derek West October 2013


Find NAPD On-Line [], on Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo. Page 3

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Health Insurance Are you paying too much for your cover? The health insurance market in Ireland is constantly changing. Prices are increasing almost every month which is forcing more and more people to either reduce their cover or exit the market altogether. Almost 65,000 consumers cancelled their cover in 2012 and a further 41,000 have already cancelled their cover in the first half of 2013. Whilst there has never been more choice, the sheer number of plans on the market makes it difficult for consumers to make like-for-like comparisons. Our experience shows that approximately half of all health insurance members may be insured on the wrong plans and therefore paying way over the odds for their cover.


To address the question of whether you’re paying too much, it’s necessary to consider the following; Q



Are you aware of the protection afforded to all consumers under the health insurance legislation? Community rating means that all consumers must pay the same regardless of their age, gender or medical history. Open Enrolment means that they must accept all risks and Lifetime Cover means that they have to renew your cover annually regardless of how many claims have been made. This means that the insurers have to give you credit for waiting periods already served and they can’t ask you any questions regarding previous or future medical treatment. In summary, this means that if you have served your waiting periods with one insurer, then all other registered insurers must give you full credit for same. Therefore, if you have been insured with one insurer for 20 years and are switching to an identical plan with an alternative provider, they must accept you and put you on cover immediately. An upgrade rule will apply only if you are upgrading your cover in any way and the insurer should explain this to you If you are on the same plan for more than 3 years, the odds are that you are over-paying for your health cover. New plans are being introduced monthly and in some cases, the insurer will launch a cloned version of an existing plan with a different name, but at a lower cost. Plans like the VHI Health Plus Extra (B Options), Laya Essential Plus and the Aviva Level 2 Hospital all offer excellent cover, but due to successive price increases, there are many other lower cost alternatives that might meet your requirements but at significant savings to you If you have all the family insured on the same plan, you could be missing out on cost savings. We recommend that all families consider ‘Split Cover’ where each family member is insured on a plan that meets their own personal requirements. For example, you can insure the adults on a high cost plan and have the children on a lower level of cover, but everyone will still be insured on the one policy. Many consumers think that they must have everyone insured on the same level of cover which is not the case


Many consumers have increased their healthcare cover to cover things like private accommodation in private hospitals (level 3 cover) or provide additional cover for routine medical expenses such as the Health Steps Gold from VHI or Dayto-Day 50 from Aviva. In relation to the private room issue, having the cover doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually receive same and if it’s not available at the time of admission, you’ll be accommodated in a semi-private room instead (no more than 5 beds in the ward). Unless a private room is essential for you, we recommend that you consider dropping to a level 2 plan which will reduce your costs substantially and you still retain all of the essential elements of your cover except for the private room. If you hold the Health Steps Gold or Day-to-Day 50 plans, you need to consider some of the new ‘corporate plans’ which combine both hospital and routine cover all in one plan. This raises another important point which confuses many consumers; everyone can join any plan that’s on the market regardless of what it’s called or who the target audience is. When speaking to your insurer or advisor, make sure that they consider all plans when reviewing your cover If you don’t review your cover fully at renewal, you may be missing out on ‘special offers’ that have been launched to the market. These vary from discounts on certain plans for all members to half-price cover for children under 18 years of age. When these are available, you can leave the adults on one level of cover and avail of the discounted offers for your children (split cover if applicable) which could mean substantial savings in your pocket. The new provider GloHealth is the only insurer to offer free cover for all children under 3 years of age on their Better Plan or Higher. This is a minimum saving of â‚Ź230 per child per year until the child is 3 on GloHealth Better or Higher Plans. If one parent wanted to remain with their existing provider, the other parent could join GloHealth with their children to avail of the savings. Occasionally, the insurers will launch new ‘corporate’ plans at very competitive rates for one of their large corporate clients. Always watch out for these new plans as all consumers can avail of same if you like the benefit structure.

Having good health insurance cover in place has never been more important. Public hospital charges continue to rise, e.g. the ₏75 per night public hospital charge will soon increase to ₏80 per night (public accommodation) whilst the cost of semi-private accommodation is approximately ₏950 per night excluding consultants’ fees. Hopefully, the above points will ensure that you can remain insured but also pocket some well needed savings for you or your family.


Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.

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Kay O’Brien President, NAPD DARK CLOUDS As I write there are dark clouds looming. It is no surprise to any of us (though some hoped for a different outcome) that the relentless series of cutbacks foisted on teachers and school leaders has erupted into frustration, anger and an industrial dispute. Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (FEMPI) legislation and the Haddington Road Agreement, along with the Croke Park Agreement, have now entered the lexicon of titles synonymous with damage and cutbacks to our education system. NAPD offers professional support and a strong united voice to those who are members in all sectors and in many different types of school, large and small, urban and rural. We do not have an industrial relations remit but, at NAPD annual general meetings around the country, principals and deputies consistently expressed their anger and frustration at the damage being done to our education system, the detrimental effects on students and schools and the impossible demands landed on their desks every week. There is particular concern about young teachers already in very insecure situations who now face even more uncertainty and less pay. Principals and deputies are, in many instances, the hardest hit when it comes to pay and conditions. Many exercised their right to vote as members of ASTI and TUI. We are uneasy and worried and we hope that talks will commence to settle this impasse as soon as possible.

YOUNG SCIENTISTS With this in mind, congratulations to the students, teachers, principal and deputy principal of Kinsale Community School on the tremendous achievement of their students in winning the Young Scientist Exhibition and then walking away with the top European prize. CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT Congratulations also to all the students who participated in the NAPD Creative Engagement Exhibition in Collins Barracks. The hard work and dedication of their teachers and the support of school leaders came together in an exciting and vibrant display of all that is positive and affirming in our schools. At the recent economic forum held at Dublin Castle, there was unequivocal acknowledgement of the potential of creativity for future economic progress. The seedlings for the future of arts, culture and heritage are sown with such an initiative and it is a great privilege for NAPD Creative Engagement to be part of that growth. MAINTAINING A POSITIVE ATMOSPHERE Teaching, pastoral care and behaviour support are at the core of what teachers do and therefore crucial and necessary to maintaining a positive atmosphere in our schools. Planning, promoting teaching and learning, maintaining a safe and organised school environment and

providing supports for students and teachers are all central to what make our schools work. As school leaders, we know that collaboration, collegiality, teamwork and a sense of purpose are central to the successes of a vibrant school community. Confusion, speculation and tension undermine a positive school atmosphere. Angry parents and unsettled students pose difficulties for teachers and inevitably for school leaders and, particularly with the devastating loss of posts of responsibility, we have to try with all the skill we can muster to keep everything on an even keel. Uncertainty and long drawn out industrial relations disputes create difficulties for everyone. I hope that by the time you get to read this latest edition of Leader, the situation will have been resolved and schools will have an opportunity to settle down to the business of teaching and learning and supporting each other in these challenging and worrying times. THANKS As this is my last piece for Leader as President, I would like to thank Francis Lafferty, principal and all the staff, students and parents of St Ciaran’s Community School, Kells for their tremendous support of me during the year. I would also like to thank our Director, Clive Byrne, Assistant Director, Tim Geraghty and administrator, Catherine Shiels for their invaluable support. It was a real pleasure working with the National Executive of NAPD, a passionate and committed group of people from different sectors and different types of school, sharing ideas and providing inspirational support and guidance. A special thank you to all the regional committees for their commitment to NAPD. We are well aware that, if we did not hear the voice of members, we could lose our focus and vision. I look forward to meeting you at Conference. There is an exciting programme of speakers and workshops and I hope you have an opportunity to meet, greet and network and share experiences and concerns.

Yet, despite all this uncertainty, teachers and school leaders continue with their work as best they can and will continue to motivate students to achieve and express their potential in ways that are exciting and inspirational.


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Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act

Haddington Road Agreement

Accessing Qualified Substitute Teachers

The Executive discussed the impending commencement of S30 of the Teaching Council Act. At the moment there are over 200 teachers being paid from the public purse who are not registered with the Teaching Council. Many may work in the FE sector but a number are in mainstream second level. From November they will no longer be paid and more importantly, from the school’s point of view, they cannot be employed by the school. Please check that all teachers working in your school are properly registered with the Teaching Council. NAPD is exploring with the education partners and with the Council whether it could be possible that PDE students could be paid if they were available to cover but little movement is expected on this proposal in the short term.

The Executive discussed the Agreement prior to the result of the union ballots. At the start of the school year, the interim arrangements agreed between the Teacher Unions and the Department, in particular, S&S, appears to be working well. Members agreed that NAPD should continue to emphasise the particular responsibilities of the school leader for all staff and students. The priority must be to maintain a positive school climate and good communication between staff.

Recognising the difficulty in attracting qualified subs, Paul Byrne, Deputy Principal in Carrick-onShannon Community School circulated a document on behalf of the ICT Committee outlining a possible proposal to develop a live register of substitute teachers in Members’ Area of NAPD website which would be available to colleagues seeking substitute teachers at short notice. It was noted that NAPD wouldn’t be in a position to operate a service similar to that offered by our primary counterparts in IPPN and the proposal will be circulated to potential developers who could eventually manage such a register.

P-Pod The Executive was briefed on a number of meetings which have taken place between the Management Bodies, NAPD, the Department of Education and Skills and Advanced Learning. As a result of the meetings schools have been advised to download Advanced Learning’s 31.1 software to enable the completion of September and October returns. Schools will be encouraged to try to make timely returns to that the P-Pod installations can take place.

Creative Engagement Showcase The Executive heard that plans were in train for the Creative Engagement Showcase, in the Riding School Collins Barracks on October 5 and to be officially opened by Minister Deenihan. NAPD is also participating in an Arts in Education Conference organised under the auspices of the National Gallery. Exhibits from Birr Community School, Coolmine Community School and Larkin Community Page 6

College were on display at the entrance to the conference to highlight the range, extent and importance of having Art’s-Rich Schools.

Welfare Committee The Executive acknowledged the work of the committee and noted the recent inserts in the Leader. Further work on how best to meet the needs of newly-appointed colleagues is being considered. There has been a meeting between the Welfare Committee and the Local Support Network to arrange a special workshop for newly appointed colleagues at conference 2013.

Anti-Bullying Strategy The Director updated the Executive on recent meetings prior to finalising the recently announced procedures. Members queried schools ability to implement the new procedures in the light of continuing cutbacks and the likelihood of impending industrial unrest. 45/2013 is the relevant circular.

Further Education Anne Marie Lacey reported on a successful meeting which had taken place with Fiona Hartley of Solas. FÁS/Solas is keen that NAPD be represented on advisory and technical groups to be convened over the next while but some further consultation needs to happen with the ETBs to enable this. The Executive also heard of proposals from Griffith College which is considering offering up to 100 scholarships to enable students from the Further Education Sector progress to Higher Education. The FE Committee is involved in a consultation process with QQI in the formulation of a Green Paper. It was explained to members of the Executive that there are some anomalies in the proposed Admission Policy Circular that need to be addressed with regard to FE sector.

College Awareness Week The Executive was briefed on an initiative to promote increased participation in post Leaving Certificate education by way of a


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College Awareness Week. An initial meeting involving representatives of NAPD, Trinity Access Programme, the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, the Irish Second-level Students Union, Irish Business Employers Confederation and the National Parents Council has taken place and it is hoped to find a week in the school calendar so that College Awareness Week sat sit alongside Seachtain na Gaeilge, Maths Week, Engineer’s Week etc.

Junior Cycle for Teachers The Director, Clive Byrne, met Pádraig Kirk from the Junior Cycle for Teachers CPD Service to explore areas of possible cooperation between both groups. Possible areas of collaboration were explored as were potential areas of difficulty as the in-service for teachers of English was rolled out. Further meetings will take place to review the proposed in-service delivery for school leaders.

Smart Futures Advisory Group NAPD has been invited to join the Steering Committee of the Smart Futures Advisory Group which is under the auspices of Science Foundation Ireland. In a briefing to the group, Director Clive Byrne advised that any adjustment to the PTR at second level would have serious repercussions for subject choice. He advised that among the subjects under


immediate threat were the sciences as schools may not be in a position to offer as wide a range of subjects as they would like to if student uptake was insufficient. This is a case of where stated government priorities to deliver a significant rise in the number of students taking STEM subjects is at risk as a result of cuts to staff to achieve short term economic targets.

Leadership for Learning Initiative – PAUL GINNIS RETURNING IN NOVEMBER The Executive noted the very positive feedback from schools that had invited Paul Ginnis to conduct workshops in their schools. A number of schools have collaborated in inviting him in order to share the costs involved. NAPD has invited Paul to return for a week in November to deliver Level 1 and Level 2 workshops. Information regarding the dates and venues as well as the workshop level is in the current edition of Leader and available on the website.

Finance The Treasurer presented draft accounts for the end of year. NAPD’s financial year ends on 31 August. The accounts are being audited and will be presented to the Annual General Meeting which takes place during Conference 2013. The President thanked the

Treasurer and head office for all their work on accounts.

Revised middlemanagement teams – ÁINE O’NEILL WORKING GROUP The Middle Management Working Group has reported. The Executive discussed how best to encourage debate on the issue. While the Report from the Working Group will be published in the Conference Programme, in order to encourage discussion at the sectoral meetings to be held during Conference 2013, the Executive decided to publish the report in the next edition of Leader.

Retired Members Report Anthony Condron reported on meetings with the Alliance of Retired Public Servants, on the Annual Golf outing held in Thurles and on arrangements for the Annual General Meeting which will take place on October 2 in the Sheraton Hotel Athlone. There has been an increase in membership numbers this year with a larger number paying by direct debit. Anthony advised of arrangements for the AGM. NAPD-R is involved in a Grundvig Project on Seniors successful. is which Volunteering Consideration will be given to involvement at the AGM

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THINK AND TALKING TIME IN GALWAY Derek West previews the NAPD Conference or two days this month – Thursday 17 and Friday 18 – NAPD will occupy the Radisson Blu in Galway for its annual conference. Against a background of uncertainty, tension and unrest in schools, a packed programme will allow delegates to consider many educational themes, centrally The School that thinks learn.


The key-note speaker is Professor Aidan Halligan, Director of Clinical Governance and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, who will speak on Leading in Challenging Times. He will be followed on Thursday afternoon by three speakers with huge combined experience in theories of learning, thinking and training – l Professor Ian Robertson, Professor of Psychology and Founding Director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience; l Professor Carol McGuinness, Professor of Psychology, Queens University Belfast; l Mike Hughes, Trainer, Coach and Author. They will be conducting workshops on the Friday morning and delegates will have the opportunity to attend two of them. As President of the Association, Kay O’Brien will address members on the progress of NAPD over the year and she will highlight pressing concerns about the difficult climate in which principals and deputies are working. Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairi Quinn, TD, will respond. Arts and Heritage will feature in a number of ways: Michael Starrett Chief Executive of the Heritage Council will speak on the links between our schools and our heritage; Arts Officer Dermot Carney will speak on The Arts in Education Charter – Implications for Schools and Paul Mercier, Playwright and Theatre

Director will talk about the concept of the Arts-Rich School. The grand finale of the conference will be the musical performance by girls from Our Lady’s School, Greenhills after the Gala Dinner. New principals and deputies will be given special attention, with a reception on the first evening and a workshop with the Welfare Committee and L-S-S, the Local Support Service, on the Friday. Other workshop options will include l Media skills for school leaders l A new on-line training system that increases IQ and improves educational performance for good. l A consultation session facilitated by the Further Education Committee l Managing Difficult Conversations l ICT: “Bring Your Own Devices – BYOD” l Cur i láthair do na Gaelcholáistí ar an Teastas Sóisireach nua agus áiseanna ar-líne. Various organisations are pressing to talk to NAPD members, so they also will be hearing from Paula Flynn [School of Education, TCD], Kathleen O’Toole [Trinity Access Programme] a speaker from the Central Bank Add in the AGM and all the informal opportunities for members to network [‘mix and mingle’, as Clive Byrne describes it] and it promises to be a very busy two days. Registration is from 10.00 am onwards on Thursday. The full programme will be on the NAPD website:

Motions for Conference 2013 1. That NAPD explore all avenues to implement an effective middle leadership system in our schools Region 4 2. That NAPD conduct research to quantify the causes of stress for school leaders to highlight the implications for the health and well-being of members Region 3 3. That NAPD research how best to ensure that the terms and conditions of principals and deputy principals are maintained and improved Region 6 4. That NAPD campaign for the restoration of supports to improve the pastoral and guidance services in our schools Region 8 Page 8

5. That NAPD lobby to enable PDE students be paid for substitution when Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act is commenced in November Region 9 6. That NAPD campaign for the establishment of a College of Leadership to support existing and aspiring school leaders Region 7 7. In view of the short lead-in time, together with the number and complexity of initiatives relating to Junior Cycle reform, NAPD should seek that, apart from Croke Park hours, the DES sanction one full day during this academic year and more in subsequent years for relevant whole-school CPD. Region 4


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Management Bodies and NAPD Call for an End to Education Cuts n October 4, the three post-primary management bodies and NAPD today called on the Government to ensure that no more cuts are applied to frontline education services in the coming budget.


supports as a result of the impact of the moratorium on appointments to posts of responsibility. This situation has led to increasing demands on already overburdened school principals and deputy principals. People and procedures are now at breaking point,” believes Kay O’Brien, President of NAPD.

The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS), Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), the Joint Managerial Body (JMB) and the National Association for Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), believe that further cuts in resources to postprimary schools will cause irreparable damage to the education prospects of this generation of young people, for whom this is their one and only educational life-chance.

The management bodies and NAPD are very concerned at the impact of a series of cut-backs on the capacity of schools to provide for the most vulnerable. “It’s most regrettable that comparatively small scale savings are achieved at the expense of Travellers, students at risk of leaving school, newcomer students and those in need of learning remediation,” claims Michael Moriarty, General Secretary of the ETBI.

“The post-primary education system has suffered severe cuts in its personnel and financial resources over the past four years. We are telling Government that it is not possible to absorb any further cuts without severely damaging the education process for our young people,” says Malachy Molloy, President of ACCS. “The pupil-teacher-ratio can no longer be seen by government as a potential target for achieving savings. The preservation of our already seriously eroded staffing schedules represents an absolute priority. Let there be no doubt that any further reductions in the allocations of teachers to schools will have the inevitable consequence of a reduction in the existing 28 hour class contact week for pupils,” states Noel O’Connor, President of ETBI. Fr Paul Connell, President of JMB points out that “The decision in Budget 2012 to cut guidance services to schools has led to a serious reduction in the availability of one to one counselling and career guidance support. It is vital that such services are available to young people when required. We can’t afford to disadvantage our young people’s futures.” “In addition to the loss of guidance and other specialist teaching services, postprimary schools have been seriously affected by a loss in middle management

Ciaran Flynn, General Secretary, ACCS, believes that “The special educational needs population is growing as the government’s policy of mainstreaming continues and it is imperative that a proportionate increase in the overall numbers of resource teaching posts and SNAs be provided to reflect the growth in requirement for services.” “ The 11% reduction in capitation grants to schools over the past four years in addition to a further 2% decrease in the next two years is placing a very heavy burden on schools to raise funds locally through parents and fundraising activities in order to survive. This has created a very difficult situation for school management and parents”, states Ferdia Kelly, General Secretary, JMB. The three post-primary management bodies and NAPD today urge the Government to listen to the words of those charged with running our post-primary schools. Ciaran Flynn, General Secretary, ACCS Michael Moriarty, General Secretary, ETBI Ferdia Kelly, General Secretary, JMB Clive Byrne, General Secretary, NAPD

Helping you implement the new school self-evaluation guidelines Support your SSE implementation process with the following flexible and effective resources from the GL Education Group: • Our Kirkland Rowell Surveys offer a cost-effective way of establishing and monitoring the changing perceptions of parents, pupils and staff, providing you with a solid baseline for your self-evaluation. • Schoolcentre is a powerful online self-evaluation and school improvement tool with fully customisable templates that follow the new SSE guidelines.

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Visit our stand at the NAPD Conference 2013 a free parent, pupil and staff survey worth €495. Visitors to our stand will also be able to meet our assessment division and see the brand new Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) for Ireland in action.

Contact us today: 1800 806 185


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Second-Level In-School Middle Leadership and Management This Paper on Second-Level In-School Middle Leadership and Management from a Working Group of the National Executive Chaired by Past-President, Áine O’Neill, seeks to inform debate about aspects of middle-leadership which many see as no longer fit for purpose. Following discussion at National Conference, the document will be shared with the Education Partners. WHY A REVIEW OF IN-SCHOOL LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT? The National Executive believes that the present system of managing schools is in urgent need of review for the following reasons 1. School Culture has changed dramatically in recent years. The introduction of legislation affecting education has had an unparalleled impact on the work of the principal. Between 1998 and 2004 the principal became one of the most legislated for individuals in Irish society. Principals now have statutory responsibilities under Education, Equality and Employment legislation which has been enacted with little regard for the implementation implications.

l Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 l The Vocational Education Amendment Act 2001 l The Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 l The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 l Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Acts 1989 and 2005 l Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 l Equality Act 2004 l Education and Training Boards Act 2013

In addition the establishment of statutory bodies – The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), The National Council for Technology in Education (NCTE), The Teaching Council, The State Examinations Commission (SEC), The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and The Education and Training Boards– has expanded further the administrative duties of the Principal and Deputy Principal.

(b). Education Partnership – The school community including parents, students and staff are now expected to work in partnership and this brings demands to change structures. Student Councils, Parent Councils etc place additional responsibilities on the Principal/Deputy Principal and Staff to create positive interaction within the whole school community.

Such developments make the job of principal increasingly unmanageable and the Department of Education and Skills needs to demonstrate a willingness to address the resourcing issues (time, personnel and finance).

(c). Accountability – far greater accountability involves increased consultation before and after decisions are taken with the stakeholders: parents, students, staff, Board of Management, employer, etc.

The Principal/ Deputy Principal have administrative responsibility in several areas including, but not exclusively:

(d). The pastoral role of the school has greatly increased in importance because of changes in society, changes in family structures, changed behaviour and attitudes of young people etc. Contacts with the EWB, CAMHS, SENO etc have significant implications for the running of a school

l Student welfare and wellbeing l Staff welfare and wellbeing l Responding to Parents’ Concerns and Society’s Vision for Education l Managing change in the curriculum l Financial management l Administration l Plant Management l Secretary to the Board of Management

(a). There exists now a rights based legislative framework which has major workload implications: l Education Act 1998 l Employment Equality Act 1998 l Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999 l Education (Welfare) Act 2000 l Equal Status Act 2000 l The Teaching Council Act 2001 Page 10

2. The Needs of the Teacher: The present system has no mechanism for initiative or involvement to be rewarded. It inhibits the ambitions of teachers and limits the benefits to the school of potential within the teaching profession. This is exacerbated by the increasing casualising of the profession and the lack of a clearly defined promotion pathway. 3. Creating Leadership Capacity The decline in the numbers applying for the positions of principal and deputy principal suggests that the demands of the job, as perceived by teachers, are onerous and under supported. The absence of appropriate leadership training, opportunities for future school leaders and a structure to sustain this leadership add to the perception. 4. Sustaining planning and change: These proposals will provide a structure where change can be supported and sustained. The changing school has evolving education and administrative demands which these proposals attempt to address.


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5. Recognising, affirming and rewarding excellence in the classroom In our desire to implement effective leadership and management structures the concept of the Charter or Master Teacher must be enshrined and accommodated whereby excellent teaching producing excellent outcomes can be recognised and materially and/ or professionally rewarded. The mentor programme for Newly Qualified Teachers provides a structure for developing this aspect of leadership. NAPD believes that the implementation of the recommendations of The Blackstock Report (1999), The McGuinness Report (2001), The McIver Report (2003) and the Martin Report (2006) would help schools put in place an administrative structure to meet the needs of the 21st century. These reports made specific recommendations for funding, staffing, infrastructure and support structures which have yet to be implemented.

To meet the requirements of recent legislation, to facilitate curriculum development, to enable the principal/deputy principal to become dedicated leaders of learning, schools now need: l A Centre for School Leadership l An effective Middle Leadership structure involving major adaptations of the Post of Responsibility structure l An allocation of time for leadership and management tasks l Time for school planning both at subject department level and whole-school level

Board of Management. The Board will also select suitable candidates to fill these posts on a fixed purpose arrangement. The size, location, status and particular needs of the school will determine the level of support provided. An agreed review system should be established. (a). The following positions to be filled by interview. In all cases with a reduced teaching load to compensate for the administration involved included the hours must be returned to the school l Special Needs Co-ordinator l Programme Co-ordinator l Year Heads l ICT Co-ordinator l Curriculum change co-ordinator

Individual schools should have the flexibility to adapt the above to suit particular needs. These positions carry a salary allowance increase and should be filled on a permanent basis. Agreed review system to be established (b). The following positions to be filled by interview. These roles will have a time-table allowance, will be filled for a specific period or renewed by agreement each year but will not carry a salary increase. l Subject Department Heads

l An end to the erosion of class contact time for students

House Examinations

l Resources required to implement new legislative functions and curriculum change and continuous professional development

Assessment portfolio co-ordinator.

RESTRUCTURING OF PRESENT SYSTEM 1. The DES must implement the current circular for Assistant Principals: 1 per 100 or part thereof at a rate of 0.2hrs per 100 students returned to the school to provide time for the Pastoral role of the Assistant principal. This is crucial to address the increased pastoral responsibilities of the school as listed earlier. 2. Deputy Principals are an integral part of the Leadership team. Hours should be available to all schools at a rate of 0.2 WTE per 100 students, or part thereof. The range of responsibilities should be allocated to suit the particular talents of the individual deputies where there is more than one in a school

l Other administrative duties as decided by the Board of Management

Each school would decide the number of hours to be allowed from class contact depending on the needs of the school and budget hours granted by DES. A national template allowing for local flexibility will be drawn up. Agreed review system to be established.

TRANSITION TO NEW SYSTEM l Existing post holders may carry out their current duties under the present arrangements or could adopt the new system as was the case under the PCW l As posts become vacant at Assistant Principal or Special Duties level, the hours and allowance are allocated to the school to assign under the new system.

3. As each school has different needs, additional funds should be provided for administration posts which will be defined by the


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n October 2008, at our Conference, in Kilkenny, delegates were overwhelmed by a presentation by an English actor, Ben Walden, on inspirational leadership. Making liberal and dynamic use of the text of Shakespeare’s Henry V, he wove an analysis of leadership that had great resonance for NAPD members. Working with Richard Olivier [son of Laurence] and an organisation called Olivier Mythodrama, Ben has been bringing his show around the world, and applying it to education, academic institutions and business organisations. There is a full account of his ‘performance’ in Le Chile Three, published in 2009. On the premise that you can never get too much of a good thing, and continuing to bring you the ICP Convention, we are reproducing here Mary Brake’s ‘take’ on Ben Walden’s presentation in Cairns.

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Ben Walden Ben trained as an actor in London and New York, subsequently playing many leading roles in London’s West End and joining the inaugural company at Shakespeare’s Globe. Working with Richard Olivier and Mythodrama, Ben has moved to become a creative consultant and workshop leader. The core of his work is the application of dramatic texts, such as Shakespeare’s Henry V to contemporary situations in education, academic institutions and business organisations, with particular emphasis on an exploration of the qualities of leadership.


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Derek West visits Wilson’s Hospital, a boarding school in Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath, the first school under Protestant management to opt into the ‘free scheme’, two-and-a-half years ago. He speaks to the Warden, Adrian Oughton and Deputy-Principal, Rosemary Eager. Adrian Oughton [Warden] and Rosemary Eager [Deputy Principal] at Wilson’s Hospital.

WILSON’S HOSPITAL: SPANNING FOUR CENTURIES AND LEARNING TO ADAPT This story is about how a learning community of long standing [250 years] uses strategic planning and patient negotiation in order to survive, to conserve its values and yet become part of mainstream education. n Ireland we have long cherished those distinctive parts of the national populace that distinguish us the one from the other. Religious denomination has been a constant determining factor, treated, at the one end, flippantly with chatter about ‘which foot one digs with’, and, at the other, in the deep-rooted sectarian divides, particularly in the NorthEastern part of the island. Education has been another determining factor and has been linked, inextricably it seems, with denomination. While so-called mixed marriages and, in recent decades, the influx of people from all over the globe, have blurred the boundaries, there is still an abiding and potent sense of ‘ethos’ and ‘identity’ that determines how minorities


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feel about themselves and how they are treated by the State. There are distractions: Most schools under Protestant management’ are feepaying and, as such, are beyond the financial reach of many Protestants [even with a means-tested grants system, administered by the Church of Ireland Secondary Education Committee]; many of those fee-paying schools are, in terms of pupil and staff composition, de facto, multi-denominational schools, where the ability to pay the fees, rather than attendance at a particular church on Sunday, is the determining factor. There is a perception among Protestants that state schools [Community,

Comprehensive and Vocational] are not secular, but denominational, schools. Indeed, it could be argued that they are, insofar as many of them derive from amalgamations of denominational schools and retain a denominational element in their governance structures. ‘Perception’ plays a huge role in this division of education. While there are more hands across the border and more shared events in both urban rural communities, there is an abiding sense of difference. So, Wilson’s Hospital, declares itself, at the entrance to the 400 acres that constitute the school’s grounds, to be a Church of Ireland Secondary School. Go further in and you see that you get


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next issue of the Leader, Adrian will make the case for every school to have a Bursar.] This was Adrian’s vision and not one that found favour with all his colleagues in the Irish Schoolheads’ Association, but he is convinced that his actions have ‘ensured Protestant education in this part of the country into the future.’ There has been no change of character or ethos within the school; the Admissions Policy remains unchanged. Staff and students hardly notice the new provision. Adrian and Rosemary were high in their praise of the DES, particularly Assistant Secretary General, Martin Hanevy – ‘We were pushing an open door with the Department.’

The school ethos is made explicit.

what’s on the label. The admissions policy ensures that the core community is given priority and that those from other faiths, or even other countries, are welcome, after the initial cohort has been catered for and ‘providing there is an acceptance of our ethos.’ It is a concern of the headmaster, Adrian Oughton, and the Deputy Principal, Rosemary Eager, that one-third of Irish Protestant children are not attending Protestant schools. Wilson’s is a gated community, but the challenge in the 21st century is both to open the gates – even a little – while still conserving what the denizens consider essential and valuable in the their culture. That’s the challenge facing Adrian Oughton and Rosemary Eager - they have to maintain the trust of the parents who subscribe to the Wilson’s ethos and they have to move with punitive times that are particularly threatening to fee-paying schools. Adrian Oughton seems to fit comfortably on this high-wire. He is an astute manager. He saw, with the creeping erosion of a Pupil-Teacher-Ratio [P-T-R] that discriminated against private education, that Wilson’s might not be sustainable as a private fee-paying school. So over a number of years he sought to separate the boarding [fee-paying] dimension, both in the physical sense that the school, as such, decamped to modern purpose-built premises in the school grounds, leaving the fine old 18th century building [one-part gentleman’s residence; one-part hospital for elderly men and one-part mixed boarding school] to the boarders, for eating, sleeping, recreation, and a full-time ‘duty staff’, totally separate from those who work in the school, and in the educational sense of focusing on the provision of a bright, airy, functioning modern school building.


This was a gradual process, not so much of separation, as definition. What remains of interest and direct concern to the DES is a school which conforms to its regulations, which no longer charges for tuition and which employs only those qualified and recognised teachers who are paid by that Department. So, a year ago, Wilson’s became the first of the Protestant schools to enter the free scheme [closely followed by Kilkenny College]. Adrian worked in collaboration with the Chairman of the School Management Board, Nigel Foley-Fisher, and the Bursar [Liam Coyle] to negotiate the change with the DES. [The Bursar is paid not by the Department but has proved invaluable in managing the financial affairs of both sections of Wilson’s. In the

One of the key changes that Adrian made was to bring staffing levels in line with those of the DES and to remove the anomaly of school-paid non-incremental teaching staff. This has made the transition to being a ‘free-school’ easier. There is no dependence on personnel paid out of fee-revenue and Wilson’s can now enjoy the benefits of the more generous PTR [19:1] that applies to the majority of schools, as well as being eligible for building grants, capitation grants for all pupils and financial assistance for administration and caretaking. There is a side issue to staffing. When some of the school income was devoted to supplementing staff numbers, there was a ‘ladder’ system in operation. This meant that those employed directly by

At the entrance to the gated community Page 15

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the school could hope to achieve an incremental post in due course. From the school’s point of view this was an attractive way of bringing back those people, often past pupils, who knew and endorsed the school culture and who could, in due course, be full integrated into the staff. This will no longer happen and Adrian stresses that the selection of staff is based primarily on the ability of the person to teach their subject, not on denomination or the offer to take an extra-curricular activity, which was so much part and parcel of the regime in many private schools. In some ways Adrian and Rosemary occupy parallel universes. Each has an enormous – and increasing – work load and they complement each other in that work. As Headmaster/Warden/Principal

thought he was on at least 15 committees. He gave up trying to remember them all. Rosemary’s range of activities is more focussed on the running of a school – timetable, September lists, and discipline. She has the bunch of keys constantly by her side. When she goes to conferences, the NAPD Executive, meetings about Children's Services, she finds herself in catch-up mode on Saturday and Sundays. In common with most colleagues across the whole spectrum of Irish schools, they don’t find it getting any easier or the work any less, ‘but,’ says Adrian, most people keep going.’ Rosemary adds: ‘You just get on with it.

250 years in a 400-acres rural idyll

Adrian has a more all-embracing role. He is the link between the Boarding and the school; he is the link between the Protestant educational administration – with its multitude of committees and interest–groups – and the school. He

The fine old 18th century building [left] and, on the right, the bright, airy, functioning modern school building.

Do You You o Want Want tto: o: • • • • •

Keep Keep sstudents tudents & sstaff taff h hydrated ydrated Promote Promote health healthy y drinking habits Increase Increase c concentration oncentration le levels vels Reduce Reduce illnes illnesss due tto o deh dehydration ydration Have Have happ happy y & health healthy y sstudents tudents

Then drink water regularly throughout the day…. Why not talk to us about a water solution for your school?

Call Us No Now wF For or Further Details Fr Freephone: eephone: 1800 423 222 Email: c

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Arts Triumph in Collins Barracks October 5 saw the second gathering of Creative Engagement schools at the National Museum [Collins Barracks] Dublin. Twenty-six schools exhibited their arts projects which were viewed by a distinguished group of visitors, including Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Professor John Coolahan [chair of the Implementation Group for the Arts-in-Education Charter], Anne Looney of NCCA, Chief Inspector, DES, Harold Hislop, Raghnall Ó Floinn, Director of the National Museum, with Lorraine Comer, Head of Education. The exhibition was organised by the tireless Dermot Carney and the NAPD Arts & Culture Committee. The words of Mary Hanley, Chair of the Arts & Culture Committee, addressing those who attended the event, encapsulate the spirit of the day: n the year 2000, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals set up an Arts and Culture Committee with the aim of encouraging creativity and initiative in our students as we believe that ‘the Arts are at the heart of the Nation’. The Arts unlock the imagination. They open up minds and hearts to new ideas and help us to understand ourselves. They provoke and entertain; they enhance life. The Arts bring pleasure to people from all walks of life. They provide an essential voice for the young, the vulnerable and the marginalised. We, as teachers, have the power and responsibility to open up the ‘windows of wonder’.


We, as educationalists, want all students to have access to and participate in the Arts where they can develop their knowledge, appreciation and practice so as to achieve their full potential; where artists and their works are valued and understood; where poetry, music, drama, dance, painting, sculpture and the visual environment are embedded in the heart of the nation. We believe that every citizen of the state has a role to play in celebrating our heritage, in preserving it and in passing it on. I am glad to say that NAPD has developed strong links with the National Museum and with the National Heritage Council. Students and teachers in a number of schools work very closely with Ms Lorraine Comer and her staff from the National Museum. Today you see a fine example of this cooperation with the Coolmine Community School’s Viking House and Larkin College’s project.


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Since 2006 the Arts and Culture Committee of NAPD have been administering the Creative Engagement programme in second level schools. Various Arts, Heritage and Cultural projects are produced each year. Local artists come into our schools and work with the students and teachers. In the past seven years over 300 schools have been involved in music, poetry, drama, dance, sculpture, painting, film, and ceramics – the list goes on and on. We are an example of the Arts and Education Charter in action. Members of our Arts Committee have visited many schools during the past year and have seen some incredible projects. I must compliment you, the young people, who are an inspiration to us all. Your creativity knows no bounds. I urge you to continue with your imaginative endeavours and never lose faith in your ability to inspire those around you. Over 1500 students in 70 schools took part in Creative Engagement in 2013. Not all schools could come to the exhibition today but I want to congratulate all the students & their teachers for the excellence they have achieved throughout the year. Creative Engagement is a joint venture with the Deptartment of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Education and Skills - both Departments have co-funded the programme since 2006.Minister Deenihan has kindly funded this exhibition today and I thank him most sincerely for his continued support. I would also like to thank the National Museum, Collins Barracks for hosting the exhibition. Page 18


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Finally I would like to convey sincere thanks to Mr Dermot Carney, our Arts Officer in NAPD, for organising today’s exhibition and for all of the great work he does throughout the year. This year Dermot has developed a dedicated Creative Engagement website,, for students, teachers & the wider community.

Great for Schools:


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Increases efficiency Provides audit trail Reduces parent debt Aids administrators Fully automates payments Updates in real time Excellent reconciliation tool Increases security

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The Final Curtain

There can scarcely be an actor, producer, designer, playwright, drama facilitator, theatre administrator or stage manager in Ireland who has not at some stage in their career had an involvement with TEAM. And, perhaps more significantly, it would be difficult to estimate the numbers of young people, many of whom did not not come from theatre’s natural constituency, whose lives were changed in some way by their contact with TEAM.

ollowing a long, tough struggle to secure adequate funding and having gone through an extensive consultation process on its future, TEAM Education Theatre finally succumbed to the inevitable and closed its doors for good at the end of September.


TEAM, so familiar to many schools throughout the country, was never just another theatre-in-education company. Emerging from under the wing of the Abbey Theatre in 1976, TEAM adhered tenaciously to its challenging remit: to produce engaging, relevant theatre for children and young people primarily in their own formal learning environment, raising and addressing issues directly of concern to them, and empowering them to make their own critical life decisions. It became internationally known and a world leader in innovative theatre-in-education. Page 20

This Spring, despite having no full time staff, TEAM managed to mount its final production and tour. Written by Manchán Magan and directed by Mikel Murfi, Focal Point was a senior cycle bi-lingual Irish/English production with surtitles. This production was the embodiment of the enduring values of TEAM: an engaging production, well-written, expertly directed, simply set, and skilfully acted by a small cast and supporting crew. Workshops exploring the themes raised in the play were formulated in partnership with St. Patrick’s College, with artists and educators working together to enhance the play’s impact. Focal Point ran for one week in the Project Arts Centre, toured schools throughout the country for four weeks, and finally closed on 16 March in Smock Alley Theatre as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival. Additionally, over the last year TEAM produced and toured a forum theatre project on teenage sexuality, entitled “Realdeal” by Jenny McDonald, in association with the HSE and the Dublin City Council Arts Office.

TEAM was never in a position to support itself entirely and over the years it has been funded and otherwise supported generously by the Arts Council, the Department of Education and Skills, NAPD and Creative Engagement, Dublin City Council and other local authorities, Foras Na Gaeilge, Culture Ireland, the Health Service Executive, many schools, and a wide range of other organisations and businesses. However, having suffered several deep cuts over the last few years, the fatal blow for TEAM came with the withdrawal by the Arts Council of its Regularly Funded Organisation status. This meant that the funding required to develop the educational aspect of TEAM’s productions was no longer available, and so the Board of TEAM bowed to the inevitable and decided regretfully to wind up the company. Its archive has been returned to the Abbey Theatre where it is hoped TEAM’s legacy will be preserved for future generations.

David Meredith, Acting Chairperson, TEAM, October 2013

With its comprehensive educational remit,


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SUCCESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING IN THE eSCHOOL Mary Sheridan, Principal, and Niall Lynch, Deputy Principal, St. Bricin’s College, Belturbet Today, young people are among the biggest user group of online and mobile technologies in Europe. Internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) open a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and providing opportunities to learn, which can greatly enhance the education and life experience of millions of young people. Traditional teaching styles are gradually becoming less effective in engaging with an increasing proportion of today’s student population. Consequently the role of the teacher is changing to that of facilitator of learning.

Š‡ƒ–‹‘Â?ƒŽˆ‘”‡‡ƒ”Â?‹Â?‰Ǽ • Wearechallengedaseducatorstoequipourstudentswiththe essentialtoolkit– Knowledge,SkillsandDigitalLiteracy. • Newtechnologiesareacatalystforwholeschoolimprovement. • Traditionalteachingstylesarelesseffectiveinengaging students– shiftingfromteacherdominatedlessonstoa studentcentredclassroomisnecessarytofacilitatethe integrationofICT. • Theneedtoequipourstudentswithtransferrableskillsfor thirdleveleducationandtheworkplace.

ŽƒÂ?Â?‹Â?‰ˆ‘”—……‡••Ǽ • ICTWorkingGroupformedin2009 • UtilisationofNCTERoadmaptoassessschoolinfrastructure andtheICTskillslevelofstaff. • CPDTraininginSpring2010Ͳ tabletPC,podcasting,video editing,othermedia. • DevelopmentofschoolICTPlan2010Ͳ2015 • Provisionoftechnicalsupportfortheproject. • Reviewofschoolpoliciesanddevelopmentofpersonal computerusagepolicy.

‡’Ž‘›�‡�– • Individualcurriculumplanforeverysubjectdetailingthe integrationofstudentlaptoptechnologyandpotentialbenefits intheclassroom. • Parentsinformationeveningattendedbyalleducation partners.Teachersdemonstrateduseofappropriate technologiesfortheirsubjectarea. • NetworkofPrimaryPrincipalsfromfeederschoolsinvitedtoan informationmorning. • Primaryschoolvisitstosixthclassstudentsandteachers. • InͲservicedayontheuseofeBooksforallstaff.Leadersof Learning‌ troubleshooting

Â?’Ž‡Â?‡Â?–ƒ–‹‘Â?Č‚ Šƒ–™‘”Â?‡† ™‡ŽŽ • Childrenweremotivated,organisedandmoreengagedin learning.Traditional“settlinginâ€? issueswerelessprevalent. • InteractivityofeBookengagesstudentsandallowsforgreater understanding&knowledgeofconcepts.Onlinelearningcentre availabletosupportlearning • CompetencyachievedbyfirstyearsinTouchͲTyping. • CompletionofMicrosoftDigitalLearningCertificate. • AdditionalLiteracy/NumeracysoftwareavailableforSEN students • TabletPCmoreeffectiveforTeaching&LearningofProject Maths,ScienceandGeography.

ƒ””‹‡”•–‘—……‡••ǼǤ •


• • • •

Reliabilityofthedevice WorkbooksaseBooks– Issueswithassessment,hard copypreferable QualityoftheICTinfrastructure Languageclasses– multipletexts TeachersdevelopingowneBooks– Copyrightissues withsharingofcontent Competitivepricingstructure– BookRental,Siblings, Continuity,VAT.


ducation leaders everywhere are seeking to make learning more accessible and relevant to ignite their students’ natural desire to learn and prepare them for a rapidly changing world. Innovative schools have to take the lead and unique approach to serving the needs of the community. St Bricin’s College is one such school.


St Bricin’s, the Department of Education, and the National Pilot Scheme for eBooks presented at a National Conference, Teaching and Learning in the eSchool, which took place in September 2012, in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell. The event was organised by Cavan and Louth VECs, with their respective CEOs, Colm McEvoy and Dr. Pådraig Kirk, driving the initiative, as passionate advocates of Digital Media in schools. The Conference was a platform for thinkers and practitioners from the field of Education with digital media innovators and eBook presentations from Ireland’s main publishers, EDCO, Folens and C.J. Fallon. This was one of the most successful conferences for School Principals, where they were exposed to specialist technology centres of excellence in Ireland and the UK. St Bricin’s presented their school initiative alongside Colåiste Choilm, Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Colåiste Chiaråin, Croom, Co. Limerick, St. Fintina’s Post-Primary School, Longwood, Co. Meath and Essa Academy, Bolton in England. It allowed schools the possibility of exploring how new technologies can drive radical efficiencies and improvements in learning, whilst providing equality of access for our students. It was an opportunity for the main players from the various strands of Irish Education to come together in the one forum and share best practice. Anne Looney, CEO of NCCA, Gerard O’Sullivan, Head of ICT Policy, DES, Paul Rellis, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland were in the audience, as well as representatives from the DES Inspectorate, IVEA and NAPD. At St. Bricin’s, along with our ICT Planning Team, we invested considerable time and energy in establishing it as a Technology Specialist School. Technology is revolutionising schools and it is necessary to be preparing our students in Digital Literacy as a life skill. Universities and third level institutions have an expectation that the incoming undergraduates are going to be able to access the college resources, online lecture materials, resources and all work exchanged for assessment is now mainly online, one to one computing is the norm. Planning and structure were necessary if this was to be a success. The NCTE Roadmap was the starting point, with a staff ICT Skills Audit and a school IT Plan. A programme of CPD in ICT was put in place. Staff developed their schemes of work in each subject area and delivered to the Parents at Open Night, demonstrating uses of Digital media in their respective subject curricula. The next challenge was developing or updating school policies, An Internet and Laptop Usage Policy was written and a Personal Safety Committee was established and an appendix on cyber bullying was added to the Counter-Bullying Policy, which was agreed by all the partners and ratified by the BOM. Local financial institutions came on board to provide a loan repayment scheme for all parents, new or existing customers, sending children to the school. Each of our classrooms is equipped with a computer, data projector; all staff members have their own PC, Notebook or Tablet PC, which was funded by the DES ICT initiatives. Ultimately, the devices are funded by the parents through a rental purchase scheme, administered through the school. eBooks are also funded by the parents through e-book rentals. There are costs that would have been going on books that can now be placed on technology. We find that more and more students are bringing in their own devices, be they tablets or notebooks, into school. The price point for technology has come down over recent years. Our school operates a rental/ purchase scheme, where we have engaged with our local financial institutions to assist Page 21

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‹ƒ…‡Ƭ‘•–‹‰ǥǤ • 3FinanceOptions“BacktoSchoolPackage” BankofIreland– SavetoBorrow UlsterBankͲ €1500minimumagreement CreditUnion– €5perweekrepayments • Insurance– Accidentaldamagewarranty

Žƒ‹‰ˆ‘”—……‡••Ȃ ”‡ƒ•ˆ‘”

’”‘˜‡‡–ǥ • LongTermPlanning–Infrastructureinvestmentand curriculuminitiatives. • DESinvestmentinITTechniciansorsupporton individual/regionalbasis. • RegularModuleandCurriculumOverviewswithePortfolioto includearecordofachievementandcompetenciesineach subjectarea.

—–—”‡‡˜‡Ž‘’‡–•–‘ƒš‹‹•‡ ‘–‡–‹ƒŽ • MoodleacrosstheschemelinkedinwithFacilityAdmin. • Self– DirectedLearning– studentshavegreateraccessto widerrangeoflearningexperiencesinallsubjects. • Languages– biͲlingualaudiofacility

Mary Sheridan, Principal, and Niall Lynch.

parents in paying for technology over a period of time. This has proved very successful in the current economic climate and all students, regardless of background, have equal access to Digital Literacy. All 1st years have an intensive programme of touch-typing and SCRATCH Computer Programming, as part of a New Junior Cycle Short Course. When you look at the cost of books, and consider how those costs can now be put into eBooks, it makes it more tangible. We are using e-Books exclusively throughout the Junior Cycle Programme, with additional workbooks in hardcopy format: we recognise that students will be completing written examinations and that the final draft of their project material must be handwritten. It is envisaged that ePortfolio will be an option for Technology Specialist Schools, as part of the New Junior Cycle Curriculum

‘‡•–‡…Š‘Ž‘‰›‹’”‘˜‡ Ž‡ƒ”‹‰ǫ • 98%ofTeachersbelievecomputersarecriticalinpreparing studentsforwork • 80%ofTeacherssaidtechnologyincreasesstudentsinterestin learning • 77%ofTeachersbelieveitimprovesAcademicPerformance • InternalSelfEvaluationAudit

–‡‰”ƒ–‹‘‘ˆ‡™–‡…Š‘Ž‘‰‹‡• …ƒ‘Ž›„‡•—……‡••ˆ—Ž‹ˆǥǤ • Reformersofeducationmaintainelementsofthetraditional curriculumwithamovetowardsenablingstudentstobecome moretechnologicallyadvanced. • TheinjectionoftechnologyequipmentandappropriateCPD trainingforstaffisadequatelyfinanced. • TheJuniorCycleReformresultsineffectiveshortcoursesthat contributetoaRecordofAchievementwhichinvolvesarange ofassessmentssomeofwhichareePortfoliobased. • Schoolsdevelopcommunitiesofgoodpracticewhoshare resourcesandstrategiestopromoteeffectiveteachingand learninginourclassrooms.

Nationally a lot of schools are looking at this model; many are engaging with the idea of introducing timetabled lessons in IT as part of new junior cycle, which offers a huge opportunity for schools to embrace this technology and to teach and learn in a different way. Schools are being given the flexibility to write short courses. We run courses in innovation, entrepreneurship, digital media creation, and software engineering for gaming and programming. Now in schools they do a reduced junior cycle which allows more scope for more subjects. You can teach programming on the curriculum. There are now job opportunities in this country in the ICT sector, which weren’t even there five years ago. Technology is powering this revolution. The new junior cycle will give great flexibility for schools to innovate. Having 100Mbps broadband installed in our school was a fantastic improvement. We believe all schools need it. It really is phenomenal! Teaching and learning is going to be fundamentally different. Classrooms aren’t going to be as structured. Classrooms can be more engaging in more explorative learning. If we’re educating for the future we need to be fostering the entrepreneurs, creators and thinkers, we have to teach and engage differently with students, and digital literacy is a necessary component in all of that. NB : St Bricin’s College presented at an International ICT Conference in Hungary, last February Contact:

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The Very Useful Guide




Important timelines during the school year for Principals & Deputy Principals



Task l Issuing of Leaving Certificate results l Scripts examined/recheck process l Timetable finalised. Letters to staff/informed of ‘provisional’ nature of

timetable. l Draft Special Needs timetable l Class lists and options finalised (1st/2nd/5th) and posted on notice

boards l Appointments of replacement staff finalised- if applicable l The yearly calendar issued with parent – teacher meetings and staff

days included l Appointment of outside supervisors l Appointment of additional staff for School Completion Programme l Compile own list of substitutes l Review last year’s mailing lists to ensure that information is updated

and accurate l Check transfer of information from Primary Schools under new

arrangements l Compile list of students in the following categories and arrange for

dissemination to staff – sensitivities, medical problems/assessed Special Needs/resource/exemptions from Irish/International/new transfers etc. l Commence preparation of September Returns (Timetable/Staff) l Commence Preparation of October Returns commences (Students) l Preparation for Staff Meeting – finalise staff handbook/

information/good practice l Allocate Year Head offices / staff lockers l Student induction/Return to school programme l Teacher meetings n Subject Planning Meetings n Year Group meetings n JCSP/LCA/TY etc. n Care team meetings l New staff orientation/ induction l Summer Works Scheme; Prepare application for submission by end of

September. Liaise with Chair of BOM and Architect (if applicable) l Draw up calendar /holiday roster for non-teaching staff


Comment / Follow-up

The Leader October 2013 Issue 2_Exec Report No.7 March 2008.qxd 08/10/2013 17:02 Page 24




Task l Ground Rules- Staff Handbook l Code of Behaviour/session with all classes – accentuate the Positive l Learning support and resource structures implemented l Meetings with specific teams initiated [Year Heads/ Special Needs l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l



/Assistant Principals etc.] List of Repeat Leaving Certificate students Rotas for break/lunch and morning supervision Fire Drill Submit online claims September Returns ongoing October Returns ongoing Special Needs timetable on-going Induction for First Years on-going Mass preparation Monthly and Yearly Planner Induction and Mentoring Programme for student teachers Extra-curricular activities plan/schedule Initiating Gaisce – President’s Award Scheme Planning for Open Night and Awards Night First Year Parents’ Information Evening Collect school levies Assign student lockers Appoint bus prefects Finalise Students’ Voluntary Insurance Scheme Election of Student Council Ensure that all employment contracts are in place. If in doubt check with JMB/ACS/VEC Check that arrangements for Staff Development Day have been finalised. [Venue, speakers, etc.] Staff meeting to address challenges emerging in the first month Final meeting of current Board Arrangements for election of Teacher Reps to new Board Arrangements for election of Parent Reps to new Board Liaise with Parent’s Council re AGM Start promotion of school for new intake Liaise with Primary Schools/6th Class Teachers Check Critical Incident Policy and remind staff

l Parent’s Council AGM l Special Needs timetable finalised l October Returns finalised l Arrange staff/student photographs l Begin the identification of teachers for redeployment (if over quota) l Check monthly planner is in place l First meeting of new Board l Finalise arrangements for the School Tour




Comment / Follow-up

The Leader October 2013 Issue 2_Exec Report No.7 March 2008.qxd 08/10/2013 17:02 Page 25




Task l Preparation for House Exams – agree deadlines and finalise

arrangements l Christmas Liturgical Events l Christmas Charity Event l School Show l Check November planner l Check on need for more NEPS assessments l Board of Management l Alert the DES re over quota scenario and teachers for redeployment

based on a subject audit


l CAO Parents’ Information Evening



l CAO Applications finalised

l Staff Night out l Christmas Exams l Update Prospectus l Board of Management l Finalise cleaning/security arrangements for Christmas break

l Parent Teacher meetings following from Christmas Exams l 1st years change options l Options Information Evening for 1st and 3rd year parents l Option presentations for 1st/3rd year students l Plan Pre Exams, feedback and deadlines l Exam bank giro/medical card info l Enrolment, organise letters for offers of places l Fire Drill


l Board of Management

l Finalise Enrolment procedure l Plan Enrolment Registration Evening l Mock Exams l Check deadlines for applications for Curricular Concessions, etc l Start to plan curriculum and teacher allocations for upcoming year – l l l l l l l

identify need for Curricular Concessions etc. Check with SENO for deadlines re submission of SN/O1 and SN/02] Leaving Certificate Levels [forms finalised] Look at applications for non- national allocation and traveller allocation Special Class Grant Identification of new students needing assistive technology Identify the type of contracts to be issued to RPT teachers for new year Board of Management




Comment / Follow-up

The Leader October 2013 Issue 2_Exec Report No.7 March 2008.qxd 08/10/2013 17:02 Page 26




Task l Enrolment process continues – Registration Evening/Prepare address

and organisation of venue l Finalise 1st / 3rd year options l Gather additional transition information l Collate information on enrolment form l State Examination: Orals/ Practical [Music/HE] Check lists and

l l l



l Assessments for new entrants – may no longer be necessary in light l l l l l


venues are in place and that necessary equipment is working. Compile a timetable of these and post in staffroom Return of Junior Certificate level entries Appoint Personnel for State Exams[Exam Aide / Special Centres etc] Ongoing work on Curriculum Plan Board of Management

of transfer of data from primary Ongoing work on Curriculum Plan Finalise Reports from Primary School Prepare for Graduation Ceremony/ Check arrangements are in place and Certificates/ Pendants etc are ready Organise First Year exams Board of Management

l Art Practical/LCVP.../finalise arrangements l Calendar for next academic year l Identify curriculum needs and advertise for new staff subject to BOM

approval and DES allocations. l Booklists l Summer exams/reports etc. l Leaving Certificate Graduation l TY Graduation l Do school facilities walk through- address areas that need repair


/refurbishments over the summer; complete hazard audit l Board of Management

l Finalise and do a first run of the timetable l Inform staff of classes for next year l Plan next year’s Staff Development Programme l Finalise Calendar and arrangements for the start of term next year l Prepare preliminary list for awards l Finalise Teachers Contracts and Written Statements l Arrange for summer cleaning l Necessary equipment serviced; order needed furniture l Arrange for clear out and archiving of office files.




Comment / Follow-up

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Youth Mental Health: Whose Business is it Anyway? A nationwide Mental Health Awareness Initiative By Eileen O’Connor, Chairperson, ATECI. The Association of Teachers’/Education Centres in Ireland (ATECI) is delighted to announce that earlier this year it secured philanthropic funding of 250k from One Foundation for the delivery of a Mental Health Awareness Initiative [MHAI] across the Irish post-primary school network. The overall objectives of the Initiative are: l to increase understanding and awareness of mental health

among whole school staff l to increase understanding of the role of schools in

promoting positive mental health l to raise awareness amongst teachers of their potential role

as One Good Adult in promoting and supporting young people’s mental health in line with the recent Department of Education and Skills (DES) publication ‘Well–being in Post-Primary Schools’. l to clarify the boundaries of the teacher’s role in

appropriately supporting student’s mental health. In what can be described as a truly collaborative approach, Headstrong, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health and the SPHE Support Service, in conjunction with National Educational Psychology Service (NEPS) and the HSE – Health Promotion have worked with the ATECI on the development of the content and delivery of the training of

the 60 ‘Lead Facilitators’ across the Education Centre Network during September 2013. Using a ‘train the trainer’ cascade model, these newly trained lead facilitators will now promote and deliver the awareness programme for post-primary teachers at their local Education Centre, in out-of-school time, through a series of workshops (2 sessions of 3 hours each) to be delivered during the remainder of 2013/early 2014. Over the coming weeks, all post-primary schools will be invited by their local Education Centre to nominate 3 members of staff for training as Mental Health Promoters (MHPs) who will then take the message back to their whole-school community. As mentioned by Minister Ciaran Cannon, T.D., at the recent official launch of the Initiative in Laois Education Centre, Thursday, September 19th, the significance of this independently funded project is that it has the potential to reach into every post-primary school and classroom in the country. To this end, we encourage all schools to participate in the training of 3 staff members as MHPs and thereby ensure the delivery of this timely and important Initiative across the Irish post-primary network nationwide.

Professional Diploma in Education (PDE)

Partnership Partnership PProgramme rogramme The PDE Par tnership Programme is a par tnership between Hibernia College and Irish post primary schools designed to create a positive, suppor tive environment for graduate student teachers (GS Ts) under takingg teaching placements in schools as par t of the College’s PDE programme. This includes suppor ting school-based mentors (prac tising teachers from within the school) for all GS Ts.

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE There is strong evidence to show that schools who par tner in Initial ,b8O|b± YÁO8¼Œ FbŒbo¼ Œ ‰8ŒÊ È8Ê´¡ Fb±Œ8 ††btb nnb±´ mentors access to a professional mentor network where best prac tice can be shared and research and other career focussed networks can be forged. The programme also includes 15 weeks of professional practice in three blocks of four, five and five weeks, to be undertaken in two different schools. The blocks are preceded by one week of observation. Hibernia College is committed to supportingg and developingg the relationship between the college and participating schools through a combination of best practice techniques including on-site visits and mentor support.


Professional practice

First subject

Second subject

School Experience & 9 hours/week Professional Practice 1 School Experience & 3 hours/week Professional Practice 1 School Experience & Professional Practice 1 6 hours/week

3 hours/week 9 hours/week 6 hours/week

hiberrni n Live. Learn. Page 27

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By Seán McDonagh

Seán McDonagh is a former Director of an Institute of Technology and a former University Lecturer in Mathematics. He was Director of the Skills Initiative Unit promoting actions to increase the supply of technicians to the Irish economy. He was a member of the national Expert Group for Future Skill Needs. Recent activities have included membership of An international group advising on Educational Strategy in the Sultanate of Oman. In recent years he was keynote speaker at a European Conference of the Universities of Applied Science in the Hague and at a meeting of the Danish University Colleges at Kolding. He has spoken on education in Columbia and at the national conference of the British Educational Studies Association.


O N TA C T S Email:

LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2013 – Change and Continuity his note, in analysing some statistics on the Leaving Certificate 2013, seeks to draw attention to some changes that have occurred in a large system that, inevitably, retains strong continuity from year to year in participation, subject and level choice and performance.


In 2013 there were 52,713 candidates – 26,592 male and 26,121 female. This compares with 54,341 in 2011. As these figures include external candidates it is reasonable to regard English and Mathematics as “universal” subjects both having about 50,825 candidates in the 2013 examinations at their two and three levels respectively. In 2013 there were about 354,500 subject entries in 43 subjects including 20 languages. Of these 215,650 or 60.8% were at Higher level. Without Mathematics and Irish, large subjects and the subjects of lowest Higher proportion, the remaining subjects had a Higher rate of about 71%. Ordinary subject entries, 129,255, accounted for 36.5% and Foundation level 2.7% with 9,593.

Of the Higher entries female formed a majority, 52.0%. Males formed a majority of Ordinary entries, 53.5%, and a larger majority, 57.0%, of Foundation entries. The Leaving Certificate examination can be sat through two languages, English and Irish. In 2013 there were about 7,100 entries through Irish, about 2% of the total, and 77.4% of these were for Higher level subjects. The majority, 56.5% of the candidates were female. Mathematics accounted for about a fifth of these Irish medium entries and a further quarter was contributed by Biology and French.

CHANGE IN HIGHER LEVEL ENTREES 2011-2013 Changes in subject entries are compared in Table 1 by listing the % change since 2011 in entries at Higher Level. Subject vary considerably in the proportion of their candidates at Higher Level as will be noted in Table 6. Subjects are grouped under broad discipline headings Languages, Mathematical Subjects, Sciences, Arts, Humanities, Business Subjects and Home Economics, Engineering Subjects.







Math +58.0%


Polish +40.0%


Spanish +23.0%


Irish +16.1%

Ap Math +15.4% Agri Sci +12.6%


German +3.3% French +2.1% English +1.5%

Chem +7.7% Biology +3.3% Physics +1.0%



Technol +35.2% Rel Ed +26.6%

Music +5.3%

Home E +2.0% Econ +0.6%

Design +0.6%

Hist -1.9% Art -4.3% Geog -7.0%

Account -3.1% Busin -3.8%

Const -4.6% Engin -5.5%

The changes are interesting and show some variation by broad discipline heading. Page 28


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v Higher Mathematics, affected by a new bonus in the Points System, showed the largest increase of 58.0% in the 2 year period. It is discussed further below. Female participation increased more strongly so that they formed 46.6% of the Higher Mathematics entry in 2013. The entire increase in Applied Mathematics, 15.4%, is explained by a 20.7% increase in male participation in a male dominated subject. v In Languages Higher Spanish grew strongly by 23.0% to almost 3,000 entries. Another European language of future global importance, Portuguese, attracted only 58 candidates. The major subject Irish had a large increase of 16.1% at Higher level which is discussed further below. Polish has grown to 769 entries in 2013 v In the Sciences the changes by gender were interesting. Male entries for Physics increased by 3.7% while female entries decreased by 5.8%. Males had a 9.9% increase in Higher Biology while the female candidates in this female dominated subject slightly decreased. The Chemistry increase of 7.7% was caused by a strong male increase of 12.9%. Agricultural Science grew strongly in Higher candidates. v In the Humanities the major subject Higher Geography showed a sizeable decrease of 7.0%. History and Art showed lesser decreases. Religious Education grew to 1,123 Higher Entries. v In the Business subjects there are also contrasting changes by gender. In Higher Accounting the female entries declined by 11.0% while the males increased by 5.4%. In Higher Economics males showed a 4.1% increase contrasting with a female decrease of 5.1%. In Business Studies the female decrease of 6.0% exceeded the male 1.25%. v In Engineering the 2 major subjects Construction and Engineering showed a decline at Higher level while the new subject Technology grew strongly to 945 Higher entries.

CHANGES IN HIGHER MATHEMATICS Mathematics is a critically important subject. It confers vital generic skills and enables the study of other disciplines. It is a proven predictor of success and persistence in Higher Education. In the period 2011-2013 the Leaving Certificate entries to Higher Mathematics increased from 8,235 to 13,014, an increase of 58.0%. Ordinary Level correspondingly declined from 37,506 to 32,165. Foundation Level also declined from 6,249 to 5,677. A major influence in this increase is the new bonus awarded for passes in Higher Mathematics. This flat bonus, the same for all grades, rewards low passing grades proportionately more than high grades. The ratio of points awarded for high to low Higher grades has been decreased. This risks gaming by bright young people who might target low passing grades in Higher Mathematics and allocate their energies to other subjects. For courses that require Higher level all eligible applicants get the same bonus. The bonus gives no additional encouragement to better Ordinary Level achievement despite the proven relationship between mathematical achievement and success in Higher Education. Table 2 gives the broad pattern of results in Mathematics in 2013 and 2011. It also gives, for comparison, the English results achieved in 2013 by essentially the same students. The Total column gives the % of all those taking the subject although it does not give the outcomes of Foundation Mathematics.


English 2013

Math 2013

Math 2011



































v The numbers getting high A/B Mathematics grades has increased by 809 to 4,700. In 2013 these high grades were achieved by 36% of those doing Higher Mathematics. In 2011, however, they were achieved by 47% of those doing the Higher course. v The major increase of 3,777 is in those getting the lower passing C/D grades at Higher level i.e. those most rewarded proportionately by the flat bonus scheme. v At Ordinary level those getting high, A/B, grades has declined. In 2011 the A Ordinary grade was achieved by 4,280 students! That grade in 2013 was achieved by 1,744. v At Ordinary C/D level the numbers have increased to 37.8% – the bonus system does not give any additional encouragement to improved Ordinary level performance. v Table 2 also enables a broad comparison with English that other “universal” subject. In English 64.4% of all entries got a Higher passing grade and 97.6% got a passing grade at either level compared to 82.0% for Mathematics. There is a strong contrast in the numbers getting Ordinary C/D grades. v In 2011 over 20,000 got Honours A/B/C in Junior Certificate Higher Mathematics.


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It is worth looking at the Mathematical result pattern by gender and Table 3 gives that broad outline. It is clear that the males in the two years have increased the Higher A/B grades more strongly while the female candidates more strongly exhibit the increase of Higher C/D grades. See also Table 8 below. TABLE 3: BROAD MATHEMATICAL RESULTS BY GENDER: 2013, 2011 [SEC] Gender








Female 2013 Female 2011

7.5% 6.9%

15.9% 7.3%

21.4% 34.1%

38.6% 34.3%

83.4% 82.6%

Male 2013 Male 2011

10.9% 8.1%

15% 8.5%

17.6% 26.2%

37.1% 35.4%

80.6% 78.2%

CHANGES IN IRISH LANGUAGE OUTCOMES Irish, a major subject, with 44,399 candidates in 2013 at its three levels , has had a major increase of 16.1% in Higher entries since 2011. The incentive in this case was not a points bonus. In 2013 the Higher level had 16,669 entries compared to 14,359 in 2011. The male increase in Higher entries was 20.0% compared to 13.9% for females. Males still formed a minority 36.6% of Higher Irish entries and a smaller, 32.9%, proportion of those achieving A/B grades in Higher Irish. Table 4 enables a comparison of the broad outcomes in Irish by gender in 2011 and 2013 and, using Table 2, a comparison with the English pattern of outcomes. The Total column gives the % of all Irish entries although Foundation Irish outcomes are not included in the Table. TABLE 4: BROAD OUTCOMES IN IRISH, 2011 AND 2013 [SEC] Gender








Female 2013

6,188 27.7%

4,340 19.4%

4,199 18.8%

5,957 26.6%


Female 2011

4,788 20.7%

4,390 19.0%

5,967 25.8%

5,891 25.5%


Male 2013

3,040 14.3%

3,040 14.3%

3,154 14.8%

8,732 41.0%


Male 2011

2,294 10.8%

2,733 12.8%

4,337 20.4%

7,693 36.1%


In Table 4 the increase, female 1,400, male 736, in those achieving Higher A/B is clear. Males also have increased those getting Higher C/D. Yet Male lower comparative participation and performance and the stronger clustering of male results in the lower Ordinary grades are amongst the matters of deep concern about Irish. In 2011 over 19,000 got Honours A/B/C in Junior Cert. Higher Irish.

RANKING OF HIGHER LEVEL SUBJECTS AND RANKING CHANGES Table 1 has shown changes in candidate numbers in the past two years. Subjects can be ranked by their examination candidate numbers and by gender. Table 5 gives the 2013 Higher subject rankings and also indicates the changes in ranking since 2011. TABLE 5: RANKING OF HIGHER SUBJECTS BY GENDER 2013 (2011) [SEC] Entries 2013 15,110 10,758 9,251 6,945 6,180 6,108 5,612 5,578 4,297 3,589 3,586 3,567 3,537 3,098 2,491 2,431 2,062 1,834 1,749 1,132 Page 30

Male (2011) English Geography Biology Mathematics (8) Construction (4) Irish (7) Business (5) French (6) History Physics (12) Engineering (10) Agri Science (13) Design/Com (11) Chemistry (15) Art (14) Economics Accounting Music German Applied Math

Ranking 2013

Female (2011)

Entries 2013

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

English Biology Irish (4) Geography (3) French Home Econ Mathematics (9) Business (7) Art (8) Music Chemistry (12) History (11) German Agri Science Spanish (16) Accounting (15) Economics Physics Relig Educ Design/Comm

18,169 14,185 10,561 9,004 8,610 8,179 6,069 5,961 5,375 3,876 3,658 3,489 2,576 2,384 1,901 1,871 1,326 1,243 568 480


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The ranking in Table 5 shows again that, while there is major overlap, the pattern of female Higher subject choice differs from the male pattern. In the top 5 they share 3 subjects, in the top 10 they share 7. v The female choices are again much more concentrated on fewer subjects. Their top 5, which includes 3 languages, account for 60,500 entries. The male top 5, with one language, has 48,250 entries. The female top 10 has 90,000 entries contrasting with 73,500 for the males. v English is top of both lists while Biology and Geography again illustrate their major importance in the Irish school system by appearing in both the top 5 lists. v Mathematics has increased its rankings and is now in the male top 5. Irish, also, has risen in both. Business Studies, in both top 10s, has declined on both lists since 2011. v Physics has battled to a top 10 male ranking while Chemistry shows a higher ranking on both lists. v French shows its strength in both lists as the dominant foreign language.

SUBJECT PROPORTIONS TAKING HIGHER LEVEL Tables 1 and 5 deal with the Higher level subjects. The Leaving Certificate is, of course, a two level programme (or three if one includes the Foundation levels in two subjects). The proportions taking Higher or Ordinary level vary considerably by subject and these proportions have a strong continuity. They are interesting because all subjects, despite these variations, are treated equally in the Points System. Table 6 gives the proportions taking the Higher level in 2013. TABLE 6: PROPORTIONS TAKING HIGHER LEVEL BY SUBJECT, 2013 [SEC]





Polish 100%

App Math 91.9%

Music 91.8%

Chem 82.8% Biology 74.4%




Rel Ed 87.7%

Econ 81.1%

Techn 87.9% Const 81.0%

Geog 78.1% Art 76.4%

Home E 73.9%

Engin 76.7% Design 75.1%

Hist 65.9%

Account 69.3% Busin 68.3%

Agri Sci 80.3% 70% 60%

English 65.5% German 65.1% Spanish 60.4%


French 55.6%

40% 30% 20%

Irish 38.2% Math 25.6%

v Mathematics, despite the growth in Higher level form 15.9% in 2011, has in 2013 by far the lowest %, 25.6, taking the Higher option. Of those taking Higher or Ordinary 28.8% took the Higher. Mathematics is an exceptional subject deserving incentives to achievement wider than the recent flat bonus. v Irish despite its Higher level increases is distinguished amongst languages for its small proportion, 38.2%, of Higher students. Of its Higher and Ordinary students 41.9% took the Higher option. Significantly Irish and Mathematics have Foundation levels. v All the main languages have Higher proportions lower than all the other main subjects where broadly three out of every four do Higher level. v Some subjects such as Applied Mathematics and Music are close to being Higher level only. Of those taking Higher Applied Mathematics 26.5% got an A grade.

MALE /FEMALE RATIO FOR HIGHER LEVEL SUBJECTS Subjects vary by the proportions of male and female students sitting the Higher level option. That is obvious from the ranking of Higher subjects in Table 5. In the next section the performance of students by subject and gender will be compared. Firstly Table 7 gives the female/male breakdown per subject by giving the male % for each Higher level subject. Table 7 reveals again the strong differences in 2013 in choice by sex. Some subjects are dominated by one sex e.g. Home Economics a major subject for females and, for males, the four Engineering subjects and Applied Mathematics.


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The Higher Arts and Languages have strong female majorities. The Business subjects and Humanities are more evenly pursued. The Sciences divide – Higher Biology has a strong female participation while Higher Physics is strongly male. Higher Mathematics 2013 divided 46.6% female, 53.4% male. The breakdown by gender raises an expectation of “selection effects” i.e. that the sex with the smaller participation might contain a higher proportion of highly motivated students and have better results. That expectation is not realised! TABLE 7: MALE PROPORTION OF CANDIDATES PER HIGHER LEVEL SUBJECT [SEC] Home Economics Art Music

8.1% 31.7% 32.1%

Religious Educ Geography History

49.4% 54.4% 55.1%

Spanish Irish French German Polish English

35.8% 36.6% 39.3% 40.4% 45.1% 45.5%

Biology Chemistry Agric Science Physics Mathematics Applied Math

39.5% 45.9% 59.9% 74.3% 53.4% 77.1%

Business Accounts Economics

48.5% 52.4% 64.7%

Technology Design/Comm Construction Engineering

83.3% 88.1% 94.0% 95.8%

PERFORMANCE AT HIGHER LEVEL 2013 Table 8 measures and compares performance in the Leaving Certificate by giving the % of Higher level candidates by gender who received high, A/B, grades. TABLE 8: PERFORMANCE AT HIGHER LEVEL: % A/B GRADES BY GENDER 2013 Higher Subject

Male % A/B

Female % A/B

Gap +/–

Home Economics











+ 4.2




+ 2.7




+ 8.8




+ 6.7




+ 5.1




+ 6.7








+ 4.5




+ 6.5




+ 2.9

Relig Education







+ 7.3




+ 4.3




+ 4.6





Agric Science



+ 8.9




+ 2.8





Applied Mathematics




















Page 32

v Table 8 shows great variation across subjects in the rates of achieving A/B grades from 23.8% of male Home Economics students to 68.1% of female Music students. Subjects therefore show strong variation in the rates of uptake of the Higher courses, by gender and in their results. v Of the 24 subjects listed females “outperformed” males in 19 of them and by a large gap of more than 5 in 11 of them. They again outperformed males by this measure in all languages, arts, humanities, and business subjects. In 2013, exceptionally, males got more A/Bs in Chemistry amongst the Science subjects but, as in past years, lagged in the other Science subjects. v Males had the advantage in 2013 in 5 subjects. Three of these, as in past years, are Applied Mathematics and two Engineering subjects where, as shown above, males dominate. The few females taking Technology did well in 2013. v A major change has occurred in Mathematics. The female A/B rates in 2011 and 2012 were 47.9% and 44.6% respectively exceeding the male rates of 46.7% and 42.0% of those years. In sharp contrast the female rate has dropped to 31.0% and is exceeded by the male rate by 9.5. Of course the number taking Higher has increased. v The “selection effects” that one might expect in, say, Languages and Arts which have fewer male candidates are not evident as in all these subjects the larger female enrolment got a larger proportion of Higher A/B grades. The male consistent large comparative underachievement in the subject Art deserves explanation.


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Would “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) be a viable strategy for our students? issues and these may be a distraction for teachers. A good pilot programme with TY for example could help establish which devices worked well with the school services and limit students to these devices in future years. The minimum that should be expected from a BYOD device is that it can browse the internet. (BYOD is sometimes referred to as “Bring and Browse”) Text books can be loaded on the computers in a 1:1 programme but parents and students would be responsible for purchasing access to these textbooks in the BYOD situation.

WHAT IS BYOD? BYOD is the term used to describe a facility for students to bring a computing device of their own to school. At school the device will be provided with regulated access to the school WiFi facilities and filtered access to the Internet. BYOD assumes that the device will be used in class to support learning activities. The user device in a BOYD programme can be a smart phone, a tablet or a laptop. Schools may specify the range of devices types that can be used. Where schools feel the costs of a school prescribed device are too high then BOYD could be a good strategy. Careful planning and the support of all stakeholders and in particular the support of subject teachers are essential for a successful programme.

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF BYOD? Where students bring their own computing device to school their school experience will be more in line with the world that they inhabit outside of school. This fact alone will make the school experience more relevant and studies have shown that students with a device are more motivated and engaged and in some cases there are far fewer discipline issues. The main objective of any BYOD programme is to improve learner outcomes and the availability of a student device can greatly increase the range of possible classroom activities. But teachers need to take advantage of BYOD by redesigning their lessons accordingly. BYOD does not automatically change anything until teachers change the way they teach. On a recent visit to a school in London where BYOD was available for the past three years to senior students, two final year students I spoke to told me that just half their teachers made good use of their computers in lessons. Page 34

SEAMUS RYAN Seamus Ryan, H2 Learning, has been involved in many 1:1 projects over the past seven years and currently works with several schools on implementing 1:1 in the context of transforming their learning environment and implementing 1:1. Seamus is giving a workshop on BYOD at the NAPD Conference in Galway


O N TA C T S Email:

As with 1:1 school programmes (one computer one student) BOYD offers the same potential benefits with some advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that the student is likely to be more familiar with their device because the own it and are using it before they bring it to school. The school can make it clear from the start that the BYOD device is the sole responsibility of the student and therefore no technical support is expected or provided. (The only viable situation for Irish Schools !) The disadvantages of BYOD over 1:1 include the difficulties of having manydifferent devices in the one room and the different features available on each device. There will inevitably be some technical

For parents a school BYOD programme could be much cheaper than a 1:1 programme. Many students already have a device of their own, maybe more than one if we include Smartphones, and the introduction of BYOD in the senior years of the school allows students and parents to plan ahead with any purchases. But some students from disadvantaged backgrounds may not have a suitable device and this situation needs to be addressed through a school rental or borrowing scheme or some other local initiative. A further difficulty was recently pointed out to me by the students in a Dublin inner city girls school, namely the problem of some students having very expensive “cool” devices while other may have old “hand me downs”. A school strategy for these issues must be developed at the planning stage. Because parents in Irish schools have always paid for their students books and school equipment there is likely to be more acceptance of the BYOD concept by Irish parents than there is in other countries where books etc. are free. A school that implements a successful BOYD programme can greatly reduce the number of desktop computers over time and all the costs associated with their maintenance and replacement. A school will also be able to make more intensive use of its cloud services (email, file storage, Intranet, VLE etc.) to


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significantly reduce paper and printing costs. But as we will see below a good wireless system is essential as well as 100MB Broadband and a good fixed Network. These are expensive investments items if they are not already in place.

HOW DOES BYOD WORK IN THE SCHOOL SETTING? In planning a BYOD programme you will need to address the following issues: l A school vision for learning that includes the need for student devices l Subject Department agreement on the need for a student device in class l Stakeholder support l Target Learners for a pilot programme and who will have a device in coming years l IT infrastructure including fixed network and wireless and ongoing technical support l Security and service access l Range of acceptable devices (Are smartphones acceptable?) l Provision for disadvantaged students l BYOD integrated into Whole Staff CPD and Subject Department CPD programmes In schools where large numbers of students are bringing their devices to school an information pack is made available before the start of the programmeand thisincludes all the

information required including “Acceptable Use Policy” and the basic rules for using devices in the school. It also contains instructions on how to access the wireless on first connection thus leaving the initial access a student task. With the best systems 95% of students will be able to connect without any help and technical support would be provided on the for the remainder. The school wireless system should be capable of being segmented into separate networks for Students , Staff and Guests and bandwidth allocated accordingly. A good school system (designed for the school environment) will then provide services according to rules which can be varied for different groups (i.e. Leaving Certificate students, First Years etc.) The wireless should be able to deliver a balanced service to all users and avoid any single user reducing the quality of service to others. (Fairness) These features are only available in “enterprise standard” wireless systems but are absolutely essential for a good wireless experience for BYOD or 1:1. Ideally students will login to the wireless system with their own name thus providing a log of their activities. In the classroom students use their devices as instructed by their teachers, usually to access the internet for research or to use web based applications such as a class web page or web apps such as Google Docs or Microsoft Office Apps. The other features of the student device may also be used to record learning activities (such as science experiments) with the camera and the pictures or video uploaded to an Eportfolio. Devices would be out of sight


when not in use to avoid the inevitable distraction for some students. BYOD has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages can be summarised as follows, different equipment for each student will lead to some inequity in terms of what students can do with their devices, technical issues are inevitable and can be a distraction for the teacher, devices can distract students who will want to use non educational apps during class, and “Mine is better than Yours” or I don’t have any device is potential problem. Add to these the considerable expense of providing suitable WiFi and upgrading the fixed network. The benefits are significant in terms of learner engagement and providing a more relevant school experience. For the schools that I visited recently in London, where BYOD was part of school life for three years, they started with the senior students and are introducing it down the school one year at a time. The extra maturity of the senior students and the fact that they were more likely to have a suitable device made their BYOD programmes easier to implement. In both schools it was compulsory for final year students to have a device in school as this ensured they had the necessary IT skills for College afterwards. In future articles I hope to publish some school ICT case studies including 1:1 and BYOD. If you have a programme and would like to share your experience with the NAPD audience please contact me at the email address on page 23.


Visit g \WÅVLW]\UWZM    . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leading Content. Your Way ...... ......


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x i n e o h P Early August Front of school on a quiet sum

mer’s day

Late August ppened? Wow! What ha

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Newpark was one of the schools established, as a Protestant comprehensive, in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of free education. Built in 1972, the school quickly became a hub of activity – 800+ day pupils, night classes, sport and music centres. In the mid-1990s the burning question was Refurbish or Rebuild. The DES quickly decided on the latter and slowly undertook to carry it out. This Summer, Stage One of ‘the build’ got underway. With the help of the school’s photographers Philip Hollwey and Mary Kennedy, we’ll be watching the process.

Devastation and demolition Hard hats and visibility jackets

Think of the noise Cranes, diggers and fencing

term Day 1 Autumn monster e th of In the shadow

Pre-fab City Home for the next two years


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JUNIOR CYCLE FOR TEACHERS: Supporting school leaders in a time of change Dr. Pádraig Kirk, Director, CPD for Junior Cycle, Department of Education and Skills A Framework for Junior Cycle, published in October 2012, is set to commence in schools in September 2014. The Framework heralds a fundamental change in the provision of post-primary education in this country, one that gives schools greater autonomy in terms of the educational experiences they provide for their students. The work involved in developing the Framework has been extensive and multifaceted with all the key education partners involved, including the Department of Education and Skills, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the State Examinations Commission, various representative bodies, schools, school leaders, teachers, parents and students. Now, as we enter into the last school year before the new Framework is introduced in schools, the focus clearly shifts to schools themselves. A similar extensive and multi-faceted approach will also be required at school level. The Department of Education and Skills have established a new dedicated continuing professional development (CPD) service for schools - Junior Cycle for Teachers (or JCT for short). Our role is to support schools in their implementation of the Framework through the provision of appropriate high quality CPD for school leaders and teachers and the development of suitable resources. The successful implementation of the Framework in schools will depend to a significant degree on the capacity of school leaders to lead out on the change process in their schools. The Framework itself recognises this when it states that “Principals and Deputy Principals in their leadership role will receive comprehensive professional development in curriculum leadership, educational assessment, including moderation and change management” (p.26). JCT has put in place plans and strategies to ensure that school leaders are well supported in their role as educational leaders in this time of change. The feedback from the information seminars for school principals held by the Department of Education and Skills earlier this year assisted in identifying the urgent CPD needs of school leaders. JCT also hopes to collaborate with NAPD in the near future to survey school leaders on their on-going CPD needs. So, what are JCT’s plans in terms of supporting school leaders?First and foremost, JCT has incorporated engagement with school leaders on a regular basis into its long term plan for the provision of CPD. In essence, this means that JCT plans to engage with school leaders on a regular basis right across each of the implementation phases of the new Framework. There are four phases in all, the first commencing with the introduction of English and short courses in September 2014. Other subjects will come on stream in 2015, and again in 2016 and


Dr. Pádraig Kirk 2017 and schools will be developing and refining their Junior Cycle programme and approaches throughout this period and beyond. Shortly, JCT will write to school principals inviting them to their first Framework for Junior Cycle workshop. This will take place during school time in term 1 of 2013/14. A second workshop is planned for later in this school year. Principals will be invited to nominate a second attendee from their school (for example, the deputy principal, member of the school’s Junior Cycle steering committee, Junior Cycle coordinator, etc.). In the first workshop, facilitated by our associate leaders, we will briefly revisit the rationale for change, spell out the CPD plan for school leaders and teachers, address some change management principles, begin to look at best practice in curricular planning, explore some timetabling options and provide participants with ideas for getting started in the form of a starter pack. While the first workshop will be a half-day workshop, in the future full-day workshops may also be offered depending on the content being covered. JCT is also planning for the provision of supplementary seminars and workshops. Our service has identified a range of topics suited to these particular seminars/workshops including curriculum planning, timetabling, educational assessment, embedding key skills, standardised testing, moderation, change management, instructional leadership, subject specifications and short courses. JCT has appointed a full-time Deputy Director, Mr. Paddy Flood, based in Monaghan Education Centre, with responsibility for delivery of our school

leadership CPD. Our service is also fortunate to have recruited a dedicated team of over twenty professionals, serving principals and deputy principals, who will work with us as associate trainers and will assist in the delivery of our school leaders’ programme. This is an experienced team of individuals. They manage schools on a daily basis and are well positioned to facilitate school leaders in discussing and developing approaches and practices relevant to the Framework. They will also be able to share their own personal experiences and insights of introducing elements of the Framework in their own schools. JCT will provide a range of online supports for schools. Our website,, a collaboration with NCCA, aims to be a onestop-shop for all things Junior Cycle. School leaders will find an abundance of support materials and resources on the site, including various presentations on the new Junior Cycle for staffs, parents and students, as well as starter pack materials, templates, classroom resources and video clips. Also, JCT is on twitter and if you would like to keep up to date with information from us why not follow us @JCforTeachers. Our following here is growing daily. JCT will work closely with other support services of the Department of Education and Skills. We have already agreed a sequencing of CPD activity for 2013/2014 with the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) that will see our own Junior Cycle focused CPD and PDSTs School SelfEvaluation (SSE) focused CPD delivered in a way that will ensure maximum support and guidance is provided for school leaders in using the SSE process in the context of the Junior Cycle. Our aim at all times will be to ensure that a seamless continuum of support is provided for school leaders and teachers. In conclusion, there is no doubt that the implementation of the Framework will require significant change in schools, and we all know that change can cause upset and upheaval. Notwithstanding, JCT wishes to work closely with schools, including school leaders and their representatives, to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum. If we all work together, we can make this work, and future generations of students will thank us for it. Pádraig Kirk will be speaking at the NAPD Conference. Page 37

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n September 24, in Prague, Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow, all from Kinsale Community School, were awarded First Prize in Biology at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Representing Ireland (North and South) the girls beat off intense competition from over 120 students from 38 countries, ranging in ages from 14-20, to win the award worth €7,000 as well as an honorary award of an all-expenses paid trip to the London International Youth Science Forum. Each year the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition winner receives the honour of representing Ireland in the annual EU competition. Colm O’Neill, Chief Executive, BT Ireland said, “In 25 years of competing at the EU competition, Ireland has now taken home the top honours 15 times, out-performing all other countries. We believe this major award will add to the future career prospects for Ciara, Emer and Sophie, raise the profile of their school and teachers, and further boost the impressive international credentials of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. The girls have done us proud.” Ciara, Emer and Sophie from Kinsale Community School, Cork won the coveted 2013 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition prize for their project entitled, ‘A statistical investigation of the effects of diazotroph bacteria on plant germination.’ Their project investigated the benefits of diazotrophs during the germination stage of plant growth. The girls statistically analysed the results of their investigations using the student T-test.

Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey & Sophie Healy-Thow in Prague.

The 2014 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin from January 8–11, 2014. For more information on the exhibition, log onto Transform Learning

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The Leader Reader

Have you read either of this month’s books? If you have, let us know if you agree with our reviewers, or not. Email to is refreshing; the reader knows exactly what he is saying. And what he is saying won’t make pleasant reading for the politicians, managers and technocrats who have shaped, and continue to shape, our schooling system. Pádraig Pearse described the Irish education system as ‘The Murder Machine’. This book leaves no doubt about Hederman’s agreement. Hederman advocates a child-centred model of education leading to selfdirected and independent learners. New Junior Cycle anyone? And what about the Leaving Cert? In its current form it should be scrapped immediately. He wonders, perhaps correctly, but a tad naively, why Ruairí Quinn has not already done so. Echoing Ken Robinson, captured in a celebrated animated YouTube clip, Hederman says that our schooling system is based on an early 20th Century factory model. Schools, therefore are akin to “assembly lines to provide children with chunks of knowledge necessary to work in a rigid hierarchical society where memory and obeying rules are all you need to be an efficient cog in the wheel’’. Hard to argue against, although thankfully many progressive Irish schools are beginning to change the learning environment. Even if our top-down system stasis persists, there are many exciting bottom-up changes taking place.


The Boy in the Bubble


Mark Patrick Hederman








Barry O’Callaghan, E:



ark Patrick Hederman, former headmaster of Glenstal Abbey School and now Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, pulls no punches in his unambiguous denunciation of our schooling system in his book, The Boy in the Bubble. He clinically identifies the shortcomings in our schooling system which fails to develop the imaginations of our children and fails to prepare them to meet the challenges ahead in an uncertain world. Paraphrasing Kahlil Gibran in “The Prophet”, he writes “the great dilemma for those of us involved in education is that we are preparing children for a world that we will never know and can never enter”. You won’t find political weasel words in this text; there is no sense of treading on egg shells or trying to avoid sensitivities. Hederman’s honesty


For Hederman, size matters. Unequivocally, he addresses the issue of school size and class size, not falling for the neo-con agenda which claims to know that class size is not a factor. Time and again he comes back to the critical relationship between individual teacher and individual learner as the key to true education: “The secret of education is to have a better teacher-student ratio … communication between people is vital for any form of education, as the essential element is person to person contact … real education is a duet between the person of the teacher and the person of the student”. He is no fan of the CAO points system. He takes little comfort from the fact that Glenstal regularly finishes top of Leaving Cert. points tables, claiming that “the points system is no indication of how good an education is”. He goes on: “The system is mind-numbing. In an age when facts can be looked up on Google, it is an out-of-date exercise as ineffective as it is counterproductive”. Hederman reminds us of something we all know but nobody seemingly is prepared to challenge – the current school year belonging to times long past and still being determined by the needs of the harvesting cycles. He does not shirk from claiming that the number of days taken as holidays in the summer is a “disgrace”, adding “of course, teachers love their holidays, but they come from a time when children had to work”. Not sure he’ll be getting an invite to a Union Conference next Easter, or if he did he wouldn’t get the much-feared red card treatment, or the stony silence from a hall full of silent professionals. Those familiar with Mark Patrick Hederman know that he is person of Page 39

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Table tennis, aerial gymnastics, a graphically illustrated story … not, at first sight, what one might expect from a respected education journal like Le Chéile. Issue No. 7 is presented in four parts: Broadening Learning Horizons, Further Education at the Crossroads, Mental Health and Wellness: a new focus, and Arts. It deals with a broad range of topics some pretty weighty but, my goodness, it’s value for money. The space now finally called Further Education and Training historically has been fragmented, messy and incoherent with a multiplicity of providers, operating in different sectors. Professor Gareth Parry, in his piece on the big issues in Further Education (FE) reflects: ‘Apart from the policy discourse, there are very few statements, overviews or attempts to map out this bit of the landscape called further education and training [in Ireland]’. In a thought-provoking piece he begins to delineate this landscape by discussing a series of pretty fundamental questions about its purpose: is FE a continuation of school, the start of higher education, or is it a separate cohesive stand-alone entity? Can FE colleges be flexible, responding to economic, employer and Governmental demands while still retaining a coherent curriculum? Is FE simply a place to remediate those for whom secondary education just didn’t work? Can it/ should it be all of these things?

Mark Patrick Hederman formidable intellect. In this book, he moves effortlessly in drawing lessons from history, philosophy, social sciences, religion and the arts. He presents with much experience and no little authority. It behoves us to pay attention. “Sixty thousand people in Ireland every year, who want to get adequate points in their final examinations, have to give up the last two years of schooling to filling their heads with irrelevant knowledge, which then then have to regurgitate in long hand on a particular day at the start of summer. Our whole examination system at this level is out of date and is based on a completely different culture from the one that now swamps us all. And the sad truth is we all know this and cannot face the task of replacing it” Is the book worth reading? Yes, at least once, but I suspect if you have got this far, you probably fully agree with Hederman. In fact you could have contributed a chapter of your own. So, if you really believe in education reform and in the future of our children (and less interested in how Haddington Road has made you a little poorer) make it your business to ensure that the modest reforms currently on the table are not derailed.




Le Chéile Issue No. 7

October 2013



Le Chéile


Derek West






David Meredith, E:

Page 40

With the establishment of SOLAS and the new Education and Training Boards there is now a significant opportunity to create a unified and cohesive provision with its own identity. Fiona Hartley, the Executive Director designate of SOLAS will be responsible, largely, for steering this Further Education and Training ship. Although acronym-heavy, her contribution to Le Chéile reflects the enormity of the task in building what she terms a ‘world class integrated FET system’ that will ‘transform lives through integrated further education, provide business with the right skills and … anticipate and respond immediately to labour markets’. Her contribution is positive and confident and there’s enough in it to suggest that SOLAS will be a markedly different animal to FÁS. A danger, flagged clearly by Rory O’Sullivan in the last Edition of Le Chéile, and in part reflected a little in some of the other contributions to this edition, is that the required debate about the vision and mission of this newly organised sector has the potential to be side-tracked by the loud claims of powerful stakeholders who may try to shape the emerging FE sector in their own image. In the last edition of Le Chéile, Tony Bates and Barbara Dooley outlined some startling evidence relating to the mental health and well-being of young people. A range of responses to troubled young people are considered in the Mental Health and Wellness section of this edition. With characteristic sensitivity Luke Monahan relates one school’s caring and comprehensive response to the suicide of one of its students: a model well worth taking note of. Niamh Bruce describes the Sanctuary for Young People Programme, promoting stillness, meditation and mindfulness to students and their educators. And Maeve Clancy, in one of the highlights of the journal for me, contributes a graphically illustrated report about the use of art and guerrilla craft to enable young people to express their views, passions and convictions to the public. Which leads nicely on to the Arts section of Le Chéile. Novelist and exteacher Catherine Dunne asks why it is assumed that exposure to, or involvement in, the arts, is ‘a good thing’. She talks from her own experience about how she felt compelled to write and how others have found the arts to be transformative and, in some cases, transfixing. Her contribution addresses some knotty issues such as the potential of arts to be at times a cohesive force and at others to be divisive, and the false (that’s my colours nailed) distinction between ‘high’ art and ‘low’ art. Le Chéile editor Derek West sighs a deep sigh about the diminished hopes of real change from the Arts in Education Charter, while lamenting in a parody of Jane Austen the lack of a ‘liberal Minister who is in possession of a good fortune’. Acting Principal cum aerial gymnast Shane Holohan focuses on how the struggle with the limitations of one’s body – for example in gymnastics and dance – can help young people express their own personal struggles. By far the largest section in Le Chéile is devoted to the proceedings of the 2012 NAPD conference and this year’s symposium. It’s a mixed bag, with pieces on ICT, demographics, school self-evaluation, school-based


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standards-referenced assessment, College Awareness Week, a view from the other end of the classroom and news from the education section of the MacGill Summer School, all supporting the headline acts on learning. Dr Deirdre Mathews, an Assistant Chief Inspector in the DES, provides a very clear step by step guide to School Self Evaluation, placing it in the context of school development planning and being very careful to give the impression that while schools are expected to engage in it, it won’t add much to their workloads. I wonder. I only wish that Claire Wyatt-Smith’s presentation on assessment was as clear. It’s an account of how Queensland in Australia did away with external exams and replaced them with standards-referenced schoolbased assessment which, for senior students also incorporates an external moderation system. One of the effects of this initiative has been to enable teachers to be more creative and collaborative in their teaching which, in turn, has benefitted the learners. There’s a lot of good material here but it’s hidden behind excessive wordiness and unnecessary jargon. A little more editing could have improved the readability of this piece greatly. We can only benefit from hearing about such innovations in other education systems. Two papers stood out for me in this section: the Learning Organisation’s Graham Powell on Enabling and Building Learning Power and Matthew Syed on the Talent Myth. Powell builds on and complements the contribution highlighted in last year’s edition of Le ChĂŠile by Guy Claxton. Claxton’s piece was powerful (if you haven’t read it, try to get your hands on a copy of Le ChĂŠile No. 6 from NAPD). Powell is no less inspirational. His focus is on learning, asserting that in today’s challenging world, ‘young people need to be robust, imaginative, interdependent and flexible learners’. Well, we know that, but how? Powell structures his contribution around a series of school visits, convincingly building his case for a significant shift in education focus towards the learner. This is not a bland repetition of the oft-heard mantra about ‘teaching and learning’ being at the heart

of education. Powell means it. He actually wants to make young peoples’ brains hurt, but in a good way: intuiting, making connections, exploring, challenging, being truly independent. These are the hallmarks of what he terms Profound Learning. His presentation is inspiring and is likely to raise a lot of conflicting emotions in readers: from excitement at his clear visionary thinking, to frustration that the day-to-day grind seldom allows the head space or the freedom to effect the sort of radical change he promotes. Frustrating or not, we need the likes of Powell, Claxton and people like Ken Robinson, constantly focussing our attention on the learner, pushing us to remember what education really is about and encouraging us to effect what change we can in our over-bureaucratised results-focused system. And so finally to table tennis. Matthew Syed is a former UK international table tennis player and current journalist. He argues that focussing on talent rather than effort is damaging and self limiting, and that the best predictors of high level performance in any complex activity are the quantity of self-motivated practice on one hand, and the quality of that practice on the other. He points to where he grew up which, at one point, produced half of the best table tennis players in Britain. This wasn’t a function of genetics, or of innate talent. Rather it was down to high quality learning experiences provided by the best table tennis coach in the country who happened to teach in the local school. Deriding X-Factor as a cultural disaster because of its suggestion of the attainability of overnight success, Syed identifies ‘being stretched’ and having ‘quality feedback’ as being two of the principles of quality practice. One could dismiss Syed’s thesis as a development of the Tory meritocratic ‘get on your bike’ philosophy, and certainly there are large holes in it but it does contain a good dollop of common sense and he supplies some compelling evidence. I like Le ChĂŠile. It’s accessible and always contains material to inform and inspire. There were some articles in this edition that I mightn’t have read if I hadn’t been asked to review it, and one or two of the articles were a bit heavy-going but it’s a worthwhile read. Grab a copy, book yourself some reading time, and get stuck in.

Be Part of NAPD Conference 2013 Conference hashtag: #napd2013 Conference 2013 will be tweeted live @NAPD_IE




          #$%&'( ( )* "() + , ,((-)(( *(.+, $ (*,/(#  ( +(*+ 0 




By Derek West

Let’s call a cycle a cycle 


Two words to consider: ‘Junior’ and ‘Certificate’. I’ve been reading the NCCA literature and I’m convinced that we’ve got to get it right – there’s no new ‘Certificate’! That’s now consigned to the waste-paper basket of nostalgia; discontinued in favour of the ‘cycle’ [so low-key, it’s not even capitalised]. ‘cycle’ – is both noun and ‘freedom verb’: on yer bike, pedal enthusiastically, go for new learning! There’s no panic-laden exam at the end of the track – not until Sixth Year, anyway. Meantime, when we write and speak about it, can we please use the correct terminology and eschew the careless backward glance! Page 41

The Leader October 2013 Issue 2_Exec Report No.7 March 2008.qxd 08/10/2013 17:03 Page 42 LUKE MONAHAN


O N TA C T S E: M: 087 6876 569


Bill had been a very reliable and constructive staff member. But over the last couple of years you have seen a steady decline in his contribution and effectiveness. It is not sufficiently serious to invoke the poor performance process but you know it may head that way. You have got on well with Bill but he has been distancing himself of late. You have had complaints from students and parents that he is not just good enough and some of the class are relying more on grinds than on Bill. Up until now you have quietly moved some students to other classes to ‘avoid the chat’ but now that chat is looming… This is an outline of a common case I come across in my work in schools…one of the many difficult conversations that is part and parcel of leadership.

What Teams Want… What do these management teams want with me? It has been my experience that most of the teams want a combination of contributions among them: l Check us out: How are we doing?

One of the concerns that many school leaders I work with have is how to constructively engage with poor performing staff members. For many they just say – ‘it is just a battle not worth having…’ or ‘It’ll only make things worse…’ but also they will say ‘I have to spend so much time and energy basically covering or carrying a colleague’. Many school leaders ‘manage’ such cases year after year – some more positively than others. Key questions: l How do you have the difficult conversation? l How do you get a message across without seriously damaging the professional relationship? l How to offer support without being either patronising or destructive?

l Facilitate us: We have some major challenges – work through them with us…

Giving constructive feedback in similar situations to the one highlighted above is never easy – all of us have to develop our optimum approach to communicate effectively in these challenging circumstances. I have gleaned from leaders some tools and tips in this regard, one such is BIFF – BOFF: a way to focus on the content and behaviour rather than on the personal. Let me briefly explain – when offering feedback attempt to focus on the issues using BIFF-BOFF. First of all BIFF to raise the concern:

l Negotiate: We need to work through our concerns – navigate it with us..

l Behaviour - describe the behaviour you wish to focus on

l Mediate: We have a conflict we are prepared to try to sort out constructively… l Consult: This is where we are at – what can we do with our reality and aspirations? l Strategise: What are our options – how can we plan for practical implementation? l Advise: We need guidance on particular issues – what’s possible and practical?

l Impact – outline the impact the behaviour has on you or others l Facts provide the facts/evidence to ground the issue l Feelings describe the feelings you or others have about the behaviour The above BIFF message helps when raising the issue in a manner to reduce the personal aspect and focusing on behaviour. When then attempting to bring the focus to what might be better, what behaviour is needed, a BOFF message can be helpful: Behaviour – state the new behaviour you want to see Outcome – explain the positive outcomes that can arise from this new behaviour Feel – ask the person how they feel about the proposed new behaviour Future – agree the future – what they will do from now on and how will you support them These conversations are never easy – such tools as BIFF-BOFF are just that, tools – they help with the how only. There is always the need of good judgement, timing, awareness and courage! In working with leaders it is the preparation for difficult conversations that is also so very helpful – preparing for various scenarios, being clear on desired and realistic expectations. The word limit of this article allows me only to dip a toe in the water of managing difficult conversations – nonetheless the core message is that there is lots of help out there, lots of approaches, lots of tools and processes. When you have made the honest strategic decision to have the difficult conversation, prepare for it, link in with a critical friend to assist and debrief with if required and then….DO IT!


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New Network Launched at Queens Barry O’Callaghan was there.


he Teaching Thinking Network in Ireland (TTNI) was launched in Queen’s University Belfast in September 2013. The purpose is to enhance the capacity of classroom teachers and schools to promote students’ thinking skills across-the-curriculum, irrespective of the school context or the subject that they teach. The network, hosted by Carol McGuinness at the School of Education at Queen’s, is reaching out to teachers both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. The launch event was a workshop (over two days) run by Robert Swartz from the National Centre for Teaching Thinking ( in Boston and Carol McGuinness from QUB [pictured above]. Over 50 participants from schools in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland attended these first workshops, with some teachers travelling from Wales and England to attend. Workshops were highly interactive and the participants learned, through classroom demonstrations, how thinking lessons can be designed and taught.

teaching thinking: “Enrichment� and “Infusion�. With “Enrichment� thinking lessons are pre-designed and are taught in addition to content lessons. By contrast, “Infusion� places thinking in the context of normal lessons – both content and thinking are learnt in the same lesson.

a kestrel. Both exercises fully engaged and lots of content learning took place, while we were being taught - without it at first being made explicit - specific thinking skills. From yet another perspective, this offered further examples of classrooms with less teaching and more learning.

“Infusion� involves a curriculum topic and a specific pattern of thinking being taught together. For the learner (and their teacher) this is “win-win� – covering content while simultaneously enhancing thinking ability to become more skilful and deliberate thinkers.

The Infusion approach is consistent with the Northern Ireland Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities Framework and with the new emphasis on thinking in our own new Junior Cycle. I highly recommend joining this Network to any Principals and Deputies looking to push out the Learning and Teaching boat in their school. The Network is just forming; now is the time to get on board, derive benefit for your learners and teachers and also help shape the Network’s future.

By using a simple Compare/Contrast thinking routine we learnt (with judicious but minimal teacher intervention) more about the lives of President Abraham Lincoln and a contemporary, the emancipated black slave, Frederick Douglass than I had in all my history lessons in school. Incidentally, Carol reminded us that Douglass had visited Belfast in the 1800s and that there was a mural of him on the Falls Road. Belfast being Belfast, we did not go there! Using another simple but powerful practice called Part/Whole, we learnt (again with minimal teacher input) the relationship between the various parts and the whole of

You can register your interest and keep in touch with future events of the network via kingNetworkinIreland/ Carol has been invited by NAPD to give a plenary presentation and host workshops at the Annual Conference in Galway in October.

Workshops dealt in an experiential way with a wide range of connected ideas:

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l How can we teach thinking? l What is meant by learning to think skilfully? l How do introduce Infusion of thinking into the curriculum l Using thinking practices to “cover the curriculum�






Any questions that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know the answer to or feel uncomfortable with need not be answered. Invite the parent/guardian to bring such questions to the attention of Year Head, Deputy Principal and/or Principal. Refrain from engaging in conversation about anything other than the child in question. (Commenting upon other students, parents, teachers, and school is neither professional nor  advisable). Do not be put off if a guardian/parent takes notes. 2-3 minutes is ample time for each parent/guardian. Have a definite finishing phrase e.g. is that OK? If I can be of any further assistance feel free to ring the school.


AFTER THE PTM When all parents/guardian have departed scan through notes and see what, if anything further needs to be done by you. A follow up query with a member of staff, a meeting in private with a student, a phone call in a week to come. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve promised something make sure you deliver. See what students werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t represented at the meeting. Is there a need to make contact with home? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Quite often the people we need to see donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t show. Before engaging in making contact with home, check with relevant staff.



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Appointm ents with Principal Appointm ents may be made with the Staff Absences Principal through the The main main school office switchboa office. requested rd (0000000) to contact is accessible medical certificate the switchboa from 8:30 rd as early a.m. each is required as possible morning. for absences Personal to notify Staff are Days the school in excess of 3 days. of any absences. The DES position A on personal â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Personal days is outlined Days may be granted below for approval following the attention of the Board a written of all teaching of Managem such paid leave subject ent and Principalrequest from staff staff. and are subject to the approval costs to the under certain DES. Where to the of the school conditions a teacher the actual . The DES principal is granted substitutio and where will permit n arrangem personal there are arrangem leave, he/she ents they no additional ents shall have made be put in must furnish leave day writing to for the classes to (s)â&#x20AC;&#x2122;. BEFORE THE PTM the school to be covered. the Principal, managem Photocop ent prior Such As part of your teaching you will have checked withying fellow colleagues, class teachers, year heads, to departure on the personal A photocop Deputy Principal, school chaplain, guidance counsellor and student files to get a profile of the ying service is must provided be clearly students in your care. In advance of the meeting seek clarification from thefor above if any lingering all staff marked and for school the number issue/doubt remains. materials. Audio Visual of copies Material Equipmen required for photocop t and assessments. DVD/Vide clearly stated. Gather together exam results and comments fromoprevious ying players, tests TV sets and classroom Check attendance record of each student-if you are of frequent absences refer s. unaware Miscellanof cause/s Overhead projectors eous supplies and data to relevant personnel. Ordering (whiteboa projectors of Supplies rd markers, are Have an image of what each student looks where they sit in class. etc.) are available available in many Onlylike theand school Principal from the Dress in an appropriate and professional manner. from is authorised school office the school to approve office. Complete approval expenditu DURING THE PTM d requisition to the Principal. re. Requisitio forms to approvedstating All orders Introduce yourself to each parent/guardian name and subject. Welcomewith themthree quotation n forms are available schoolyour audit protocol. are processed through s should be (they may be more nervous than you). the school returned for office. All orders are Comment on the following: subject Ă&#x201A; Behaviour Ă&#x201A; Homework â&#x20AC;&#x201C; (quality, frequency etc.) Ă&#x201A; Ability versus Potential. Ă&#x201A; Attendance (where applicable) Ă&#x201A; Expectations Ă&#x201A; Exam results and implications for the future. Ă&#x201A; Agree future targets (enlist support where necessary. Having commented donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to LISTEN.


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SCHOOL LUNCH – THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY 65 years of warm school meals


e look up to Finland in many matters educational. This article, by Jukka Kuittinen the Vice-Chairman of the Finnish Principals’ Association, should be a further cause for admiration of a system that appears than, more than most, fit for purpose. It should also be a source of embarrassment for us. Ninety-two years as an independent state, forty-six years of so-called free education, and we just do not go near the concept of feeding our children while they are at school. [except in private and boarding schools – and they certainly pay for it one way or another].We have supervised break-times and kitchenettes; we sell snacks to swell the meagre school coffers; we re-cycle the packaging but we do not want to feed our children, we do not want to acknowledge that in a holistic education system, healthy eating is an essential part of the whole. Now read on….

vegetables, fruits and berries, full corn bread and skimmed or low fat milk.

THE COMMON GUIDELINE COMES FROM THE LAW The common guideline is a free meal every school day. The Finnish Basic Education Act states that pupils attending school must be provided with a properly organized and supervised, balanced meal free of charge every school day. As part of the curriculum every municipality is obligated to draw up a plan for pupil welfare. The plan provides the key principles for arranging school meals and sets out the objectives for health and nutritional education and for teaching good manners. To facilitate planning there is a National Nutrition Council in Finland, which observes and improves the nutritional situation by preparing dietary guidelines for schools The municipalities are responsible for monitoring and evaluating school meals.

ITS ONE THIRD OF A CHILD’S DAILY FOOD INTAKE Finnish school legislation guarantees a well-balanced meal for each pupil every school day. The objective is to maintain and improve pupils’ health and well-being and to give them energy for their school work. A school lunch should equate to about one third of a child’s daily food intake. It should be tasty, colorful and well-balanced.

Jukka Kuittinen Finland was the first country in the world to serve free school meals. 1948 is seen as being the year when free school catering really started, though catering activities on a smaller scale had been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Until the beginning of the 1960’s school food mainly consisted of soups, porridges and thin porridge-type dishes. Children brought bread and milk with them to supplement their school lunch, which was generally not very substantial. In the 1960’s school meals slowly became more varied. Frozen and processed foods started to be used and more vegetables were served. In the 1970’s the school menus often contained new food products, such as rice and spaghetti, that were yet to be popular at pupils’ homes. Many children also learned to eat grated root vegetables, salad and fruit at school. Pre-primary and basic education are provided free of charge for all, and this includes school meals.

FOOD CULTURE IN FINLAND Pure Finnish food is safe and healthy. In Finland we can grow oats, barley, wheat and rye, and we also have turnip rape fields, potatoes, root vegetables, onions and cabbages. Cows, pigs and poultry are reared here. We get fish from the many thousands of lakes and from the sea. Our forests provide an abundant supply of berries and mushrooms and great hunting grounds. These things form the foundation of Finnish food culture. They are also one of the bases of Finnish school meals. The role of school meals is to be a pedagogical tool to teach good nutrition and eating habits as well as to increase consumption of Page 44

WHAT DOES IT CONTAIN? The school menu contains all the components of a well-balanced meal: l fresh and cooked vegetables covering half of the plate l potatoes, rice, or pasta covering one quarter of the plate l fish, at least once, preferably twice a week, or meat (or beans and sprouts as part of a vegetarian diet) covering the remaining quarter of the plate


The Leader October 2013 Issue 2_Exec Report No.7 March 2008.qxd 08/10/2013 17:03 Page 45

 l skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, fermented milk l water to quench the thirst l bread with vegetable margarine or butter-margarine blend l berries or fruits for dessert A dessert is served with school lunch if the nutrient content of the main course is not adequately diverse or if its energy content is not very high. A dessert can also be served on special occasions or just to give variety.

TIME, TASTE, TEMPERATURE School meals should be served from 11 am to 12 noon every school day. A good school canteen encourages pupils to enjoy an unhurried meal and offers them healthy choices. A pleasant, quiet dining area allows pupils to take their time and helps them to understand the role of eating, meal times and spending time with each other in promoting their well-being.

In addition to balanced nutrition, sufficient rest and exercise are also important for young people’s growth, learning and well-being. Many schools have meal councils that operate as co-operation platforms for the diners and the kitchen staff. The meal councils of students, teachers and the kitchen staff aim to develop school meals.

THERE IS A LINK … A varied diet helps young people to maintain their energy levels at school and helps them to learn. It also supports their growth and development, thereby forming a basis for their health. A good lunch is something that gives pleasure, satisfies the need for nutrition, provides a balanced diet, maintains the ability to work, relaxes refreshes and is safe. No doubt there is also a link between regular healthy eating and the ability to learn effectively.

Special attention is paid to the taste and temperature of food. Tempting and mouthwatering presentation of food is also important. Freshly baked bread should be served as often as possible.


Catering at school canteens is provided on a self-service basis, so diners can put their own meals together. Special diets are observed and supervised personally. Students allergies, ethics and religion are taken into consideration when planning school activities and meals.

Monday Chicken meatballs / Vegetable balls, curry sauce, pearl barley, salad

Tuesday Finnish salmon soup / Lentil soup with cheese soft bread, liverwurst/cheese, fruit

A tasty and healthy school lunch provides a good basis tor studying and the lunch break is a refreshing pause in the school day.



Minced meat lasagna / Piccolo lasagna with cheese, tomato ketchup, grated vegetables

Good nutrition is about more than just food. One of the basic things is cooperation between teachers and catering staff. There are always adults present in a school canteen.

Thursday Tomato and soy meat sauce, boiled potatoes, cheese salad

It is essential for pupil well-being that meals consumed at home and at school are sufficient and varied. A breakfast at home ensures that hunger does not strike as soon as the school day starts. The food plate model, a sample meal and personal guidance help pupils to make responsible nutritional choices, promote learning healthy eating habits, and teach good table manners and social interaction skills

FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT It is important to listen to pupils’ opinions and ensure that they enjoy their school meals. Feedback gives the staff valuable and good information from students, school canteens customers. The menus are normally published on the internet and in local newspapers, so parents can also access the information online.


Friday Pike meatballs / Vegetable balls, boiled potatoes, sour cream sauce, salad bar, ice cream REFERENCES l

Espoo Catering of Espoo City


Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture


Finnish School Health Promotion Study


National Board of Education of Finland


National Institute for Health and Welfare of Finland

This article was first; published in the ESHA magazine, September 2013.

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Level 1 Monday 18 November Cavan – 8.30am-1.43pm Level 2 Tuesday 19 November Athlone – 8.15am-2pm Level 2 Wednesday 20 November Cork

Level 1: Less teaching, more learning Level 2: Beyond active learning NAPD has invited Paul Ginnis ( to conduct a series of Level 1 and Level 2 workshops nationally between 18 and 22 November 2013.

Level 1 Thursday 21 November Dublin North – 8.30am-1.43pm

Paul conducted 5 highly successful Level 1 workshops for NAPD in November 2012. He has since worked by invitation with a number of school clusters around the country.

Level 2 Friday 22 November Dublin South – 8.15am-2pm

Paul’s workshops explore a constructivist, as opposed to an instructivist, approach to learning. Using an experiential and collaborative model, he demonstrates the sorts of practical teaching strategies that improve students’ engagement and the depth of their learning. Paul shows how teachers can do less and students can do more. There is a growing international consensus that the current “teaching-is-telling and learning-is-listening” model is outdated and will not serve the needs of our young people in a world of rapid change. Paul shows how easy it can be to help young people to become collaborative, curious, independent, innovative, resourceful and resilient while still covering the curriculum and achieving excellent examination results. Paul strongly advocates developing a modern, philosophically sound education system which mirrors those in progressive countries and which is supported by international research, discoveries in neuroscience, economic imperatives and new insights in psychology. Level 2 Workshop Programme l Fundamentals of active, experiential learning


The neurological effect of open-ended challenge Approaches to student-managed differentiation Formative assessment for learning: strategies for checking and responding Resourcing independent learning with externalised teaching Enquiry-based learning - how far can you go? Pushed & pulled projects – the use of engaging scenarios and compelling products The why and how of metacognition in the classroom

Participation in Level 2 is confined to those who attended NAPD Level 1 workshops in November 2012 or who attend Paul’s School-organised workshops in September 2013. Cost of Workshop: €120 per school, to include coffee and lunch. [Suggested composition Principal and/or Deputy plus 2-3 committed teachers. Maximum group size per school: 4.]

Page 46

How to register: Application forms can be downloaded from Places on the workshops will be limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Level 1: Maximum 120 participants; Level 2: Maximum 80 participants.

Page 46 Leader

The Leader October 2013 Issue 2_Exec Report No.7 March 2008.qxd 08/10/2013 17:03 Page 47

PROTECT YOUR SCHOOL, PROMOTE YOUR SCHOOL What you need to know about the media Caroline Murphy and Brian McDonald are presenting a workshop at the Galway Conference, on Friday 18 October. Here they outline the kind of work they do. o you dread the arrival in the hall of a couple of reporters who have travelled all the way from their papers’ headquarters to interview you - right now?! Even if you are actually proud of the story you have to tell, it can still be scary. Check out how two media veterans have teamed up to help you out.


Well now there is an opportunity to get that practice. Two experienced members of the media have teamed up to bring school principals and deputy principals a specially designed one day course in ‘Managing the Media’.

As any media professional worth his salt will tell you, there’s an awful lot more to hitting your target audience effectively than simply reaching for the handiest media tool.

Broadcaster Caroline Murphy and journalist Brian McDonald will share inside information from the media world which will help you understand what is going on. And they will coach you through exercises so that when the time comes, you will be ready both to promote AND protect your school.

These days however, reaching that audience has become a priority for those in school management. Whether the need is to hold the numbers steady, keep jobs, properly promote the school or cope with that awful, unexpected crisis, managing the media message has shot up the order of priorities. But getting the most effective message out on all fronts requires knowhow and insight that unfortunately doesn’t come in any Department handbook or blueprint from your predecessor. A wide set of skills is involved. The requirement could swing from the rather pleasant task of writing an effective press release to ensure the local photographer doesn’t bypass the school next August when the Leaving Cert results are handed out, to the demanding, stressful and intimidating need to speak for the school if it finds itself at the centre of a critical incident. So it is vital to be prepared. After all, the reporter who turns up will know exactly what he or she is looking for. The potential nightmare for the school leader is to look back at the situation and realise that things could have been handled so much better, it only they had realised what they were getting into, if only they had been prepared. Well, being prepared for the media requires two things – insight and practice. The insight needed is into how newspapers, journalists and broadcasters actually function and into what they are looking for. What is going on in their world? If you want to attract their attention, how will you do that? And if it is the other way around, and they are hounding you, how will you deal with that? What are they likely to be looking for from you? To what lengths will they go to get it?

TRAINERS: Brian McDonald is a Galway based journalist whose writing career stretches back to 1974. He has been Assistant Editor of The Connacht Tribune, Editor of The Galway Observer and Senior Regional Correspondent for Independent News and Media, with whom he won a National Media Award in 1997. He was one of the first lecturers on the NUIG MA in Applied Communications, teaching both journalism and public relations and now, along with his media training work, he continues his involvement with the world of journalism through the Media West organisation. Caroline Murphy is a broadcaster and psychologist who can be heard presenting ‘It Says in the Papers’ on Morning Ireland. Over a 23-year career in RTE, Caroline produced and presented a wide variety of programmes in both Radio and Television, most recently in TV Sport where she was the Series Producer of the Sunday Game. In 2002 she left TV production to return to study, qualifying as an Organisational Psychologist. Caroline now works as a broadcaster, consultant and trainer. You can meet Caroline and Brian here Courses are planned throughout the country, for November, December and January. A light lunch will be provided. Small numbers are guaranteed. The cost per delegate is 250 with a special discount price of 400 for two from the same school. Dates and venues: Wednesday, 6 November 2013

And there is the practice element too. If cameras and microphones are pointing straight at you as you speak for the first time about a critical incident, chances are you will wish afterwards that you had the chance to do it over.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

But that chance won’t come.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

The media will move on. And the school leader may be left wishing wishing they had been more prepared, wishing they had known how they would come across, wishing they had realised how easy it was for a simple, straightforward message to get badly skewed under pressure, wishing – they had practised.


Friday 2 November 2013 Tuesday 3 December 2013

Wednesday 22 January 20114

Castlebar Limerick Mullingar Dublin Dundalk Cork

To book, please email or call 087 1521217. Extra courses may be added, so if you are interested please make contact, even if the date in your area does not suit. Page 47

The Leader October 2013 Issue 2_Exec Report No.7 March 2008.qxd 08/10/2013 17:03 Page 48

Photo: Derek West

COMMENT Education Matters

he revelation by Clare Manager Davy Fitzgerald in an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan that he was horribly bullied in school will surprise many. His description of an incident which took place on a bus where bullies pulled the shirt off his back and wrote on his body is shocking, as is the occasion when he described being invited to play in a game only to be kicked around and belittled made me wonder at our ability to inflict hurt and upset.


Bullying was different in Davy’s day because there was probably a sanctuary (hopefully home) you could retreat to but I’m sure neither he nor most of the victims of bullying said anything to a trusted adult. They suffered in silence but the effects of bullying on self-esteem and resilience are lifelong and potentially very damaging.

The recent Anti-Bullying Procedures for Schools published by the Department of Education could help but may lead some people to believe that schools have all the answers. Today there is a headline in the Irish Independent that 1 in 7 teenagers has been bullied on-line in the last three months. This shows a darker side to growing up in Ireland. Earlier this year NAPD commissioned Amárach Research to conduct a survey aimed at gauging public attitudes to bullying. At the time there was considerable media coverage of cyberbullying but despite that publicity, the survey found that four out of five adults, or 81%, believe online and traditional bullying pose an equally serious risk to children’s mental health. Just 12% believe that cyberbullying is worse than traditional forms of bullying. The rest, 7%, believe traditional bullying poses the most serious threat to children’s mental health. The survey concluded that bullying is bullying, whether conducted online or offline. In a recent academic paper Dr Stephen Minton from Trinity College remarks that physical bullying seems more prevalent in males whereas exclusion type bullying seems more prevalent in females. How best to deal with the issue? The recent AntiBullying Procedures for Schools published by the Department of Education could help but may lead some people to believe that schools have all the answers. When the NAPD survey was published earlier this year many asked where best to assign responsibility for tackling bullying. Is it the responsibility of parents, teachers, principals, victims themselves, perpetrators, government, advocacy organisations and so on? I believe we all have a role to play but colleagues tell me (and I experienced it myself) a particular difficulty can arise if parents are unrealistically over-protective of their own children and refuse to accept that their child could possibly be involved in such bullying behaviour. Page 48

By reminding our children about their obligations to one another, schools can create the conditions in which bullying cannot thrive. I’m sure we’ve heard or come across incidents of neglect or lack of parental interest in some quarters and it’s good that parents will stand up for their child but if reasonable steps by the school to resolve the issue are thwarted by a blanket refusal by parents to cooperate with reasonable sanctions, then the school principal will find himself or herself in a very awkward situation. This is especially problematic when it comes to the issue of smart phones and cyber space. Undoubtedly, school students are way more advanced than their parents or teachers but I was interested to note Dr Minton’s view that while modern day adolescents may be digital natives, their technological ability outstrips their emotional maturity and oftentimes the remote bullying made possible by the anonymity of the perpetrator can make the victim’s life hell. There is no doubt that social media sites have made progress in tackling cyberbullying but I agree with Dr Minton when he maintains that parents need to take an active interest in their children’s on line activity and monitor the sites they visit and the messages they post. Colleagues also tell me that many children are suffering in silence, afraid to reach out to a friend, parent, or teacher in case their phone is confiscated. Cyberbullying, usually anonymous and impulsive, with perpetrators feeling detached from victims and lacking any real sense of accountability or understanding, is a particularly insidious form of bullying. School principals are already working hard to combat school bullying. However with the march of technology schools cannot control bullying beyond the classroom or playground. Principals and teachers attempt develop children’s confidence and skills in reporting bullying to a trusted adult. By reminding our children about their obligations to one another, schools can create the conditions in which bullying cannot thrive. We can beat the bullies, so long as we confront them together and the reactions of overprotective parents refusing to accept the reality of their children’s behaviour sometimes doesn’t help matters. It’s almost as if such parents are seeking to bully the principal into inaction which sends a completely wrong signal to their child.

NAPD NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! Send us your views or responses to this, or any article, to the LEADER, by email to


The leader october 2013 issue 8  

NAPD - National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, Ireland. Leader Magazine, Issue 8