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InTouchDec2016_DC.qxp 28/11/2016 10:14 Page 1

­Issue­No­166 December­2016 ISSN­1393-4813­(Print) ISSN­2009-6887­(Online)

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Keeping InTouch • Interactive dialogue with members, and key news items •

Equal­pay­for­equal­work­rally 27­October.­See­pages­14­and 15­for­report­on­rally­

Pay remains top of the agenda Public service pay is now at the top of the political agenda following the Labour Court decision on the Garda dispute in November. Up to then, public service unions were fixed on ensuring that early talks on the next pay agreement were conceded by government. After the Garda offer, not just talks on a new agreement, but an acceleration of commitments promised under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, went top of the agenda. For INTO this means faster delivery on payments under the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA), earlier negotiations in 2017 on a new pay deal to follow the LRA, and progress on key INTO priorities including pay equality and the principals’ award. Preserving and delivering 2017 payments due under LRA detailed on page 9 is essential. Tearing up the LRA does not

serve INTO members. e INTO has led in recovering losses suffered in the crisis. e S&S amounts on the scale are delivered at the earliest date (1 September) in each school year concerned. e INTO was the first union to secure restoration of a degree allowance payment to newer entrants following the firefighter precedent. Our equality law claim is before the Labour Court. We ensured the €1,000 scale uplift in 2017 goes to all teachers. We need talks starting early in 2017 on a new deal to advance pay equality, the benchmarking award for school leaders and the unwinding of emergency legislation which cut public service pay. In the meantime, I wish all members and their families a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

This year, in lieu of sending Christmas cards, the INTO will donate to the charity Aoibheann’s Pink Tie. Aoibheann’s Pink Tie offers practical support to the families of children diagnosed with cancer and who are attending St John’s Oncology Ward in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital. Focused on children attending the only treatment centre for childhood cancer in Ireland, InTouch­General­Editor: Sheila Nunan Editor: Peter Mullan Assistant­Editor: Lori Kealy Editorial­Assistants:­Selina Campbell, Yvonne Kenny, Karen Francis Advertising:­Mary Bird Smyth, Karen Francis Design:­David Cooke Photography:­Moya Nolan, Shutterstock

Correspondence­to: The Editor, InTouch, INTO Head Office, Vere Foster House, 35 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 Telephone: 01 804 7700 Fax: 01 872 2462 LoCall: 1850 708 708 Email:­ Website:

the charity supports the complete family unit of parents and siblings, who may not understand what is happening to their brother or sister. Aoibheann’s Pink Tie does not receive government funding and is supported by the generosity and tireless work of volunteers throughout the country and beyond. The charity’s work is completed by a dedicated volunteer team and with only one part-time paid employee. More information is available on

InTouch is published by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and distributed to members and educational institutions. InTouch is the most widely circulated education magazine in Ireland. Articles published in InTouch are also available on our website The views expressed in this journal are



those of the individual authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the INTO. While every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this publication is up to date and correct, no responsibility will be taken by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation for any error which might occur.

DeCember 2016

Except where the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has formally negotiated agreements as part of its services to members, inclusion of an advertisement does not imply any form of recommendation. While every effort is made to ensure the reliability of advertisers, the INTO cannot accept liability for the quality of goods and services offered.

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CONTENTS 26 Tributes Members pay tribute to deceased colleagues

27 Solidarity From Mayo to Africa – a teacher’s journey in volunteering

inTo Advice 28 Your salary Check your payslip to ensure you are being paid the correct salary

30 Buying a car? Consumerhelp compares car finance options


Keeping inTouch 3 Editorial Pay remains top of the agenda

Resource hours INTO criticises DES for delay in announcement


Laptop clinics for officers

9 Payments due under LRA Cardiac First training pays off

Meet the 2016 winners of the Vere Foster medal

Free INTO online registers available

Poverty and social inclusion in education Proceedings of 2015 conference published

INTO President’s Dinner Function in Cavan honours Rosena Jordan


Vetting Registration Committee

Minor Works Grant paid 33 Conall Ó Breacháin talks to InTouch Primary teacher and musician

Trade union training

7 Letters 10 things you should knowinTws

10 Interested in job-sharing or a teacher exchange?


31 Teaching Council

22 Vere Foster award winners

23 INTO Benefits Shopping for Christmas? Great discounts with your Membership Plus Card

24 In the Media Recent news and media coverage

25 Special educational needs New model for allocating teaching resources

11 Meet the CEC This month InTouch introduces District 12 and 15 CEC representatives


12 INTO Congress 2017 Annual Congress 2017 will be held in Belfast from 17 to 19 April. Find out how to become a delegate or submit a motion. Brief guide on what happens at Congress.

14 INTO/TUI Pay Equality rally Reports and pictures from the rally.

17 INTO Education Conference Teaching in the 21st century. Reports and pictures from Tullamore conference

21 Supplementary Panel Application deadline



DeCember 2016


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December 2016

25 35 Award winners

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Finishing Touches

INTO receives award for promoting water safety Prim-ed wins international award Abbeyfeale NS wins major drama competition

36 Initial teacher education New entrants are high achievers according to ESRI report

Campaign to free Iranian trade union leader 37 Cumann na mBunscol


34 New ESRI report Work-related musculoskeletal disorders and stress, anxiety and depression in Ireland



New faces on Coiste Naisiúnta From Mini-Sevens to All-Ireland glory – Diarmuid Ó Conchubhair

53 Noticeboard Upcoming events

54 The Source

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Comhar Linn Crossword Crossword winners

63 Scoilnet Panel

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Engineers Week Check out the ReelLIFE SCIENCE winning videos.


TeAching MATTers 39 Spark

50 Book reviews

PDST on showcasing school events and projects

40 Teaching EAL

Two pages of book reviews this month

52 Ceol na Nollag Irish resources from COGG

Emer Carney on teaching academic language to EAL students

42 Herod’s in A&E Nativity fever is at an all time high in Mary O’Callaghan’s school


45 Changemaker schools How the Changemaker Schools movement empowers pupils and teachers


46 Keeping it original Michael O’Reilly writes a timely reminder to keep it creative this Christmas

49 Viva Valencia Considered one of the healthiest cities in the world – this vibrant Spanish city certainly impresses Maeve McCafferty



DeCember 2016


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Letters globAl ciTizenship Dear Editor, How should we, as educational trade unionists, respond to the continued rise of global nationalism, racism and misogyny? How can we as INTO members defend long cherished values of respect for each other as global citizens and for our vulnerable environment? Perhaps at school level we can begin by reasserting our school values (shared by all different patronage models) and continue to inculcate in our pupils the necessity to respect diversity. Now, more than ever, we must focus on the positive aspects of immigration and emigration. Schools should seriously consider signing up as an INTO Global Citizenship School. It is a marvellous resource to help teachers in this essential work. The broader trade union movement, through ICTU, needs to strengthen ties with the communities in which we work to help shape a more equal society where articulate demagogues will fail to find fertile soil to spread their fear of outsiders. Feargal Brougham Dublin North East Chairperson TeAcher MobiliTy Dear Editor, Something needs to be done for primary school teachers who have no choice but to relocate.

Tell us what you think

I am being forced to resign from a permanent job because I married and moved to another part of the country. I will have to start from the bottom of the pile again while the careers of my colleagues continue to progress. I feel that I am being punished for marrying someone outside the parish. For some working married women not a lot has changed since 1973. Aileen Rochford District 10 gender equAliTy Dear Editor, INTO President, Rosena Jordan, is to be commended for her recent public contribution to the debate on gender imbalance in the primary teaching profession (Irish Independent, September 2016). Credit is also due to the Equality Committee for exploring this issue as a theme of its recent consultative conference on equality. As Ms Jordan correctly points out, ”In 1961, nearly 40% of primary teachers were male. Today it is below 15%”. The contributions of Dr Maeve O’Brien and Prof Pat O’Connor to the Equality Conference in addressing the serious issues of equality of opportunity in school leadership and promotion generally were timely, informative and stimulating, as reported in InTouch (November 2016). As

This letters page is designed for members to have their say about something you have read in InTouch or want to communicate with other INTO members. €50 voucher draw each month for letter writers. Winner November: Hugh Cronin, Cork City North Branch.

regards their views on gender balance within the primary teaching cohort, I believe they may help stimulate much productive debate. Prof O’Connor “queried the previous efforts of the INTO to encourage more men into teaching” and “cautioned against treating male colleagues as a “scarce and valued resource”. Surely the attainment of a more propitious gender-ratio amongst teachers is not a zero-sum game but rather, a mutually-beneficial goal which acknowledges and affirms the equal and inherent worth of all teachers as ‘valued resources’ without distinction as to sex? Oilibhéar Ó Braonáin District 8 olé sporTs journAlisTs Dear Editor, One group of media that has been consistent in their positive reporting on teachers is in sports journalism. In the vast majority of their articles they have complimented teachers for the countless hours of voluntary work they have given to promotion of sports and games in their schools, despite no official recognition from their paymasters. So, credit where credit is due to the sporting section of the media. Larry Broderick Tallaght Branch

Email: or write to: The Editor, InTouch, INTO, Vere Foster House, 35 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Mark all such communications ‘InTouch letters’ and give a contact telephone number and your INTO membership number for verification. Long letters may be edited.

things you should know

1 2 3

Supplementary panel closing date for applications is 9 December. Page 21 Jobsharing / teacher exchange registers. Page 10

INTO Congress Belfast 2017 explained. Pages 12/13

4 5 6

Update on teacher pay. Page 9

INTO Rally for Equal Pay in words and pictures. Pages 14/15

Full report on INTO Education Conference. Pages 17-20



DeCember 2016

7 8 9 10

All teachers to be vetted. Page 31 Understanding your payslip. Pages 28/29

INTO’s priorities on special education . Page 25

Save money this Christmas with MembershipPlus. Page 23

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DeCember 2016

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INTO News • e Irish National Teachers’ Organisation … who’s who, what’s new, and what’s happening •

Update on pay Payments due under LRA next year Phase 1 of new scale (incorporating honours degree amount) for post-February 2012 entrants; details in September 2016 Eolas. 1 January 2017 Pension Levy (PRD) reduced by a further €267 completing the levy reduction of €1,000 under LRA. 1 April 2017 Restoration of the first half of losses to teachers earning over €65k who suffered direct pay cuts under the Haddington Road Agreement (second half in January 2018). 1 September 2017 Second half of S&S payment (a further €796) incorporated in scale for all teachers. 1 September 2017 Flat rate €1,000 added to scale for every teacher.

Scale Point

New Entrant Scale @ 01/01/2018

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16, 17, 18 19, 20, 21, 22 23, 24, 25, 26 27

€35,602 €37,059 €38,723 €39,482 €40,551 €41,843 €43,292 €44,752 €45,972 €48,150 €49,504 €51,122 €52,732 €54,354 €55,710 €57,506 €59,982 €63,254 €66,869

1 January 2017

Progress on pay parity The battle to equalise pay goes on. Losses for a 2012 entrant to date, for example, total €29,000 as against earnings of a comparable 2010 entrant. The INTO has led the fight for equality including via successive pay agreements (HRA and LRA).

A new teacher, without these agreements, faced career earnings at 85% of pre-2011 earnings. Following INTO’s work, a 2016 entrant is now on 97% of pre-2011 earnings. The INTO is committed to finishing this work.

Cardiac First training pays off Last month Anne Horan, CEC representative for District 13, came to the rescue of a member of the public who collapsed in the foyer of the Tullamore Court Hotel. Following a CEC meeting, while Anne and colleagues were waiting in the hotel in the early evening, a man collapsed to the ground having just come in through the revolving doors of the hotel. At first there was some general concern about a possible head injury but Anne, a trained member of West Limerick Red Cross, knew immediately that it was more serious. Throwing off her coat and kicking off her shoes she immediately went to work on the fallen man. Anne performed CPR while others called an ambulance. During the 10 to 15 minutes she was working on him she also used the hotel’s defibrillator to administer shocks. When the ambulance crew arrived they took over from Anne and later thanked her for her intervention which kept the man alive. The

resuscitation efforts continued before the man was taken to Tullamore Hospital . Anne’s intervention, witnessed by several INTO colleagues, shows the importance of early CPR. One colleague said Anne took charge and knew exactly what she was doing. As a Cardiac First Responder Instructor with the Irish Red Cross, Anne stresses the importance of as many people as possible being trained. “Being a Cardiac First Responder is accessible for all, and is an invaluable skill for teachers and school staff who could be called on to assist other staff members or pupils,” she said. “Training on how to deal with stroke and choking is provided.” Anne urges all teachers to be trained, and has already ensured that teachers and the SNA in her school are now CFR trained. It’s the best possible use of four hours of your time,” said Anne. At the time of going to press the man is critical but stable in hospital. INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

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Nuacht­CMÉ Reminder

Job-sharing and teacher exchange registers Teachers interested in job-sharing can avail of a FREE live register provided by INTO Head Office in the Members’ Area online at MembersArea/JobShareAdvertisements/. The register contains a list of potential candidates for job-sharing. Members can also avail of a free

register of teachers interested in teacher exchange provided by INTO Head Office. It also can be found in the Members’ Area online at TeacherExchangeRegister/. This register contains a list of teachers interested in teacher exchange. Full details of both registers were given

in the November InTouch and INTO enewsletters. Important: Members registering should remember to include their contact details in the notice they wish to appear online. Otherwise potential partners will be unable to contact them.

review of deis: poverty and social inclusion in education New INTO publication available online e proceedings of the joint conference held by INTO and the Educational Disadvantage Centre, St Patrick’s College on 5 December 2015 are now available to download free from the publications section of the INTO website.

e conference considered the DEIS review, by the Department of Education and Skills, and gave an opportunity to discuss how the system should better support pupils at risk of not succeeding in school as a result of poverty and socio-economic exclusion.

INTO PRESIDENT’S DINNER Over 300 INTO members and guests attended a function in Cabra Castle Hotel, Kingscourt, Co Cavan, in November to honour INTO president Rosena Jordan.

Gerry­Malone,­former­INTO­president,­Aogán­Ó­Fearghaíl,­GAA President­and­member­of­District­5,­Rosena­Jordan­and­Liam­O'Neill, ex­president­of­the­GAA.

Rosena­Jordan,­­pictured­at­the­function­with­Catherine­Flanagan,­CEC­representative,­District­5 and­other­members­of­the­district­organising­committee. Photographer:­Jimmy­Walsh INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

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Meet the CEC Continuing our series of introductions to district representatives.... This month we feature CEC representatives from Districts 12 and 15. All district representatives on the CEC are serving primary teachers. Members wishing to contact their district representatives by phone should not do so during school time except in the most urgent of cases. Contact details for all CEC representatives are in the INTO members’ diary.

john driscoll – district 12

shane loftus – district 15

John Driscoll was first elected to the CEC in 2014 for District 12 which extends from the Beara peninsula to the southside of Cork city. John is deputy principal in Star of the Sea Primary School, Passage West, Co Cork. This school was formed in 1999 as a result of an amalgamation of St Mary’s NS and Scoil Cholmcille, where John began his teaching career. An early introduction to the INTO came when he became staff representative soon after his first appointment. A training course in Cork left a lasting impression of the strength and value of the INTO. John’s involvement at branch level included terms as cathaoirleach and secretary of Cork City South and as secretary of Cork City South-East Branch. He has also served as district tutor, planning and providing training courses for NQTs and staff reps. In recent years he has served on the Accounts Committee as secretary and cathaoirleach. John has been very active in all campaigns during his career: age of entry, teachers’ strikes over pay, opposition to education cuts, class size and pay equality. He believes strongly in the need for all members to be active in seeking improvements in pay and conditions. He references an amusing and thought provoking Youtube video What have the Unions done for us? for all members, especially prospective members.

Shane Loftus represents District 15, which is made up of four branches; Blanchardstown, Dublin North County, Dublin North East and Dublin North West. He is the Home School Community Liaison Teacher in Our Lady Immaculate SNS, Darndale, Dublin 17. Originally from Newport, Co Mayo, Shane has been working in Darndale since he graduated from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. He holds a special duties post and has worked as a mainstream teacher and in special education. He has served as teacher representative on his board of management for three terms. Shane is a strong advocate of the benefits of sport to learning for children, especially in disadvantaged areas. He is a member of a range of community organisations in Dublin 17. Shane has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs and holds a Masters in Disadvantaged Education from NUI Maynooth. His initial INTO involvement was as a staff representative in his own school. He progressed onto branch committee with Dublin North West and then to district committee with District 15. Having served as branch auditor he later served as treasurer for District 15. Shane has served on a number of sub-committees on branch and district, including committees responsible for subdividing the district and updating district by-laws. Shane held the distinguished role of President of Club na Múinteoirí from 2012-2014. Having a strong belief in equal pay for equal work, Shane is a member of the INTO Project Team on Pay Equality.

Download INTO guide to teachers’ leave today Join over 3,000 INTO members by downloading the INTO guide to teachers’ leave app today. Members can check entitlement to leave in seconds. The app contains information on brief absences, extended leave and sick leave and outlines whether or not the leave is paid or unpaid, whether substitute cover is allowed, how to apply for leave, and much more. Download from iTunes and Google Play. Search for INTO guide to teachers leave ensuring software on iPhones or Android devices is up to date before downloading. Links to relevant circulars and websites are contained in the app allowing members to get additional information on leave. INTOUCH

“Great to have this information at my fingertips” Primary­school­principal


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INTO Congress 2017 INTO Annual Congress 2017 will be held in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, from Monday 17 April to Wednesday 19 April 2017. What do motions for Congress look like?

Congress is the governing body of the INTO and, each year, decides the work programme for the CEC and officials of the Organisation for the coming year. A committee called the Standing Orders Committee (SOC) is responsible for the preparation of the Congress agenda from motions submitted by INTO branches and districts. The SOC prepares order papers listing the business of Congress and the motions to be discussed. The INTO president presides over the deliberations of Congress Who attends INTO Congress? • Delegates elected by members of INTO branches. • Three delegates from each district committee. • Members and incoming members of the Central Executive Committee. • Members and incoming members of the Benefit Funds Committee. • Members and incoming members of the Education Committee, Equality Committee and Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ Committee. • Members of the SOC. • Two delegates from the Northern Committee. • Two delegates from the Accounts Committee. What is on the agenda? Annual Congress considers motions submitted by branches, districts or the CEC. It also considers reports from various committees of the INTO including the CEC, Benefit Funds Committee, Northern Committee, Education Committee, Equality Committee, Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ Committee and Accounts Committee. These reports are published online in the Members’ Area of the INTO website. Some motions to Congress are discussed in public session which is open to delegates and invited guests. Others are discussed in private by accredited delegates only. Delegates to Congress The number of delegates a branch may send to Congress is laid down by Rule 10

Rosena­Jordan,­INTO­President,­will­deliver­her president’s­address­on­the­first­day­of­Annual Congress­2017.­Her­address­will­cover­issues­of concern­to­members­during­the­past­year.

of the INTO Rules and Constitution. Branches may send two delegates for the first 129 members in the branch with an additional delegate for each additional 65 members or part thereof. The business of the INTO is governed by the Organisation’s Rules and Constitution. This is available in the Members’ Area of the INTO website. A hard copy version was printed and distributed to schools following Congress 2015.

• A motion is a proposition submitted for discussion and vote. • It must ask Congress to declare an opinion or call for a course of action – or both. • Motions should be designed to promote the aims and objects of the Organisation as set out in Rule 3. • All motions must be clear and unambiguous in meaning and intention and must be worded accordingly. • All motions must be capable of implementation. • Each motion should be brief and concise and should not contain argument. • Each motion should deal with one topic only. Sample motion The following is a motion which was passed at a previous Congress and is an example of a well worded motion: Congress deplores the totally inadequate funding of primary education and calls on the CEC to demand that: a. the reductions made over the past

Want to be a delegate to INTO Annual Congress? Find out how by attending your branch AGM in January. Check with your staff representative for the date of your AGM (dates are also published on the INTO website). Who can submit motions to Congress? Any member is entitled to submit a motion to their branch for discussion at the Annual General Meeting. Motions passed by branches are sent forward for placement on the agenda for Congress. INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

Noel­Ward,­Deputy­General­Secretary/General Treasurer,­will­deliver­the­Financial­Report­to Congress­2017.­This­report,­which­includes­details of­the­financial­performance­of­the­Organisation in­2016,­is­given­on­Day­1­during­private­session at­Congress

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Standing­Orders­Committee­will­meet­prior­to­Congress­2017­to­finalise­the­agenda­and­prioritise­motions for­discussion­by­delegates Sheila­Nunan,­General­Secretary,­will­respond­to the­ministers­for­education­on­Day­2­of­Annual Congress years to the school capitation grant be restored in full immediately; b. the minor works grant and the summer works scheme be fully reinstated on the calendar of grants; c. every school receives a reasonable budget to provide for the maintenance, repair and replacement of school ICT equipment and that high speed broadband be made available to all primary schools. How priority is determined for items on the final agenda The SOC has regard to the following when determining priority for the final agenda:

• The consensus among the general membership in relation to the priority issues in any particular year. • The consensus among the SOC in relation to the priority issues, and the motions which will result in the greatest degree of favourable and advantageous publicity for the Organisation. • The degree of urgency attending to a particular motion. • The extent to which a particular motion will further the objectives of the Organisation. Congress timetable What happens at Congress is decided by Rule 13 of the INTO Rules and Constitution. On Day 1 Congress runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the latest. The business on the first day includes the president’s speech and a

Delegates­checking­Congress­agenda.­ The­agenda­is­made­available­in­printed­format­and­also­on­the INTO’s­smartphone­app

response on behalf of the invited guests. During this time Congress also considers financial reports and motions including auditor’s report and statement of accounts. On Day 2, Congress starts at 9 a.m. and finishes no later than 4.30 p.m. During the first part of this day the ministers for education, or their representatives, address Congress and the INTO general secretary responds. Motions are debated and reports delivered for the rest of the time. Congress opens at 9 a.m. on Day 3 and the closing session begins at 2.00 p.m. The agenda for Day 3 includes motions in private and public session as decided by Standing Orders Committee. At the end of Congress the next president of the INTO takes up office.

Delegates­vote­on­motions­discussed­at­Congress INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

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INTO Pay Equality Rally – Du Several thousand INTO and TUI members gathered outside Dáil Éireann and on Patrick’s Bridge in Cork on Thursday, 27 October, to support demands for pay equality for teachers. They were supported by teacher education students from DCU/ St Patrick’s College and Marino Institute of Education, retired teaching colleagues from the RTAI and members of IMPACT trade union. At the rally in Dublin, Rosena Jordan, INTO President, told the crowd that progress towards pay equality had been achieved for the 2012 graduates, but the clear message to Government was that the fight for pay equality goes on, and that unions will not give up until we have achieved equal pay for equal work. The rally was also addressed by Michael McConigley from the INTO Pay Equality Project team, Dave Waters, a TUI member appointed since 2011, John Mac Gabhann, General Secretary, TUI and Barry Cunningham from IMPACT. INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan closed the rally, telling the crowd that the government must end its campaign of austerity against the young. The general secretary called for faster pay restoration for teachers under LRA and said there was no economic argument for continuing pay inequality. She said separate pay scales were discriminatory, inequitable and unreasonable and she said teachers were demanding an unwinding of cuts to new teachers’ pay. “Government must end its campaign of austerity on the young,” she said calling for a roadmap to pay restoration. Ms Nunan said the INTO opposed pay discrimination which, she said, eroded teacher morale, sapped goodwill and bred resentment. “Some of the new entrant cut was reversed under the Haddington Road Agreement”, said Ms Nunan. “Under the Lansdowne Road Agreement the INTO and the TUI got equalisation for 2012 entrants with 2011 entrants. We’re coming back again until we equalise pay for all teachers. We have made a start but we’re not there yet.”


Eve MacDarby, Eimear Allen, Niamh McCaul, Cáitríona Ní Chadhain and Moira Whyte Michael McConigley, a member of the INTO project team on equal pay outlined how, as a post-2011 entrant to teaching, he was directly affected by unequal pay. “Unequal pay has left me struggling to pay high rent in the Dublin commuter belt, so much so that last year I had to move back home with my parents and commute over 110 miles per day. Other post-2011 teachers face similar financial and personal worries because of unequal pay.” He said this group of teachers could not continue with this inequality. Michael said the cuts were carried out by government when they were in college. “We entered teacher training with a certain expectation. No union or teacher was ever consulted about the cuts. Yet politicians have us believe that this is the case. We understand that there was a financial emergency. We have taken austerity for five years so our country could get back up off its knees.



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Dublin And Cork

Snapshots­from­the­rallies. See­more­pictures­on irishnationalteachersorganisation/

The financial emergency is over, yet our austerity continues. “That is cruel, indecent and an abuse of workers’ rights,” he said. “I am part of the INTO project team on equal pay. The project team, like many of you, has met and lobbied politicians, organised a rally and a meeting at INTO Congress last Easter, been interviewed by television and radio, wrote and featured in newspaper articles, presented at branch and regional meetings, all in the belief of the right to equal pay for equal work. This work, along with the lobbying efforts by many, resulted in the latest agreement in principle between the government and the INTO and TUI which will mean that post-2012 entrants will be on the same scale as 2011. One could argue that this deal is a great stepping stone. Whilst this agreement has made great improvements for post 2012 entrants, especially at the end of our careers, it specifically acknowledges that there is still inequality for all post-2011 entrants, that is, we don’t have equalisation. The government agrees that this is still unresolved. The message for all those in Leinster House is we will not accept this inequality.”

coming period will be a Labour Court challenge to unequal pay, a submission to the Public Service Pay Commission and, through the ICTU, the seeking of a clear policy commitment from government to re-establish equal pay.

The INTO continues its work to augment the gains negotiated this summer – to be reflected in post-2012 entrants’ pay from January – with full equality between pre-2011 and post-2011 entrants. Among INTO actions over the INTOUCH

The rally was an important part of the campaign to achieve what is now widely recognised as an issue which must be resolved. 15

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INTO Education Consultative Conference 2016

Ger­Stack,­Cathaoirleach,­Education­Committee,­Aidan­Gaughran,­Education­Committee,­Sheila­Nunan,­General­Secretary,­Rosena­Jordan,­INTO­President,­Deirbhile­ Nic Craith,­INTO­Director­of­Education­and­Research­and­Professor­Brian­Mac­Craith,­President,­DCU,­at­the­INTO­Education­Conference­in­Tullamore.

delegates, through debate and discussion, were asked to contribute to the development of a new vision for education. Areas for discussion included social inclusion, leadership, governance, curriculum, assessment, ICT, the teaching professional and resilience. e keynote speech was delivered by Prof Brian Mac Craith, DCU, who spoke on ‘Transforming Lives and Societies through Education’. Other keynote speeches along with reports from discussion groups and workshops at this conference will be covered in future editions of InTouch and on the INTO website.

e 2016 Consultative Conference on Education took place in the Tullamore Court Hotel on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November. e overarching theme of the conference was ‘Teaching in the 21st Century - 100 years of teaching, 1916-2016’. e conference was an opportunity to look back at what life was like for teachers and pupils during the 20th century and use the lessons of the past and present to shape the future of teaching. In 1947, the INTO produced a Plan for Education, which set out the Organisation’s vision for education at the time. During the conference, INTOUCH


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INTO Education Conference 2016

Teaching in the 21st century Deirbhile Nic Craith, INTO Director of Education and Research, outlined the challenges facing teachers in the 21st century, and emphasised the importance of ensuring that teachers are well prepared, motivated, nurtured and supported throughout their careers Teachers really matter; even more than standards, resources, or assessments. But here is the challenge. There are divergent views on what high-quality teaching looks like and what is the best way to get it and to keep it. One school of thought takes a business approach to teaching and teachers’ work. If the quality of teachers matters then let’s reward the top performers and get tough on those at the bottom. There are also attempts to make teaching simpler by diminishing teachers’ judgment and professionalism so that less-qualified people can do it. This approach narrows the curriculum, standardises instruction, teaches to the test and treats teachers as mere delivery agents for government policies. There is another view which stresses investment in teacher professionalism and developing teachers’ professional capital. Teaching is seen as sophisticated and difficult, requiring high levels of education and long periods of training. Good teaching is perfected through continuous improvement, involves wise judgement informed by both evidence and experience and is a collective accomplishment and responsibility. (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2012) Attacks on teachers have impacted negatively in other jurisdictions. The public education system in the USA is under siege. Teachers are blamed for poor education standards, teacher unions are blamed for putting their interests first, and schools of education are blamed for preparing ineffective teachers. Teachers in England are under siege as they struggle to educate young people in outdated organisations and structures under strict accountability regimes and managerialist systems. Bob Lingard, an educational researcher in Australia, observes that, “we should see the English situation as a warning, not as a system from which to learn”. So what about Ireland? In a global context Ireland is one of the countries that continues to attract high

calibre candidates to teaching. Among young Irish people, to be a teacher is a popular choice that carries strong social prestige, unlike in most other countries in Europe. (Sahlberg, 2011) Teacher education in Ireland, both North and South, is similar. According to the international panel that reviewed the structure of teacher education in Ireland the high calibre of entrants to teaching was among the highest in the world. Our education system is very different to that of the USA or of England but we haven’t escaped entirely from global influences in education. There is no doubt that the language of business has permeated our system and we talk about setting targets, measuring progress, devising improvement plans, evidencebased decision-making and reporting outcomes. Our challenge is to ensure that teachers, the most valuable resource in our education system, are well prepared, motivated, nurtured and supported throughout their careers. Parents today are more demanding regarding their children’s education. Children now have rights. We will soon see a parent and student charter. In addition, demands for accountability continue to increase and the ‘system’ requires more documentation. Teaching is becoming INTOUCH


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more intensified – with an increased focus on testing, top-down initiatives, inspections and evaluations. We’re struggling a little with our professional identity and what it means to be a professional teacher in 21st century Ireland. In our work on teacher professionalism in the early 1990s, the INTO sought an extension of the B.Ed, longer school experiences and a more active role for class teachers in the education of student teachers as part of their school placement. The INTO argued for an induction programme, where experienced teachers would mentor their new colleagues as they become fully fledged members of the profession. We sought the establishment of a Teaching Council to enable teachers to take more control over the profession. Progress has been made on all these fronts but there are tensions around interpretations and understandings of teachers’ collective professional roles. The recession didn’t help. Austerity policies undermined professionalism as governments sought to reduce budget deficits rather than invest in public services. Expecting teachers to accept cutbacks in education, pay cuts and massive reductions in resources and to carry on with their professional work has impacted on teachers’ morale.

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In a global context Ireland is one of the countries that continues to attract high calibre candidates to teaching.


The INTO’s study on Workload, Stress and Resilience of Primary Teachers, carried out by Professor Mark Morgan on our behalf, indicates that teachers’ work has become more stressful in the last five years. A major factor is the additional workload associated with increases in administration and, by implication, suggests that a teacher’s job is becoming more bureaucratic. The other major factor that has increased stress is the greater demands to solve problems that have their origins in societal concern. On the other hand, teachers were highly motivated to be involved in planning at the level of their own school and wanted opportunities and time to make it happen. The matters that emerged as stressful reflect the current socio-political climate, and a concern about greater accountability of teachers established through more documentation. Demands for paperwork, perceived as evidence of greater accountability, could lead to a diminution of professional trust, which is not in our interest. Nevertheless, teaching remains a satisfying career for most of our members, according to the same study. However, we cannot be complacent. We must continue to ensure that we attract good calibre candidates into

teaching, that our newly qualified teachers are supported, mentored and nurtured, that we continue to develop and grow our knowledge and expertise throughout our careers, and that we retain our autonomy to make decisions within our professional domain. We have to defend our profession from threats to undermine it but that does not mean that we retreat to old understandings of what teaching is. What made teaching a well-regarded profession in 1916, or in 1947, is not what’s required today. The teaching profession must be a force for change that benefits our pupils.



DeCember 2016

Let us not forget our role as advocates for social justice. We should never let teaching become only about performance, test scores and results. We must not lose sight of what motivates teachers and pupils, and what brings joy to our work with children. So where now for teacher professionalism? Teaching as a professional involves a personal commitment to rigorous training, continuous learning, collegial feedback, respect for evidence, responsiveness to parents and striving for excellence. (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2012) It’s about collective responsibility and not only individual autonomy. It is about scientific evidence as well as personal judgement. It’s about acknowledging that we all have different strengths. It’s about developing competence, judgment, insight, inspiration and the capacity for improvisation throughout our careers. It’s about ensuring that the cumulative experience of pupils is not just good, but great. Making decisions in complex situations is what professionalism is about. Governments create the climate that enable teachers to thrive – or not – by how they treat, respect and trust teachers. But it is teachers who acquire, develop and invest in their own and their colleagues’ professionalism. (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2012) DEIrBHILE NIC CrAITH, Director of Education and research, INTO.

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INTO Education Conference 2016

We have the brightest and best in Irish society. Let’s put our trust in them The final keynote address of the Education Conference was given by Séamie Ó Néill, Head of Education at the Froebel Department, NUIM. This is a short extract from his presentation which is now available in full as a webcast on the INTO website. “It is a great honour and privilege as a primary school teacher and school principal for a number of years now working in teacher education to address you today. I have always believed that this is a very important conference forming a key part in the national educational debate. If you look over the conference proceedings historically over the past number of years on the website you will find in them the seeds of many ideas that came to fruition in the intervening years. From this conference delegates, you have been forces for change in Irish education. I know of one school in South Dublin where 20 out of the 28 children in sixth class in a very wealthy South Dublin school were doing grinds to prepare them for secondary school. We have to examine and interrogate the reasons why that is happening. We have to change mind sets. I think downward pressure is actually affecting pedagogy in the upper end of the primary school in particular. A major concern is standardised tests and learning. Standardised tests value performance over mastery and data over

potential. Pasi Sahlberg describes standardisation as the enemy of curiosity. Schools are becoming a treadmill of tests and box ticking. 1916 was the Ireland of the artists, the poets and the writers. In 1947, the INTO called for more arts, more music and drama. Will Ireland of 2016 become the Ireland of the STEN scores, the percentile

rankings and comparative data? No it won’t because we won’t allow it to happen. We need to resist that concept. So a few questions to ponder. Will teachers in 10 years’ time have the same fear of the inspector arriving? Will we still give the same type of homework? Should teachers be expected to produce workers for the world of work? Will schools be organised in the same way? Will we still have timetables segmented off into 30 or 40 minute blocks? Will we see still parents as a ‘challenge’? Will we still not allow play in the senior classes? Will we have multiple initiatives landing in schools? I have enjoyed open and engaging conversations with many teachers. I am privileged to work with a cohort of really bright student teachers in Froebel and fellow teacher educators from whom I draw inspiration every single day in conversations that we have. We have a teaching body whose values are rock solid. We have a highly skilled, highly intelligent body of teachers in the words of John Dewey who are open-minded, whole-hearted and responsible. We have the brightest and best in Irish society. Let’s put our trust in them. “

Presentations, speeches, webcast archive and conference photos are now available on the INTO website



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Supplementary Panel Applications to DeS by Friday 9 December 2016 Circular 74/2016 sets out the arrangements for access to the supplementary redeployment panels for the 2017/18 school year for eligible registered primary teachers in fixedterm/temporary positions (this includes substitute positions) and part-time positions in recognised primary schools. Completed applications must be returned to: Primary Teacher Allocations Section, Department of Education and Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co Westmeath, to be received on or before Friday 9 December 2016. Under no circumstances will

application forms be accepted after Friday 9 December 2016. In order to advise members making applications, the INTO organised a series of information meetings. The meetings will give information about the supplementary panel and take members through the application process. Individual queries will be dealt with by experienced Head Office staff and officials. Members are advised to bring a current payslip and their INTO membership number. The meeting in Tullamore was attended by officials from the DES.

Pictured­at­the­meeting­are­(l­to­r):­Niamh­Cooper­and­Aileen­Lynch­(INTO­officials),­Noel­Kilcommons­and Donna­Kenny­(Primary­Allocations,­DES)

Timing of resource hours announcement deplored The NCSE issued revised allocations of resource teaching hours for schools in October. These revised allocations of hours, in many cases, added to the hours in schools and involved the making of appointments. The INTO deplored the timing of the announcement on the eve of the school mid-term closure. The INTO criticised the DES for the delay saying such announcements should be made well in advance of the end of October. As regards filling of positions/part-time positions now created, schools are required to apply to DES for sanction prior to advertising/filling any additional hours allocated as part of the NCSE second round allocations. Schools may, at the same time, make a joint application for a full-time (25 hours) resource post to cover their NCSE approved hours. To assist school principals in this regard a data set map showing the resource hours allocations to schools was published on the INTO’s website. This data set map, which is still available for viewing on the website, was constructed for the INTO by Ben North. Many members commented favourably on this website publication. The INTO is grateful to Ben for his work. Any queries in respect of the revised allocations should be made to DES, Primary Allocations at primaryallocations@ or by phone 090 648 4155.

Trade union training During the months of September, October and November the INTO IT team in Head Office ran a series of laptop clinics at officer training sessions around the country. Over five sessions, health checks were carried out on approximately 110 laptops. The IT team also ran one-to-one clinics looking at topics such as INTO email, SMS, mobile phones, the Officernet and Members’ Area, in addition to answering queries on everything from data protection to advice on phone use and broadband problems.



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Vere Foster medal winners

st patrick’s college Rosena­Jordan,­INTO­President, presenting­the­Vere­Foster­Medal­to Rachel­Hogan,­B.Ed,­at­the­conferring ceremonies­in­DCU­St­Patrick’s­Campus on­4­November­2016.

Lorna­Cahill,­PME (Professional­Master­of Education),­is presented­with­her Vere­Foster­Medal­by Rosena­Jordan­in­DCU St­Patrick’s­Campus­on 4­November­2016.

Froebel college Kevin­Maher,­­postgraduate­recipient from­Froebel­College,­is­presented with­the­Vere­Foster­medal­by­Rosena Jordan,­INTO­President,­at­a­ceremony on­9­November.

Cían­Ó­Conghaile,­Froebel­College postgraduate­recipient,­is­presented with­the­Vere­Foster­medal­by­Rosena Jordan,­INTO­President,­at­a­ceremony on­9­November.­Cian­is­the­son­of­INTO member,­Francie­Connolly,­deputy principal­in­St­Colmcille’s­SNS, Knocklyon­in­Dublin­and­Mary Connolly,­retired­INTO­member­who taught­in­Ballinteer­GNS. His­maternal grandmother­Mary­Ann­Coleman­(neé Sweeney)­hails­from­Co­Louth­close­to Glydecourt,­the­family­homestead­of Vere­Foster.­As­a­young­woman­Mary Ann­was­well­acquainted­with­the great­niece­of­Vere­Foster,­Biddy Foster,­who­died­in­1962. INTOUCH


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Have you registered your INTO Membership Plus card for 2016–2018?

Christmas savings from Membership Plus Oh, the weather outside might be frightful but the discounts we have for you are delightful this Christmas time!

10%­Discount Dublin,­Letterkenny­&­Sligo B&Q 6%­off­shopping­cards Purchase­online,­then­spend­countrywide. Born Clothing 10%­Discount Countrywide Carraig Donn 10%­Discount Countrywide Debenhams 4%­off­shopping­cards Purchase­online,­then­spend­countrywide. NEW Halfords 10%­Discount Countrywide Kennys Bookshop 10%­Discount Online Menarys 15%­Discount Carrick­on­Shannon­&­Letterkenny Moores Jewellers 10%­Discount Cork NEW Open Fairways Save­€74 Countrywide Pamela Scott 10%­Discount Countrywide NEW Tesco 4%­off­shopping­cards Purchase­online,­then­spend­countrywide. The Body Shop 10%­Discount Countrywide The Gibson Hotel 10%­Discount Dublin Go­to­­and­start­making­savings Argento

Your new 2016-2018 INTO Membership Plus Card, which is valid for two years, was enclosed in the September edition of InTouch. Please ensure you register your card at If you have previously registered, simply login and you will be prompted to enter your new card number. You will then be able to view the full range of offers, be kept up to date with new offers throughout the year, enter fantastic competitions, and much more. To register your card, simply go to

Congratulations to Anne-Marie Delany who won the recent Membership Plus competition of four tickets to see Disney on Ice! Keep an eye on the Membership Plus website for more exciting competitions coming soon.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Membership Plus INTOUCH


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In the media In Print March for equal pay

Sheila Nunan said discriminatory pay scales are eroding teacher morale, sapping goodwill and breeding resentment. It is blatantly unfair and inequitable to pay workers differently for doing the same work. The Irish Sun, 28 Oct 2016

Thousands of members of the two other teaching unions gathered outside Leinster House yesterday evening in a march to call for equal pay rates for new entrants. INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said there must be faster pay restoration and called for “a road map to full pay restoration”. The Irish Times, 28 Oct 2016

Protest rally as teachers strike

INTO and TUI stage protest after school

The Irish Times

As ASTI members took strike action over pay equality for new entrants, the two other teachers’ unions – the INTO and the TUI staged a protest outside the Dáil with the same aim. INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan told the rally that Government must “signal an end to its campaign of austerity”. Irish Independent, 28 Oct 2016

The INTO is to hold the rally on Patrick’s Bridge. “It’s completely outrageous and unfair that younger teachers are doing the same work as us for less pay,” said the INTO’s Aine Corrigan, who has been teaching for 16 years. “We want to see equal pay for equal work.” Cork Independent, 27 Oct 2016

Peter Mullan of the INTO says the union has secured gains for new entrants, and it isn’t finished yet. “In the Haddington Road Agreement in 2013, the INTO secured two pay-scale improvements for 2011 entrants. The agreement also equalised the 2011 scale with the pre-2011 scale at the top point, made progress towards closing the earnings gap and got the supervision and

substitution payment back for all teachers.” He said the INTO has also challenged the legality of the cut to new entrant pay through the Equality Tribunal. The outcome of that case is currently being appealed to the Labour Court. Mullan describes last month’s agreement between the Department of Education and the INTO and TUI as “substantial progress” but says it does not resolve the issue of equal pay. “The INTO will continue to work for full pay equality and will make that view clear to Government at a Dáil protest this week.” The Irish Times, 25 Oct 2016 Primary school resource to tackle homophobic bullying With research showing most children discover they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) by age 12, a new primary school resource has been launched which is designed to tackle homophobic bullying. INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said: “The All Together Now lessons are a very welcome development.” Irish Examiner, 18 Oct 2016

Two teachers’ unions hold rally outside Leinster House Two teachers’ unions have held a rally outside Leinster House, calling for pay equality for their members. Irish Examiner, 28 Oct 2016

On the airwaves – radio/TV

Teachers rally against second class pay deal ...The INTO and the TUI said the lower pay rates for staff who have qualified since 2011 were “wrong and unconscionable”. INTO boss Sheila Nunan said the two-tier pay system is discriminatory, inequitable and unreasonable. She added: “Separate salary scales for teachers doing the same work are wrong. Discriminatory pay scales are eroding morale, sapping goodwill and breeding resentment.” Irish Daily Mirror, 28 Oct 2016

Coverage of equal pay rally

Teachers eye more strikes

Two teachers’ unions hold rally outside Leinster House

...The INTO and the TUI said the lower pay rates for staff who qualified since 2011 were “wrong”… INTO general secretary

Video clip – Rosena Jordan, President INTO TV3 News at 8, 27 Oct 2016 INTO and TUI holding protest outside Dail tonight ...they are seeking pay parity for their members and an end to two separate salary scales for teachers. Today FM News, 4FM News, 27 Oct 2016

The INTO and the TUI, held a rally



DeCember 2016

outside Leinster House this afternoon calling for an end to separate salary scales for teachers. INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said her members are no less committed to pay parity than the ASTI but said the INTO and TUI are using a different strategy to secure gains wherever possible. NewsTalk News, 27 Oct 2016 The Opinion Line Interview with Aine Corrigan, INTO on INTO campaign for equal pay and protest in Cork city. Cork 96FM, 26 Oct 2016

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INTO outlines key issues in new resourcing model Sheila Nunan, General Secretary recently told members that attempts to design a new model of special needs provision had got off to a bad start and had been damaged by a climate of mutual mistrust. She said it was clear that some took the view that some schools were seeking resources to which they were not entitled. But she said the view from many schools was that the proposed new model is a vehicle for still further cutbacks in staffing and supports. Ms Nunan told the INTO Annual Education Conference in Tullamore recently that mistrust had flourished because of cutbacks and a failure to honour commitments. “15 per cent of resource teaching hours were unilaterally cut from schools. Parts of the EPSEN Act were abandoned when government decided it wouldn’t honour commitments made to children with special needs.” She said mistrust had flourished because schools and teachers were left to cope with these systemic failures. Ms Nunan said the impact of cuts on schools and teachers needed to be fully recognised and additional teaching and back up resources, along with a proper level of financial support, provided. Then, she said, support for a new model of special education could be built. She went on to outline what the INTO required from a new model of resource provision for children with special needs. A new model must: • deliver significant additional teaching support for schools; • restore the 15 per cent cut to special needs provision implemented by the last government; • not result in a reduction in the current provision available to any school; • provide for the allocation of additional teaching resources for fixed periods; • be flexible enough to respond quickly to: – schools whose profiles change significantly; – prioritise infants; – address teacher workload. She said early intervention was crucial

but not possible in classes of 30 pupils or more. “If the Department is serious about ensuring early intervention then class sizes reductions in infant classes particularly, must accompany, not follow, the introduction of any new model. Without this, interventions and approaches such as guided reading groups, reading recovery, maths recovery, maths for fun/ready set go maths and Aistear will not be possible. She said schools and teachers were demanding a realistic baseline level of support teaching coupled with smaller classes. She said there were many positive aspects to the proposals. “Children should not be labelled to receive support. Additional teaching resources have to be based on need. Schools needed to have the freedom to deploy resources to meet the needs of their pupils.” But she said to achieve that schools needed to be resourced. “There’s a huge administrative burden on schools in having to apply for resource hours on an annual basis. However, proposals in relation to sending annual reports to the NCSE increase the administrative workload, as does the requirement to retain paperwork for accountability purposes. The current situation is entirely unsatisfactory for principals but substituting it with INTOUCH


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another un-resourced administrative burden will not be tolerated by the INTO.” The INTO supports the inclusion of schools’ social context in educational profiles. While schools with a very high concentration of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds face particular challenges, it should be recognised that there are disadvantaged children attending many schools that are not designated disadvantaged. The inclusion of social context in schools’ educational profiles addresses this issue, such as the inclusion of Traveller children and children for whom English or Irish is not a home language, provided additional resources are rolled out in a new model. However, the data gathering process is problematic. Principals and teachers do not have information on welfare and employment and should not be asked to provide estimates. The state has its own data collection mechanisms – primary teachers are not part of that. A model that allows schools to determine the utilisation of resources can only work if there are the resources in schools. That means extra release time for teaching principals and a significantly restored school management system. Without those there can be no new system.

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Tributes mArjOrIe mOrrIN (NÉe DevlIN) The staff of St Conleth’s NS, Derrinturin, Carbury, Co Kildare, would like to celebrate, give thanks and remember the life of Marjorie Morrin. Marjorie started her teaching career in our school in 1981/82 and was a passionate, determined, dedicated and compassionate teacher and a staunch, active INTO member. She was super-kind to the children. The teaching and learning in her class was vibrant and, at times, alternative. She had a great love of nature and involved the children, staff and the wider community in various projects including a community garden. One novel legacy that Marjorie leaves with the school is a chicken coop

full of hens. The children get so much pleasure looking after them. Marjorie had a great love of the Irish language and passed this love onto her pupils. At one time she travelled to three other schools in the parish as learning support teacher, leaving fond memories everywhere she went. In 2012 we received news of Marjorie’s illness. She was brave, courageous and strong through it all. Finally, in July 2015, Marjorie passed away –

our shining star was gone. We would like to thank Marjorie’s family, her husband and children for the wonderful 32 years she gave us. We hope that the children who were fortunate to have had Marjorie as a teacher, or whose lives she touched, will treasure the memories she created with them during their time in St Conleth’s. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam. From her friends and colleagues in St Conleth’s NS, Derrinturin, Carbury, Co Kildare

DAvID mCmAHON David McMahon was appointed to Scoil Chríost rí in 2004 and was a most excellent teacher. He went on secondment in 2011 to the PDST. He was due back to us this year but secured a derogation for a further two years. David had many great friends on the staff here who are devastated by his loss. The following is an excerpt from a poem in memory of David, written by his great friend and colleague Jó Mag Fhearadhaigh.

Just Close Your Eyes Sometimes it’s hard to understand Not knowing what to say or do And as we walk along the shorelines Asking Daithi – where are you? So you might just spare a moment As us teachers often do To help you find the answer That might be right in front of you. You’ll find him in his Eimear’s heart Enveloped in her love You’ll find him with his mam and dad In the home house up above You’ll find him in the school yard As the kids run about and play For his vocation, was in teaching

And helping others, day by day You’ll find him with his colleagues And his work with the PDST And the many many memories In the staffroom at Scoil Chríost Rí So to all you primary teachers Whenever you pick up a book If you need him, you will find him Just close your eyes and look. Beannacht Dé ort Mr McMahon And may you Rest in Peace Amen. Friends and colleagues in Scoil Chríost rí, Ennis, Co Clare.The full version of Jó Mag Fhearadhaigh’s poem can be viewed in the InTouch section of the INTO website

PAUl ryAN Paul­Ryan,­principal­of­Scoil­Mochua­in­Celbridge­Co Kildare,­passed­away­last­May.­Originally­from Ballycahill,­Co­Tipperary,­Paul graduated­from­Mary­Immaculate College­in­1988.­He­joined­the­staff­of Scoil­Mochua,­Celbridge,­in­1991­and was­appointed­principal­in­2009.­He loved­his­role­and­worked­tirelessly­to ensure­the­best­quality­education­for the­children.­He­engaged­wholeheartedly­with­the­board­of management,­parents’­association and­the­wider­community­in­the pursuit­of­anything­which­improved the­school­life­of­the­pupils.­He­sought to­maintain­high­standards­and­to­promote­the individuality­of­all­the­pupils­and­delighted­in­their sporting,­artistic,­academic­and­personal achievements.­ Paul­established­a­unique­relationship­with­each

and­every­member­of­staff,­no­matter­what­their­age, length­of­service­or­position­in­the­school.­He­never sought­to­dominate­or­exercise­his authority­but­rather­to­encourage, empower­and­inspire.­Staff­confided­in him­and­were­always­assured­of­his gentle­support­and­calm­reassurance. He­never­sought­the­limelight­and­was happy­to­let­others­take­leadership roles­in­the­school­and,­subsequently, to­affirm­their­wonderful­work.­Paul loved­nothing­more­than­to­visit­the classrooms­and­engage­with­the children­about­the­news­of­the­day­or the­lesson­which­was­underway.­ Paul­was­also­a­committed­member­of­the­INTO and­served­the­West­Liffey­Branch­first­as­a­member­of branch­committee­and,­later,­as­branch­secretary. While doing­post-graduate­study,­he­researched­ways of­increasing­participation­in­INTO­branches.­He­was INTOUCH


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subsequently­responsible­for­a­series­of­initiatives aimed­at­increasing­participation­which­are­now embedded­in­the­calendar­of­the­branch.­He­also regularly­attended­Annual­Congress­and­other­INTO conferences­where­he­spoke­with­great­clarity­and conviction.­ Throughout­his­illness,­Paul­remained­optimistic and­positive­and­never­complained­about­being­dealt such­a­cruel­blow.­While­on­sick­leave,­he­maintained daily­contact­with­the­school­and­looked­forward­to visits­from­staff­and­stories­from­the­school­he­loved so­much.­When­at­all­possible­he­came­to­work,­even on­days­when­he­did­not­feel­the­best.­Alas,­his­speech on­Proclamation­Day­was­to­be­his­last­in­the­school.­ He­was­a­true­friend,­a­wonderful­colleague­and­an inspirational­leader.­The­world­is­a­darker­place without­him.­We­will­miss­him­greatly­in­the­months and­years­ahead.­ Anne­Murphy­and­Pat­Crowe

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From Mayo to Africa a­teacher’s­journey ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­in­volunteering

Retired primary principal teacher Padraic McKeon from Co Mayo has volunteered with VSO Ireland on three occasions – in South Sudan, Myanmar and, most recently, on an Irish Aid funded programme in Uganda. Through training teachers and improving education services, Padraic’s work has supported sustainable change in some of the world’s poorest communities. Here, he tells InTouch of his decision to first volunteer in South Sudan. The reactions of people varied when I told them I was going to Africa for a year to work as a volunteer. I had holidayed in Africa with my family on three occasions, mainly in Tanzania, and had visited some schools while there. When I saw the conditions in which teachers worked, I had thought, ‘Maybe I could help here’. The notion of volunteering in Africa took root. I retired as primary school principal in Newport, Co Mayo, at Christmas 2010. During the following summer, I noticed that VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) was seeking education professionals in various countries. I duly applied, was interviewed in October and, in November, was offered a placement as education advisor in Yambio, South Sudan. My initial reaction was wariness, having read of conflict in Sudan over many years. I made extensive enquiries and was reassured about the security situation. Having discussed the matter with my family, and with their full support, I accepted the offer. I was well prepared by VSO Ireland over the next couple of months and, at the end of January 2012, I was on my way to Africa. I was happy to meet Keith, my colleague from England, in Heathrow Airport. We were the first VSO volunteers in South Sudan. We had ten days of in-country

training in Juba, capital of South Sudan, which included security awareness and lessons in the local Zande language. We were given a warm welcome in Yambio and were lucky to get comfortable accommodation with the Christian Brothers community there. Yambio is only four degrees north of the equator but is on an extensive plateau, 2,000 feet above sea level, which results in its moderate climate. South Sudan is one of the poorest and least-developed countries in the world, with more than 80% of the population living on less than $1 per day, massive illiteracy, and the worst maternal mortality rate in the world. After decades of war between north and south Sudan, a peace agreement was brokered in 2005. This led to the 2011 referendum on independence in which 98% of the south Sudanese people voted for independence. And so, in July 2011, the newest country in the world – South Sudan was born. The work description I had been given was to build capacity in the county education office and education centre staffs, to improve co-ordination of educational services and to help organise the training of teachers, inspectors and parent-teacher associations. After decades of neglect by the Khartoum government, the educational infrastructure in South Sudan was very poor. Schools had few resources and textbooks were very scarce. There was little classroom furniture and many classes were taught under trees. The locals were easy to get on with and appreciated our willingness to leave home and work to improve their lot. Gradually, with the co-operation of all involved, progress became evident. Among all the poverty and illness in South Sudan, there INTOUCH


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is a wonderful atmosphere of life and fun. It is easy to discern a sense of kinship, community and loyalty, with people quick to laugh and smile. There is the daily struggle for survival but there is grace and dignity in that struggle. I had mixed emotions leaving but was very happy to be going home. Since then, I have been saddened to see the country slide back into conflict and pray that my friends keep safe. In 2014, I spent four months in Myanmar (formerly Burma), working as part of a VSO team to help the new government and educational establishments there adjust from military rule to a democratic educational system. And from March to June 2016, I worked in Uganda in a VSO teacher-training programme, funded by Irish Aid. Both were very interesting experiences. Volunteering is challenging, but very rewarding. It is said that volunteers make a difference, and so we do, but the biggest difference is to ourselves. It changes one’s perspective. I know that I have got back more than I gave, and for this I am grateful.

Last­year,­VSO­volunteers­worked­with­140 partners­to­train­a­total­of­78,000­educators­and reach­922,000­children­and­adults.­Want­to­be part­of­the­story­and­start­your­own­volunteer journey?­VSO­Ireland­welcomes­applications­from education­professionals­like­Padraic­who­want­to give­something­back­by­volunteering. Please­note­that­the­deadline­for­education career­break­applications­is­1­February­2017.­VSO Ireland­covers­costs,­including­flights­and accommodation,­and­offers­a­monthly­allowance to­all­volunteers.­Visit­­or­email­to­find­out­more.

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Are you being paid the correct salary? Understanding your payslip Your payslip will feature all of your particulars at the top including PPSN, Payroll Number and Roll Number. Underneath this, you will see two columns. The left hand side ‘Gross Earnings’ will show your basic pay and any allowances you are entitled to. The right hand side ‘Deductions’ will show deductions. Tax, PRSI, USC, pension and PRD are statutory deductions and should feature on every payslip as well as other deductions such as VHI, INTO, Comhar Linn, Salary Protection, etc. Please make sure that all the statutory deductions are featuring on your payslip, especially USC, in order to avoid any issues in relation to

underpayment of these deductions. You will see your Year to Date (YTD) totals at the bottom of your payslip as well as your PRSI class, tax basis (which should read cumulative), tax credits and standard cut off rate. Permanent and temporary teachers are paid two weeks in arrears and the payroll period will be listed at the top of every paycheque – normally the fortnight ending the Monday of the week of pay day. Substitute teachers will sometimes be paid more than two weeks in arrears due to the early closure for substitute claims through the OLCS – see section on substitute teachers in this article.

What point of scale are you on? To calculate your incremental point as a permanent or whole-time fixed-term teacher you should multiply your basic pay on the left hand side by 26.09. This should match a figure on the appropriate incremental scale. If it does not match a figure on the scale, it could be a sign that you accrued an increment during that payroll period. Due to part restoration of the supervision and substitution money at

the start of this academic year, salary scales have been revised with effect from 1 September 2016. These revised scales can be found on the INTO website or in the 2016/2017 INTO diary. There will be a further revision of the February 2012 scale (which applies to all teachers first appointed after 1 February 2012 to date) from 1 January 2017 to reflect increases on this scale.

n GlOSSAry DES:­Department of Education and Skills. PPSN:­Personal Public Service Number. PRD:­Pension Related Deduction. USC: Universal Social Charge. PRSI:­Pay Related Social Insurance – can be Class A (entered service after 6 April 1995) or Class D (entered service before 6 April 1995).

OLCS:­Online Claims System. HRA:­Haddington Road Agreement. Casual­substitute:­A teacher that has worked as a substitute for less than 40 days in the academic year. Non-casual­substitute:­A teacher that has worked as a substitute for more than 40 days in an academic year or a teacher covering for a

maternity leave or carer’s leave. Fixed-term­teacher (sometimes referred to as a temporary teacher): A teacher who is covering for a career break, secondment or job-sharing absence. A teacher covering a resource, EAL or early start position.

For any individual queries or questions not answered in this article, please contact our Queryline on 1850 708 708 or 01 804 7700. When calling in relation to a salary issue, it is always helpful to have your payslip to hand. INTOUCH


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Have you been wondering what point of the incremental scale you are on? Do you know how this is calculated? Are you a fixed-term or substitute teacher that would like to know more about how you are paid? If so, read on. The following advice is based on frequently asked questions that are dealt with on a daily basis through our Queryline and offer some practical tips to help you to understand more about your payslip. How increments are accrued Permanent and temporary teachers accrue an increment every 365 days when working continuously. Substitute teachers accrue an increment after 183 days of employment i.e. one full school year. Substitute teachers may not be moved up the incremental scale automatically so, if you are a substitute and think you are being underpaid, contact primary payroll to request a scale point review. Under HRA, teachers’ increments were frozen for one or two three-month periods depending on gross earnings. This equated to a 46 day freeze for substitute teachers. This will mean that teachers’ incremental anniversaries have moved for any future increments e.g. a teacher who used to receive his/her increment on 1 September and was subject to two three-month freezes will now have a new incremental anniversary of the succeeding 1 March into the future.

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Fixed-term teachers – payment Fixed-term (temporary) teachers are employed to cover for teachers absent on career break, job-share and secondment as well as covering resource hours, EAL and early start positions. Fixed-term teachers are paid fortnightly. Schools are required to submit a teacher appointment form to primary payroll (except in the case of parttime temporary teachers employed after the first working day in November whose payment claims are processed through the OLCS). Full-time or part-time fixed-term/ temporary positions taken up on or before 7 November 2016 will be paid until 31

August 2017 under Circular 61/2010. A teacher who takes up a full-time temporary contract after 7 November 2016 will be paid until 30 June 2017. They may be entitled to retrospective holiday pay for the summer closure if they take up a further follow-on contract in any school for the 2017/2018 school year. Part-time temporary contracts taken up after 7 November 2016 will be paid at an hourly rate through the OLCS. These hourly rates will have associated holiday pay that will be paid at allocated times at Christmas, Easter and summer.

Substitute teachers – payment Payment of substitute teachers is facilitated through the OLCS by schools inputting the details/nature of the teacher/absence being covered. You are a substitute teacher if you are covering for a maternity leave, sick leave, parental leave, carer’s leave, family illness leave etc. Your rate of pay will either be at a casual rate (as listed in Circular 56/2016) if you have worked for less than 40 days in the academic year or at a personal rate if you have worked in excess of 40 days or are in a maternity leave, adoptive leave or carer’s leave contract. Please see the INTO website for a step-by-step guide to work out your personal substitute rate.

Holiday pay for substitute teachers is paid in three lump sum payments – Christmas, Easter and summer. The money paid in these lump sum payments is money that the DES have banked continually throughout the term – 11% of the daily rate for every day worked. This holiday pay will be listed on the left hand side of your payslip on three allocated pay days. The DES have confirmed that they hope to issue holiday pay for all claims processed up the 18 November 2016 in the pay cheque of 1 December 2016. Schools are reminded that payroll closes the first Friday of a payroll period.

been speaking with Payroll or if the issue is complex, the INTO can make contact with Primary Payroll on the member’s behalf in order to seek resolution. The most common issues that the INTO deal with are incremental progression and underpayment; establishing if a member is on the correct salary scale; overpayments; holiday pay; substitute pay; and allowance issues. The INTO also meets with the DES Primary Payroll officials in a formal capacity two to three times per year at Payroll Technical Group meetings. These meetings are a forum for us to raise system issues that we are aware of, as well as outstanding payroll issues on behalf of individual members.


Reduction in PRD and USC from 1 January 2017 for all teachers All teachers will see a reduction in Pension Related Deduction (PRD) and Universal Social Charge (USC) deductions from 1 January 2017. PRD (pension levy) The LRA (Lansdowne Road Agreement) provided for a cut of €1,000 in PRD. Over €730 of this was implemented from January 2016. To complete the change, the PRD exemption threshold is increasing from €26,083 to €28,750 from 1 January 2017. Any monies earned in 2017 between €28,750 and €60,000 are liable to PRD at 10% and any monies over €60,000 are liable at 10.5%. The changes coming into effect on 1 January 2017 will see a reduction of €266.70 p.a./€10.22 per fortnight in the amount paid in PRD by all teachers earning in excess of €28,750. USC Under Budget 2017, the three lowest USC rates are dropping by 0.5%. These two changes will mean an increase in net pay for teachers from 1 January 2017 onwards. USC Band percentages: 2016 and 2017 2016 On the first €12,012 On the next €6,656 On the next €51,376 On the balance

INTO’s interaction with Primary Payroll The INTO are continually liaising with Primary Payroll in relation to individual and general payroll issues. In the first instance, if a member has an issue with their pay cheque, they should get in touch with the INTO through the Queryline. When ringing in relation to a salary query, it is always helpful to have a current payslip to hand. If it is an issue that can be resolved quickly, we will advise the member to get in touch with Primary Payroll directly. We do not have individual information in relation to the payroll history or incremental points of members. Therefore, in some cases, we may recommend that a member seeks a service history from Primary Payroll in order to ascertain how much service has been accrued. If a member has already

Salary uplift as deductions drop


DeCember 2016

1% 3% 5.5% 8%

2017 On the first €12,012 0.5% On the next €6,760 2.5% On the next €51,272 5% On the balance 8%

Expected effect of USC changes on teachers’ salaries l A teacher earning €35,000 can expect to see their USC deductions drop by €177.60 annually from €1,218.06 to €1,040.46 which equals a reduction of €6.81 fortnightly. l A teacher earning €50,000 can expect to see their USC deductions drop by €252.60 annually from €2043.06 to €1,790.46 which equals a reduction of €9.68 fortnightly. l A teacher earning €70,000 can expect to see their USC deductions drop by €352.60 annually from €3,143.06 to €2,790.46 which equals a reduction of €13.51 fortnightly.

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Buying a car compare your car finance options

Buying a car is probably the second largest purchase that you will make after your home. But many of us focus on researching the car rather than how we will pay for it. As well as thinking about the make and model, it’s important to spend time thinking about how it’s to be financed. So the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has a snapshot of some popular car finance options:

1: SAve UP Pro: Saving up for your new car is the cheapest option as you do not have to pay interest on a loan. Con: It takes time to save so if you need a car urgently then this may not be an option for you. If you want to buy a car but are in no rush it is a good idea to set up a savings account. Make sure you get the best interest rate on your savings by checking out the regular savings account comparison on the CCPC’s consumer website, Rates from different providers can vary by a few percent so make sure you compare the different accounts among banks and the credit union.

2: TAke OUT A lOAN Pro: Unlike other forms of car finance, you own the car while paying off the loan so you could sell the car if you needed to. Con: You will be paying interest on the amount you borrow and it will affect your credit rating if you miss repayments. If you need a car urgently and don’t have

savings, you might be thinking of opting for a loan. Check out the CCPC’s personal loan cost comparison on the consumer website to see where you can get the best value loan and how long it will take you to pay it back. Remember, credit unions also offer loans for their members. You can use the CCPC’s loan calculator to work out repayments on loans of different amounts. The cost of credit can vary by more than €1,000 between different providers for a €13,000 loan over three years. Aim to pay off the loan before you expect to get rid of the car, so you are not paying the loan back after the car is gone.

3: HIre PUrCHASe Pro: Hire purchase can be convenient if the garage you are buying from can also arrange your finance. Con: You don’t own the car until it is fully paid off. erefore, you cannot sell the car if you run into problems making your repayments. With hire purchase, the garage you are buying the car from usually acts as an agent for the finance company and earns commission to arrange the finance for you. When you use a hire purchase agreement to buy a car, the garage sells the car to the finance company. The finance company then rents the car to you for an agreed period of time in return for a set monthly repayment over a number of years. Hire purchase is different to a personal loan in that you don’t own the car until you have made the last repayment – you are hiring the car for a period of time, typically three to five years. This means you cannot sell the car if you run into problems making your repayments. You may also have to pay a significant lump-sum at the end of the hire purchase agreement if you want INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

to own the car. Check what you are being offered first and know what you are signing up to.

4: PerSONAl CONTrACT PlAN (PCP) Pro: e monthly repayments are relatively low, which can make the PCP seem more affordable. Con: No guarantee about the amount of equity you will have at the end of the agreement to put towards a new PCP. Similar to a hire purchase agreement, a PCP is an agreement between you and the finance company that will mean for at least three years, or the duration of the agreement, you will be making repayments on the car. A PCP may have relatively small monthly repayments, which can make the plan seem more affordable. A PCP normally involves three payment stages: (1) paying a deposit – this is normally 10-30% of the value of the car, (2) paying monthly repayments – which may be relatively small, and (3) paying a large final payment – this may be called the ‘guaranteed minimum future value’ (GMFV) or ‘balloon payment’. As you are not the legal owner of the car, you cannot sell it if you run into problems making your repayments. When you come to the end of a PCP you can pay the final payment and keep the car, hand back the car and make no further payments or trade in the car for a new one. You should think and be clear about what you will do at the end of the PCP agreement. The plan can also include commitments from you on things like annual mileage and servicing and you may be penalised if you don’t stick to them so make sure you are clear on what you are agreeing to. Check out the CCPC’s consumer website, for more information on buying a car.

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Newsdesk { News from the world of education and trade unionism, at home and abroad }

vetting Remaining sections of the Teaching Council (Amendment) Act 2015 commenced e remaining sections of the Teaching Council (Amendment) Act 2015 have been commenced (2 November), allowing the Teaching Council to put in place new arrangements for the renewal of registration of registered teachers. It provides a statutory basis for the retrospective vetting and periodic revetting of all registered teachers in the context of renewal of registration. Almost 65% of the 92,000 teachers have been vetted. e cohort of approximately 32,000 who have not yet been vetted are typically permanent teachers who have been in the same school since before the introduction of vetting in 2006.

Minor Works Grant

It is expected that retrospective vetting will be commenced by the Teaching Council in December 2016. is will be applicable only to teachers who have never previously been vetted. e Council will have a schedule for retrospective vetting and will contact teachers individually to invite them to make their vetting application in order to receive their individual vetting disclosure. Teachers should wait until contacted by the Teaching Council to apply for this retrospective vetting. It is not intended that all 92,000 registered teachers will be vetted on each annual renewal of registration. e

The 2016/17 Minor Works Grant issued to all primary schools in November. The grant is intended for improving the physical infrastructure of schools and the purchase of standard furniture, physical education

new arrangements will allow the Council to plan and undertake vetting of registered teachers in a structured and phased manner, starting with those who may not heretofore have been vetted and, ultimately, providing for periodic re-vetting of all registered teachers on an ongoing basis. However, teachers who require to be vetted for the purpose of appointment i.e. moving schools may still apply for vetting at any time. See FAQ on vetting on the INTO website. Further information will be posted on the INTO website when available and in the January/February edition of InTouch.

equipment and IT related equipment. The rates payable are €5,500 per school plus €18.50 per mainstream pupil and €74 per special needs pupil. Circular Letter 62/2013 gives full details on the grant scheme for minor works

registration committee of the Teaching council The Registration Committee plays a central role in dealing with the regulations governing the registration of teachers and in reviewing applications for registration from teachers trained outside the state. There are 11 members on the Registration Committee, three of whom are from the primary sector: Gregor Kerr , Eamon Shaughnessy and Colm Harte. There have been ongoing discussions regarding teachers registered under Regulation 3, now called Route 4. This mainly affects Montessori trained teachers. Under previous regulations it

was proposed to discontinue registering this category of teacher who will graduate after 2021. The Registration Committee has had the Consultation Process re-opened regarding these teachers and gained an extension of the deadline until 2023. All teachers are strongly urged to engage with this consultation process. The Education Committee is also engaged in discussions with St Nicholas Montessori College regarding the future of Montessori education. The Teaching Council, at its most recent meeting, passed a motion from the INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

Registration Committee stating that teachers will no longer be able to be probated under JobBridge or similar schemes. Since the motion passed at Congress this year, and the directive that INTO members not cooperate with Droichead, NQTs in mainstream classes have continued to have access to probation by the Inspectorate. However, NQTs in SEN settings do not currently have access to probation except through the Droichead process. The Registration Committee discussed this matter, recognised the anomaly and the inequity that this creates and would like to see the matter resolved.

InTouchDec2016_DC.qxp 28/11/2016 10:16 Page 32

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In touch with Conall Ó Breacháin of We Cut Corners ... Conall Ó Breacháin and John Duignan, two primary teachers and INTO members, have carved out a unique place in the Irish music scene as We Cut Corners with their eclectic mix of songs, from angular pop and garage rock to wistful indie-folk, always coupled with their unique lyrical deftness. They have been invited to festivals in Moscow, New York, London, Brighton, Berlin What made you become a teacher? Rich family tradition and wide-eyed, youthful idealism. What other jobs have you done? Landscape gardening/music composition for theatre. Who (alive or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? Bon Iver (preferably alive). What songs would be on the soundtrack of your life? I Get Nervous by Lower Dens – exquisitely simple, fabulously melancholic, gloriously melodic. What’s your favourite stress buster? Bustin’ my drums. What is your most prized possession? My beautiful daughter, Poppy (is it ok to say I possess her – she’s 8 months old?). What’s your all-time favourite TV show? (or book/film) Garage, directed by our good friend Lenny Abrahamson. What subject did you like best or least when you were in school? I loved classical studies – it was like celebrity Big Brother in togas.

and Groningen and have performed with the RTE Concert Orchestra and the Fratres String Quintet. Both of their critically acclaimed debut and sophomore albums were nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year. We Cut Corners’ selfproduced third album, the Cadences of Others, was released to universal acclaim on 4 November 2016.

What’s the app you just can’t live without at the moment? I can live without every app. In fact, I’d encourage it. What’s your guilty pleasure? I eat a lot of vegetarian Indian takeaway food. I mean a lot. What is your best advice for primary teachers in the area of music? Play it loud and play it often. Who was your biggest inspiration growing up? My parents. They’re the best. What is your work/ music life balance like? If it were a leaving cert grade, I’d give it an ‘A1’. What’s your favourite class level to teach? Junior infants. You have to know where they've come from to know where they need to go. They’re also hilarious. When you’re thirsty what’s the remedy? Peppermint tea.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I find it hard to see past the end of this week. Let’s say on an island somewhere.

Conall­Ó­Breacháin­(left),­of­We­Cut­Corners,­with band­mate­John­Duignan.­The­band’s­third­album, released­in­November­2016,­was­met­with­critical acclaim. INTOUCH


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Who was the most influential teacher in your life? Both my parents are teachers, so they are. My junior infant teacher, Mrs Cox, was an inspiration also. She was a beautiful, kind, gentle Kerry woman, who had a Bosco puppet that she kept in the press. He would come out and say ‘hi’ when we were really good. She also had a jar of ‘Kerry air’ that she would let us smell on special occasions. I loved her. I think I still do. When did you join the INTO and why? I joined on qualifying from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. I thought it was a right of passage, like the Sateré-Mawé ‘Bullet Ant Initiation’ or the Hispanic ‘Quinceanera’. What advice would you give someone starting out in teaching? If something isn’t working well, don’t blame the children. Choices – Apple or Android, red or white wine, brown or white bread? I like Apples (I’d never eat an android), I can’t stand wine – indiscriminately, brown bread till I die.

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Highest­risk­of­work­related­stress­in­education New report identifies factors associated with the risks of work-related illnesses recent illness reported by workers in a 12 month reference period. e average length of absence was 15.9 days for MSD and 17 days for SAD. Both involve longer absences than the average for all other types of work‐related illnesses (12.8 days). e rates of both illnesses, especially MSD, increased during the economic boom years and decreased during the recession (controlling for the composition and size of the workforce). Risk factors associated with workrelated illness

New research published by the ESRI identifies Irish workers who are most at risk of developing the two most common types of work-related illness – work-related stress, anxiety and depression (SAD) and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). In Ireland, these account for 50 per cent and 18 per cent of work-related illnesses respectively. e risk of work-related stress, anxiety and depression (SAD) is highest for workers in the education sector, followed by those in health, public administration, transport and ‘other services’, which includes finance, information and communications. e report identifies risk factors associated with each illness, using data from the Quarterly National Household Survey for the years 2002–2013, and outlines implications for measures to assist those most at risk. MSD and SAD in Ireland

Work-related MSD affects different parts of the body that are used for body movement, for example, the skeleton, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Workrelated stress is defined by the WHO as “the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope”. Depression and anxiety are distinct psychiatric disorders with defined diagnostic criteria. In 2013, an estimated 55,000 workers in Ireland suffered from a work-related illness, resulting in the loss of 790,000 days of work. e research measured the number of days absent for the most

e research identified the characteristics most associated with SAD and MSD by examining workers’ gender, age, the sector in which they are employed and working patterns, including working hours, job experience, shift work and night work. Factors associated with work-related Stress, Anxiety and Depression (SAD) l


l l

Workers aged 35 to 54 years are most likely to experience SAD: six per 1,000 workers in this age bracket experienced SAD illnesses. e risk of SAD illness is highest for workers in the education sector, followed by those in health, public administration, transport and ‘other services’, which includes finance, information and communications. e self-employed have a lower risk of SAD illnesses than employees. ere is a greater risk of SAD illness for those working long weekly hours.


ose working over 50 hours are three times more likely to experience SAD than those working less than 30 hours. New recruits have a higher risk of SAD per month worked.

Implications for policy

e high proportion of SAD cases among work-related illnesses suggests that a greater awareness of mental health issues is required. Employers find it difficult to assess and manage mental health risks, therefore further information and supports, such as stress audit tools, may prove useful. ere is a necessity to monitor workrelated illnesses in sectors with greater risks Addressing the ‘long-hours culture’ in workplaces is likely to reduce SAD. Specific measures are required to assist new recruits, who face higher risks such as training and supervision. Helen Russell, Associate Research Professor at the ESRI and an author of the report, commented, “e research findings point to a need for targeted measures to address work-related illnesses, not only to assist workers experiencing difficulties, but also to tackle the issues of lost productivity, and the associated costs for health care and social protection. As the rate of workrelated illness increased during the boom years, it is especially important to consider implementing such measures as the economic recovery accelerates.”

The work of the ESRI appears to confirm INTO findings of increased teacher workload and stress in primary schools A major report published by the INTO in 2015 authored by Professor Mark Morgan of DCU concluded that primary teaching had become much more “stressful, demanding, challenging and hectic”. Ninety per cent of teachers held this view of their jobs. Teachers identified greater demands for documentation, school policies and improvement plans and demands on schools to solve wider societal problems as major contributors to work related stress. Meeting the individual needs of pupils also made teaching more challenging, as did the number of children with behaviour difficulties. Factors identified by teachers that could make INTOUCH


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teaching less stressful are less documentation, tackling curriculum overload and the reinstatement of promotion opportunities. The INTO has called for the DES to actively support the wellbeing of teachers through the provision of better support services for children with special needs and the resources necessary for the efficient running of a school. Teachers are highly motivated and professional but as this and other research shows are extremely susceptible to stress and burnout. Demands for more detailed documentation and that schools tackle complex societal problems come at a cost.

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INTO receives award for promoting water safety Rosena­Jordan,­INTO­President,­is­pictured­receiving­an­award­on­behalf­of­the INTO­for­their­assistance­in­informing­primary­school­teachers­about­the­Irish Water­Safety­Primary­Aquatic­Water­Safety­(PAWS)­programme.­The­ceremony took­place­on­8­November­in­Dublin­Castle. Pictured­with­Rosena­are­Simon Coveney,­Minister­for­Housing,­Planning­and­Local­Government­and­Roger Sweeney,­Marketing­Manager­and­Deputy­CEO­of­Irish­Water­Safety.­­ Photo:­©David­Branigan/Oceansport. To­find­out­more­about­the­PAWS­programme­visit­

irish publisher wins coveted international award for the second year in a row Congratulations to R.I.C Publications, owned by Wexford-born Prim-Ed Publishing MD, Seamus McGuinness, who overcame tough competition to win the Primary Publisher of the Year award for the second year in succession, at the Australian Publishers’ Association (APA) Educational Publishing Awards. The company was also shortlisted in the Primary Student Resource – Mathematics category for its 2016 release The Maths Box, which is widely used in Irish classrooms and is one of its topselling resources in Ireland this year. The prestigious annual awards ceremony, considered the Academy Awards of the educational publishing industry, rewards excellence and innovation in the industry and has been taking place for 21 years. Entries are judged by a panel of peers and, each year, teachers and booksellers vote for the coveted Publisher of the Year award. The awards are a massive coup for a publisher that was started 30 years ago by three teachers in a garden shed. Prim-ed­pictured­at­INTO­Principals’­and­Deputy­Principals’­Conference­in­2015. Pictured­are:­Declan­Kyne,­chair­of­Principals’­and­Deputy­Principals’­Committee, Clare­Geoghegan,­Prim-Ed,­Emma­Dineen,­Past­President,­INTO,­and­Tony­Holland, Prim-Ed­Sales­Manager

Blood, sweat and coddle – Abbeyfeale school wins all-island primary schools drama competition The­Abbey­Theatre­and­RTÉ,­in collaboration­with­the­DES,­ran­a competition­this­year­to­encourage primary­school­children­to­make­their unique­contribution­to­Ireland­2016. Schools­were­invited­to­write­a­short play­(10­minutes)­based­on­the­events of­1916. Congratulations­to­the­staff­and children­of­St­Mary’s­BNS,­Abbeyfeale, Co­Limerick­who­were­the­winners­of this­competiton.­The­school thoroughly­enjoyed­performing­their play,­Blood, sweat and coddle, on­the stage­of­the­Abbey­Theatre.­The­play was­written­and­produced­by­teacher Rebecca­Carroll. INTOUCH


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New­entrants­to­teaching­are­high­achievers Despite challenges experienced by the teaching profession in recent years, teaching as a profession continues to be popular among young people in Ireland and entrants are generally high achievers. at’s according to Dr Merike Darmody one of the authors of Entry to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education, a new report, published on 10 November by the ESRI and the Teaching Council. It provides new information on the profiles of entrants to undergraduate (concurrent) and postgraduate (consecutive) courses of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in Ireland. e findings of the study can be grouped under three main headings: demand for college places on teacher education courses, the profile of entrants into ITE, and requirements for entry. With regard to the latter, the specific focus of the research was on: l Entry to primary programmes of initial teacher education (at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and with a specific focus on applicants from Gaeltacht areas). How popular are teacher education courses?

l A high demand for places in teacher education programmes in Ireland results in strong competition for places. l e demand for undergraduate ITE courses is high, relative to other courses, with only health-related courses having a higher level of demand. Despite difficulties in accessing teaching jobs, the number of CAO applicants who list a teaching course in primary education as their first preference has remained

relatively stable in recent years. l e demand for places on postgraduate courses is also high but varies across higher education institutions. ere is some evidence of a decline in demand in recent years, with the move to a two-year programme, possibly due to the cost involved.

available on the social profile of those entering postgraduate teaching courses, making it difficult to assess diversity among this population.

What is the profile of student teachers?

Requirements for entry

l Due to a very high level of demand for places, entrants to ITE courses have very high achievement levels. l A significant proportion of those who enter ITE courses for primary education have 500 or more Leaving Certificate points. l ere is less information available on the profile of those entering postgraduate teacher education courses but all candidates have a primary degree (or equivalent) and a significant proportion also have postgraduate qualifications. l Entrants to primary and post-primary ITE are disproportionately female, though slightly less so at post-primary level. l e student intake on teacher education courses tends to be young, mostly entering immediately after school or their primary degree. l Students who enter primary teacher courses are more likely to be socially advantaged than those on other higher education courses (such as Arts/Social Science). ey are less likely to have attended a disadvantaged school, to be in receipt of a higher education grant, to be non-Irish or to have entered through an alternative route (such as FETAC). l ere is currently a lack of information

l From 2017, the system of grading for the Leaving Certificate will be changed with implications for the calculation of CAO points. l Countries differ in how they select among applicants to teacher education courses, typically using school qualifications, interviews and/or aptitude tests. ere is no firm evidence that particular selection mechanisms produce the ‘best’ teachers. However, countries that have greater demand for teacher education places have higher-achieving entrants. l In response to potential concerns about teacher quality, there have been proposals to change the entry criteria used for selecting student teachers in Ireland. l At primary level, this proposal would involve higher grade requirements in maths, Irish and English. Analyses indicate that, without sufficient notice to the applicants, this would dramatically reduce the number of school leavers eligible for entry to ITE courses and would particularly reduce entry rates among more disadvantaged groups. View the report at publications/entry-to-programmes-ofinitial-teacher-education/

iran: global campaign to free teacher union leader Education International has called on its member organisations to protest the unwarranted six year jail sentence imposed on Esmail Abdi, a leader of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association. EI has informed the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the charges, including one for “assembling and colluding against national security”, are unjust and contravene various human right conventions, including those protecting freedom of expression and association, as well as the right of unions to be consulted on education policies.

Esmail Abdi was sentenced on 7 October by the Appeal Court of Tehran. This comes at a time when the regime’s policies have created a crisis in the country’s educational system and for teachers’ living conditions. The privatisation of education has destroyed any remnants of equal opportunity or free education in Iran. Many students, especially girls, from low income families in rural and nomadic areas are practically banned from accessing education, with reports INTOUCH


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showing that over 3.5 million students are unable to attend school. Iranian teachers are continuing to teach despite being deprived of their basic rights. Teachers’ wages are often below the poverty line. Iranian teachers’ nationwide protests and strikes over the past years demonstrate their strong demands for systematic change. Irish teachers can take action by petitioning the Iranian authorities through the LabourStart appeal at

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New faces on Coiste Naisiúnta

Gary Farrell (Leas Rúnaí) Gary Farrell has been principal of Our Lady’s and St Mochua’s PS in Derrynoose, Co Armagh, for 13 years. Our Lady’s and St Mochua’s PS is a rural primary school of 190 pupils. It has close links with its local club Derrynoose GAC. Both the school and club promote all codes within the GAA Family. Gary has been involved with Cumann na mBunscol within Armagh for the past 20 years and has been chairman for the past three years. Gary is married to Brenda and they have two sons, Thomas aged 12 and Liam aged 11.

than a transfusion of new blood? There were new faces elected to Coiste Náisiunta and all have made excellent contributions to the work of the Committee.

Gerry O’ Meara (Mini Sevens Officer)

Micheál Mac Thiarnáin (Cisteoir)

Gerry O’Meara began his Cumann na mBunscol career in Scoil Treasa, Firhouse, in 1981, where he is now principal teacher. Gerry was secretary of the Tallaght section of Cumann na mBunscol Áth Cliath for six years and cathaoirleach of Cumann na mBunscol Áth Cliath from 1997 to 1999. In 2000, Gerry became cathaoirleach of Cumann na mBunscol Laighean and is currently secretary of Coiste Laighean. He was appointed as INTO Mini Sevens Officer and became a member of the National Committee in 2016.

Micheál Mac Thiarnáin has been teaching in St Brigid’s NS, Drumcong, Co Leitrim, since 2006. He was elected chairperson of Leitrim Cumann na mBunscol in 2010 and PRO in Connacht Cumann na mBunscol in 2014.

Niamh Mulcahy

Micheál piloted a hurling initiative in Leitrim which won first prize in the Cornmarket Cumann na mBunscol Awards in 2015.

Niamh­Mulcahy­comes­from­a­family steeped­in­sport.­She­is­granddaughter of­John­Mackey,­the­legendary­Limerick hurler­of­the­1940s­and­brother­of­Mick Mackey.­However,­Niamh,­who­teaches in­Caherline­NS,­Co­Limerick,­is­a­star­in her­own­right.­She­is­one­of­the­most prolific­scorers­in­top-class­camogie, playing­on­an­up-and-coming­Limerick team­managed­by­John­Tuohy, principal­of­St­Paul’s­NS,­Dooradoyle, Limerick­City.­Niamh­has­the­distinction of­twice­playing­in­Croke­Park­in­the INTO­Mini­Sevens,­playing­football­in 2001­and­hurling in­2002.

Micheál plays football for Kiltubrid (Cill Tiobraid) in Leitrim.

This­year,­Niamh was­nominated­for a­Liberty Insurance­All-Star Award.

From mini Sevens to All-Ireland glory Diarmuid claims All Ireland minor title on fifth anniversary of first Croke Park appearance Comhghairdeachas le Diarmuid Ó Conchubhair a d’aimsigh an chéad bháide do Chiarraí i bPáirc an Chrócaigh sa chluiche craoibhe i mbliana. Cúig bliana díreach ón lá úd, ar an 18ú Meán Fómhair 2011, d’imir sé i gCeann Áras leis na INTO Mini Sevens toisc gurb iad Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn, faoi stiúir Mháistir Uí Ainiféin agus Mháistir Uí Chuill, a bhuaigh Craobh na ‘Mini Sevens’ i gCiarraí, an bhliain sin. Diarmuid was in sparkling form for his school Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn throughout the Mini Sevens campaign and the fifth class pupil was a popular selection for his Croke Park appearance.


He was a prominent member of the all conquering Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn teams in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol competitions from 2008 to 2011 claiming the Division 1 title in 2011. He captained his school to claim the Comórtas Gael Linn title in 2012. In 2016, Diarmuid was a member of the Kerry minor football team that defeated Galway to bring the Tom Markham Cup to the Kingdom for the third consecutive year. Imreoir den chéad scoth, cloisfimid a thuilleadh faoi amach anseo. Diarmuid­celebrates­scoring­a­goal­in­2016­AllIreland­Minor­Final.­Photo:­Sportsfile

Closing date for Cornmarket Cumann na mBunscol Awards is Wednesday, 11 January 2017. For further details see INTOUCH


Tomás Ó hAiniféin, Cumann na mBunscol Chiarraí 2017....details_announced

DeCember 2016


As another year nears its end, it is timely to look back but also to look to the future. Every organisation, school or otherwise, needs to renew itself. Is there a better way to bring new life

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IMMERSION COURSES IN FRANCE & SPAIN, JULY 2017 TO JUNE 2018 LFEE Europe is an international course provider committed to promoting French and Spanish to Primary and Secondary teachers throughout Europe. Our fun and motivating courses take place in Lyon, Salignac and Malaga, and a new course for past participants in Avignon! Courses are from Summer 2017 onwards. Many applicants from Ireland last year received support from the Erasmus+ Programme available through Leargas. The grant covers the course fee, subsistence, accommodation, and eligible travel expenses. The deadline for Erasmus+ applications to Leargas is 2 February 2017 Please contact LFEE Europe in the first instance as places on courses are offered on a first come, first served basis. Roslynn Main, LFEE Europe tel: +44(0)131 343 2222 email:

The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Perfect Class Day Out This year, the Moving Crib will be celebrating its 60th birthday. Having undergone major renovations last year, you are now greeted with a montage of many historical / fun stories, including Noah’s Ark, The Wise Men and many more. These scenes, competitions, an illusion wall and a little touch of magic are all sure to guarantee a fun learning experience for children of all ages. It is the perfect class day out in the run up to Christmas and best of all it is FREE!

HomeLink Home Exchange – since 1953 – Let your holidays start here Exchange your home and see the world for FREE Try our FREE TRIAL membership HomeLink the longest established home exchange organisation in the world.

We have Christmas Carols in association with The Bray Gospel Choir on Sunday 11th December. This is a free ticketed event. For more information and booking please visit our website. Groups & Schools are welcome any time. You must book your group to avoid disappointment.

Tel: 01 8462598 Email :

Book your group on-line here or call us today on (01) 874 5465. Monday 21st November – Sunday 8th January St. Martin Apostolate, Encourage your students to take part in 42 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1. our “Draw a Leaf” competition and they could be in with a chance to win a tablet! You could also win a Hamper of NOTE: While the Moving Crib remains Books for your class, a €50 Voucher for free to enter we are kindly asking for a voluntary donation of €1.50pp to cover the class, an annual subscription delivered to your School & Much More! maintenance and operational costs. If you would prefer not to donate that is Simply by registering your School / Class to come and visit The Moving Crib no problem, please come along anyway. It is still FREE! this Christmas season. INTOUCH

Cúrsaí Gaeilge don SCG /OCG Coláiste Naomh Éanna, An Spidéal, Gaillimh.

SCG/OCG­courses­for­Primary­Teachers­2016/17 ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­February­:­ 19/02/2017­– 26/02/2017 ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Easter­:­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­09/04/2017­– 16/04/2017 (Preparation­for­SCG/OCG­exams) You­may­do­one,­two­or­three­weeks.­ Online­support­available­for­SCG/OCG­exam. Fully­recognised­by­the­Department­of­Education­and­Science­ Eolas/Information:­091­558870­/­087­1349929 (An­Spidéal­is­1o­minutes­by­car­from­Galway­City)


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Teaching matters • Articles and opinions on primary teaching, with tips and ideas for the classroom •

Bring­‘Spark’­to­showcasing­school­events/projects Popularity based on classroom use As we approach the Christmas season, it is nice to showcase school work and events – work done to date; Christmas plays, concerts, projects, season’s greetings to the school community etc. One of the most popular modules of the PDST Technology in Education summer course entitled Embedding ICT in teaching and learning in 2016, concentrated on digital storytelling, and Adobe Spark proved to be a very popular tool for teachers. Since then, feedback from classrooms around Ireland is that it is an equally popular tool with pupils. Adobe Spark – post, page and video Adobe Spark (at is a collection of three creation tools – Spark Post, Spark Page and Spark Video. All three can be accessed on a web browser (or apps can be downloaded individually onto tablet devices). Spark Video lets pupils create a video by narrating a series of slides. Each slide can have text, images, or icons as building blocks in the story. Spark Page lets students build a story to be displayed as one web page while Spark Post is a tool for designing images. This article will detail a classroom use for Spark Page.

with three coloured options namely ‘Post’, ‘Page’ and ‘Video’. To combine still images, text, video and music into a story, ‘Page’ is the preferred option. Creating an Adobe Spark page Once ‘Page’ is selected, a menu will appear and a title and a subtitle can be added by simply clicking on the boxes and typing in content. Once the ‘photo’ icon is selected, a menu will appear at the side of the screen allowing a search for Creative Commons linked photos which can be used in the ‘page’ and there is also the option to upload images captured on your own devices. One of the best features of Adobe Spark is how it cites images used from Creative Commons searches from within the platform so pupils appreciate the importance of citing sources of third party images. The image will upload to form a backdrop to the text and the focal point of the image can be adjusted also. Alternatively, images can be sourced from other platforms.

At this stage, the digital stories can go off in a myriad of different directions using combinations of media. The ‘Page’ can be personalised even further by using the ‘Themes’ setting. The ‘Preview’ button at the top of the screen will allow you to look through work done to date. The ‘Share’ button allows you to add some metadata to the page (Title, author, photo credits [if nonCreative Commons photos have been used] and it must be categorised Education for school use).

The next stage of the ‘Share’ process will generate a shareable link to your ‘Page’ with options to share through social media, email or to use the embed code to add the ‘Page’ to your school website (in accordance with your acceptable use policy for use of school related images).

Preparing to tell a story As with any story, it is important to plan the sequence of the story in advance, captions/narratives agreed and whatever images need to be uploaded can be organised into a single folder. If video is to be used, it will need to be uploaded into Youtube or Vimeo in order to be incorporated into Spark Page. Setting up your Adobe Spark Account Go to to create your own individual account by selecting the ‘Start now for free’ option.

Further elements can be added to the story by scrolling down the screen and selecting the ‘+’ icon to reveal a menu to add further photos, text, buttons, video (must be already in Youtube or Vimeo), a photo grid and a glideshow (combination of images and text).

We would love to see your stories created as a result of this article so share them with us (if in line with school policy) through Twitter accounts @PDST_Ireland and @PDST_TechinEd We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support in 2016, to wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and we look forward to working with you all again in 2017. Written by SEáN GALLAGHEr, PDST Technology in Education.

Once signed up for free, navigate to the left top corner and select the ‘three lines icon’. Once clicked this will open a menu INTOUCH


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Teaching academic language t As a teacher in a school with a high level of minority-language pupils, I was often surprised by the difference between how the students’ language presented to me in conversation and their performances in academic tasks. There was a discrepancy between my perception of their ability, based on their conversational language, and their lower performance in academic tasks. As part of my Masters in Intercultural Education in Marino Institute of Education, I learned about Cummins’ theory about the difference between conversational language and academic language. Conversational language is everyday language while academic language is the language of texts and tasks of school. Cummins believes that there is a difference between the length of time to acquire conversational fluency (1-2 years) and academic language proficiency (5-7 years) (Cummins, 1996). I wanted to find a methodology with which I could teach academic vocabulary in a way that would benefit all pupils and would suit EAL learners in particular. Upon further reading, I realised that vocabulary was one aspect of underperformance of minority-language students in academic tasks. Another was the lack of recognition of their home lives and cultures. Linking the curriculum to children’s experiences and home lives shows them that their culture is just as relevant and valued as the majority culture. It activates prior knowledge and makes learning meaningful. Non-inclusion can lead to students giving up on their culture or on school. Inclusion can enable them to succeed academically while keeping their ‘cultural integrity’ (Cummins, 2000; Hawkins, 2010; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Gonzales, Moll and Amanti, 2005). At the time, I was teaching a fourth class of 28 children in a DEIS Band 2 school, 24 of whom were minoritylanguage students. All but one had completed EAL support. However, many students were not coping well with the academic language demands of school. Based on this and the literature, and with the support of my dissertation supervisor Barbara O’Toole (MIE), I combined a sociocultural approach and robust vocabulary approach to teaching the genre of Procedural Writing.

Linking the curriculum to children’s experiences and home lives shows them that their culture is just as relevant and valued as the majority cultures. The sociocultural approach involved a combination of designing a culturallyrelevant curriculum and using social interaction as a methodology. The literature advocates the following as important scaffolding for EAL students: activating prior knowledge, visual aids, collaborative learning, teacher-modelling and high expectations. I followed the First Steps Gradual Release of Responsibility model (GRRM) under the writing prompt, ‘Explain how to prepare and cook a dish your family makes on special occasions’. The class completed this task prior to and following the intervention and both writes were marked and compared using a rubric. In order to make this project culturally relevant, and to analyse procedural writing with my class, I chose recipes from the internet that matched the cultures of my class. Three parents did cooking demonstrations of their home recipes for the class. All parents had expertise to bring to the demonstrations. It was affirming to the children as they saw aspects of their home lives being held in high esteem by the class and being used as the basis of teaching. We used photos INTOUCH


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of the demonstrations to base Modelled, Shared and Paired writing on. EAL learners benefit from teacher modelling of tasks. Paired work enables them to try out aspects of the language in a safe environment before having to present their work to the class or teacher. Robust Vocabulary Instruction involves “…directly explaining the meanings of words along with thought-provoking, playful and interactive follow-up” (Beck, McKeown, Kucan, p.3, 2013). A small amount of academic words are taught through rich and lively activities. Beck et al. (2013) state that there are three tiers of vocabulary. Tier One: basic words that will be picked up in conversation – dog, table, run. Tier Three: academic words that are topic specific – mathematical/medical/ scientific terms. Tier Two: Academic words that do not come up regularly in conversation but do come up in texts and written tasks – curious, immense, sufficient, etc. Beck et al. (2013) recommend Tier Two words as the vocabulary for Robust Vocabulary Instruction. There is no set list of words. Teachers choose vocabulary from the texts or writing genre they are teaching. Words should be relevant to a variety of genres so they are useful for the children. I based my word choice on the students’ writing upon examination of their initial work. The children were omitting the goal and evaluation aspects of procedural writing and there was a lack of adverbs and an over-use of the word ‘put’. I chose words that could be used in writing their home recipes, but also in other genres. Week 1: add, combine, simmer, blend, place. Week 2: gradually, finely, thoroughly, regularly, firmly, roughly. Week 3: consistency, achieve, desire, flavour, entice, hesitant. Week 4: appetising, appealing, precaution, savoury, satisfy. I introduced these words at the beginning of the week and taught Robust Vocabulary Instruction activities (Beck et al., 2013) four to five days a week for approximately 10 minutes. Activities included: • Example/non-example: teacher makes a statement about a target word and

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e to EAL students students decide if it is an example/nonexample. Teacher asks why? and students explain. Thoroughly: I washed the vegetables thoroughly so they were safe to eat, example/non-example? I picked up most of the toys on the floor when cleaning my room thoroughly, example/non-example? • Generating context, situations and examples: When would a student/ a teacher/ a chef do something gradually/regularly/ finely… Why? • Completing sentence stems: The hotel that was advertised was appealing to my parents because… I was hesitant to join in the game because… Unlike traditional vocabulary activities, this instruction encourages students to gain a deep understanding of words. When students give answers, they are asked to explain why. This is an essential step so that words can be understood and used in different contexts. At the end of the project, the children’s

writing had improved. It was less casual and more academic. They used Tier Two words in their writing, their framework improved and they included more culturally relevant dishes. The scaffolding of robust vocabulary instruction and the GRRM model allowed them to produce a more academic piece. The inclusion of their cultures activated their prior knowledge to give them meaningful content to write about. Reviewing vocabulary and displaying the words is very important, so I used a Wow word wall in my class. Additionally, students must be instructed to use the words in their writing and shown how to do this in teacher modelled lessons. High expectations of their academic writing need to be communicated. Furthermore, and importantly, all teachers in a multilingual school are EAL teachers and need to employ suitable methodologies to enable students’ academic progress. However, professional development for teachers in this area is required. All classes in my school now have a

Bibliography Beck, I., McKeown, M., and Kucan, L. (2013), Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction, New York: The Guilford Press. Cummins, J. (2000) Language, Power and Pedagogy Bilingual Children in the Crossfire, Great Britain: Cromwell Press Ltd. Gonzáles, N., Moll, L. and Amanti, C. (eds) (2005) Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing Practices in Households, Communities, and Classrooms, New York and London: Routledge. Hawkins, M. (2010) Sociocultural Approaches to Language Teaching and Learning, in Leung. C. and Creese, A.(eds) (2010) English as an Additional Language: Approaches to teaching linguistic minority students, LA and London: Sage. Ladson-Billings (1995) Toward a Theory of Culturally-Relevant Pedagogy, American Educational Research Journal, Vo. 32, No. 3, pp. 465-491.

Wow word wall. I have junior infants and teach three Tier Two words a week based on the picture book we are reading. This usually ties into the Aistear or assembly theme so there are many opportunities to use the words as the children interact and play. In order to provide a culturally relevant curriculum, a note is sent to parents to inform them of Aistear themes and ask them to come in to talk to the class about their experience in these areas. For ‘The Restaurant’, a dad came in to talk about his job in a local restaurant. This helped the children’s language and imagination in the role-play area. For ‘Homes’, a parent cooked Chapati (an Indian dish) for the class. I then took cutlery out of the roleplay area, as the parent explained that her family eat with their hands. I put playdoh and rolling pins in for the children to make their own Chapati. When the children are discussing what they are going to do in the sand area (often making cakes for celebrations) I ask them what they are celebrating – Eid, Christmas, birthday parties, etc? so all identities are included. I find this to be a meaningful way to get parents involved in school as it is linked to the curriculum and also affirms the identities of the children in my class. EMEr CArNEy, Castaheany ETNS, Dublin 15



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“Herod’s in H

erod’s mother rang. He’s in A&E. They think he might have broken his leg.” My colleague looks panic stricken. “And I can’t find the spears for the army men.” “Soldiers.” “What?” she looks about in alarm, as if expecting to see an army marching towards us. “They’re not army men. They’re soldiers.” I channel our principal, a stern advocate for correct terminology. “I keep forgetting.” It has been a long term, but Christmas is finally on the horizon. Nativity fever is at an all time high. December has been punctuated by auditions for the parts of Mary and Joseph, carol practices and a frenzied hunt for a missing Baby Jesus. Inevitably, some things have been put on the back burner. Purists would suggest that language development is amongst the latter. Result? Every child in the school has begun to refer to Herod’s soldiers as ‘army men’. Now, on the eve of the dress rehearsal, Herod himself appears to have come a cropper. Some might call it hard luck. Not so the teacher who has tutored Herod until he is word perfect and she herself is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.


n air of doom fills the staffroom when news of Herod’s accident is announced. So oppressive is it that the caretaker breaks out the yellow snacks usually reserved for inspectors. Through a mouthful of chocolate, a young gun makes a suggestion. If Herod’s leg really is broken, a video link between his trolley in A&E and the church could easily be set up. As suggestions go, it is bold and innovative. It is also clearly unwelcome. The teachers who have sat

at the corner table for nigh on 30 years stiffen. Rising as one, they flounce in outrage from the staffroom. Home time comes and with it the news that Herod is back in the game. The leg that was feared broken has been declared miraculously intact. The recent hiatus in staff relations is forgotten. A feeling of euphoria pervades the school. Caught up in the

An air of doom fills the staffroom when news of Herod’s accident is announced. So oppressive is it that the caretaker breaks out the yellow snacks usually reserved for inspectors. goodwill, someone offers to take home the shepherds’ tea towels … sorry, their headdresses … and boil wash them. Someone else is going to put new tin foil on the crowns. Offers to paint the innkeeper’s doors flood in. The vice principal declares that she will iron the kings’ cloaks. She will, she declares, have them done in five minutes. If only the glitches that appear at the next day’s dress rehearsal could be ironed out as easily!


ress rehearsal day finds the angels dancing across the road to the church where the Nativity will be performed. Clad in hand me down INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

Communion dresses, they cannot get over their own glamour. The first 20 minutes of dress rehearsal is spent reminding them of their positions on the altar. The next ten go to bewailing what nobody has noticed until now – without exception, the Communion dresses look as if they have been dip dyed in gravy. The annual trudges from the school to the church have taken their toll. A bright spark suggests that the dirtier dresses could be worn by the angels in the back row. The principal frowns. It is against the inclusive ethos of the school to have angels wear dirty dresses. Or to stand behind other angels for that matter. The choir are short a bench to pose on. Just for today, the displaced choristers will have to stand in front of the benches. As rehearsal continues, the benchless ones become more and more liberal in their interpretation of the word ‘stand’. They lie on their backs, roll about and, in one instance, execute a faultless handstand. Unseen, a chorister also manages to sit on the Drummer Boy’s drum and flatten it. At the back of the church, the bearer of the Star of Bethlehem seems to have lost the run of herself entirely. Previous rehearsals have seen her follow instructions to hold the star on its pole up straight. Today, the same star is weaving and dipping its way up the aisle like a demented butterfly. It turns out that its bearer has ignored her teacher’s instructions to visit the toilet before daring to set foot in the church. An hour and a half into rehearsal, she is feeling the strain. Mary and Joseph hove into view.

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A&E” M

ary, a small figure in pale blue, beckons impatiently to her tardy husband. Joseph is oblivious. He is deep in conversation with the donkey. “Sometimes I don’t know why I married him. “ His wife shakes her head at the assembled members of staff. Meantime, the Wise Men have begun their journey up the aisle. The tinsel

trim on their cast-off curtain cloaks catches the light from the stained glass windows. Think what you will, but there is truth in the old saying ‘clothes maketh the man’. Since they donned their majestic robes, the Wise Men seem to have grown in stature and confidence. You could hear a pin drop (or an angel tumble off the altar step for that matter) when Herod embarks on his final speech. The angel picks herself



DeCember 2016

up, the army men march after their leader and once again, the choir bursts into song. “Silent night, holy night” … The age old refrain fills the church and even the junior infants join in the singing that follows. Outside, the first flakes of snow have begun to fall. It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas. MAry O’CALLAGHAN, St Mark’s J N S, Tallaght, Dublin

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Changemaker Schools movement Empowering students and teachers In October 2016, the second annual European Changemaker Education Summit was held in Muckross House, Killarney, Co Kerry. Honouring a mission to ‘unlock solutions to reinvent education,’ the gathering brought together 150 change leaders – teachers, principals, innovators and policy leaders, as well as young people themselves – from over 20 countries. Founded and supported by the global nonprofit Ashoka, the Changemaker education movement aims to connect and support innovative schools throughout the world, who believe in the importance of empowering children for the common good. Changemaker schools actively foster empathy, leadership, teamwork and creativity, equipping children with the skills of changemaking. ere are now over 75 schools in the network in Europe, with over 200 globally. e summit represented an opportunity to bring together leaders from all the schools to meet with leading innovators and education experts in the field. e programme included keynote speeches by Dr Daire Keogh (Deputy President of DCU), Miho Taguma (Senior Policy Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), Prof Tom Collins (Chair of the Governing Bodies of DIT and IT Blanchardstown) and Margret Rasfeld (Education innovator and founder of School on the Move). Attendees toured St Oliver’s NS (a member of the Irish changemaker schools network) and observed a ‘Roots of Empathy’ class, based on the groundbreaking method for empathy education developed by Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon. Several principals from changemaker

schools led workshops in which they shared insight and practical tools with participants, looking at topics such as Taking Education Beyond the Classroom, Encouraging Student Entrepreneurship, and Schools Should Allow Children to Fail. “I came away feeling really inspired, having gained a broader perspective by meeting education leaders from all over the world,” said Gary Farrell, principal of Our Lady and St Mochua’s PS, Derrynoose, Co Armagh. “Changemakers place the children at the heart of everything they do. I returned to my own school with new ideas and a heightened sense of what is most important in education and where our emphasis should be.” Donabate-Portrane Educate Together NS joined the Irish changemaker schools network in 2014. Since then, teachers, parents and students at the school have celebrated examples of changemaking in all areas of their community. “A changemaker is someone who is willing to do something for someone else’s sake,” says Taibat Rasheed, a DPETNS student in sixth class. Her classmate Joshua Tighe agrees: “It’s about making your mark on the world, even if you only make a little change here, it could lead to a massive change somewhere else.” Changemakers are united by vision, empathy and initiative.

ey are creators and risk-takers, and they come from all walks of life. Role models like Nelson Mandela and Mary Robinson are well known for their ability to inspire change – but it is not only the highly visible leaders who are the agents. e young student in your third class who stands up for others and who doesn’t accept bullying is a changemaker. e teen coder Niamh Scanlon, who created a mobile app to support the 6,500 Irish people who are visually impaired, is a changemaker – as are the teachers who opened a cafe staffed by asylum seekers to help bring communities together in Killarney. As social challenges in the world grow more urgent and complex – from overpopulation and climate change to civil unrest and, most recently, the rise of insensitive and extreme language and behaviour in politics – the need has never been greater to dramatically rethink how young people grow up. Now more than ever before, we need our children feeling empowered and equipped to be part of the solution. True transformative change will only come from the efforts of many – those who have the confidence, skills and initiative to bring about positive change. On­Thursday­12­January­2017­we­are­hosting­a changemaker­evening­in­Drumcondra­Education Centre,­and­we­invite­anyone­who­would­like­to learn­more­about­the­changemaker­schools movement­to­come­along­on­the­night.­If­you­are interested­in­student­empower-ment,­and­if­you believe­that­the­skills­of­empathy,­teamwork, creativity­and­leadership­are­vital­skills­for­your students,­please­join­us­at­8pm­on­12­January.­ To­learn­more­or­to­get­in­contact,­visit MAEVE COrISH, Principal, Donabate Portrane Educate Together, and SErENA MIzzONI, Director of Ashoka Ireland.



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Keeping it original a Children’s art products will have originality, flair and will be unique if we focus on process and avoid replication. Michael O’Reilly writes a timely reminder to keep it creative this Christmas season. At Christmas time we need to remind ourselves of the key messages of visual arts education. It can be all too easy to slip into the template trap of the 30 identical Santa masks made with the paper plates. Now, if I haven’t succeeded yet with all the articles I have written over the years to persuade you to avoid this type of ‘art’, I’m probably not going to be able to convince you to avoid replication activities completely. Thinking about the topic of producing original artwork with children challenges us, as teachers, to question three instructional tactics that we sometimes mistakenly adopt in working with the visual arts curriculum. These are overly teacher-directed approaches, stepby-step art kits/templates and so-called free expression. In fairness to teachers who often agree with the process based approach,

the temptation can be there to take a completely hands-off approach. Often this mis-named ‘free expression’ involves sending kids away into any available part of the classroom to work totally unaided. More often than not this can end up being neither free nor particularly expressive. We need possibly to differentiate in terms of children’s ages and experience in order to discuss this approach. It is certainly true that at a very young age children need to be allowed this freedom in order to experiment with art tools and materials, to explore colour with paint, to stick at random, to play with clay, etc. But it is highly debatable if children at later stages are able to produce quality art in this automatic way and I have always argued that real process will not take place without support, stimulation and encouragement. This is a very different thing to showing samples for replication. Talk and discussion is a very important part of the art process. Most of us instinctively know that the vast majority of kids will be at the our side after five minutes saying “Teacher, I don’t know what to do!” if focus and stimulus is not provided and also that, in all subject areas, kids work best with encouragement,

A­seasonal image exploring shape­and colour­– Winter­Gorse

The task of the teacher is NOT to teach clever techniques or to demonstrate ways of producing images or forms s/he finds acceptable but to build on interests and strengths by drawing the children out and making suggestions as appropriate. INTOUCH


DeCember 2015

suggestion and appropriate assistance. Non-intervention is not, therefore, the answer to placing the focus on process, despite the belief that some theorists have that it is the only way to avoid being overdirective and rigid. Again, if we think about this in terms of other curricular areas, we would not expect children to learn maths concepts by merely giving them access to maths equipment or to learn science simply by setting up a science corner. Personally, I have never agreed with this non-interventionist approach – what we need is a more balanced approach where we try to provide not just the tools and materials to children but are prepared to provide appropriate support in a variety of ways and, at the same time, avoid being overdirective, judgemental or focused on trying to influence the outcome of the process to suit our own personal tastes. In other words, in the curriculum language, children need to remain as the designers and creators of their own work. In discussing the idea of overly directed instruction in visual arts, the most obvious example is the ‘how to draw’ books, widely available in book shops. At the most basic level this approach of ‘this is how you draw a ________’ is telling children that their own art is no good and that there is a ‘correct’ way to create an image. This is symptomatic of the old fashioned idea of

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at Christmas drawing as being purely representational ... the curriculum puts paid to this idea in stating that children’s drawings are about representing thoughts, ideas and feelings and not about creating a representational image. We learn to draw by making our own drawings, not by copying others’ drawings or tracing templates. As stated in the 1999 Visual Arts Curriculum document: the task of the teacher is NOT to teach clever techniques or to demonstrate ways of producing images or forms s/he finds acceptable but to build on interests and strengths by drawing the children out and making suggestions as appropriate. The second mentioned tactic of using art kits and templates is probably the main barrier to process at festive and seasonal times of the year. The template for the holly pattern, the cookie cutters, the step by step instructions of how to make the angel mobile all result in products that, while they may look pretty, have little if nothing to do with the children’s own ideas. The children have been required to make practically no decisions about what they create or about how they create it. Problem solving is totally missing, the designing has been totally taken over by the adult and children compare their products to those of other children who have been better at following the instructions to the letter. So ask the kids to create their own drawings and paintings this Christmas. Try out some more unusual themes to make art about: line up a collection of dolls or teddies under a tree and draw these, cut out your own stencils and print cards, have a construction day where the children bring in construction toys and games and construct a winter wonderland, make clay models of Christmas characters, design a shop

Here­is­an­example­of­the theme­of­angels­being explored­using­the technique­of­impressed printmaking.­Find­a complete­description­of this­technique­in InTouch December­2011 in­an­article­titled ‘Christmas­Card Factory’.

A­pen­and­ink­drawing­of­a­local­church­can­easily­become­a­Christmas­scene­with­the­addition­of­a­material like­crystals­of­sea­salt.­This­image­might­then­be­photographed­and­printed­onto­cards. window for Christmas or have a dress-up day where everyone must dress in Christmas colours and draw each other. So how, therefore, should we approach the subject of visual arts at Christmas time? As teachers we need to provide stimulus for the children’s work, ensure that we can provide a good supply of art materials and tools and be prepared to engage in talk and discussion with the children as they work through the process of deciding what art they will make, how they will go about making it and how they might display it. It is often a good idea to decide to limit the number of art activities you might try to explore so maybe pick a single theme to explore. Examples of good themes might include angels, lights, carols, our local church or particular stories or poems. You will find a number of themes outlined in past volumes of InTouch available on the INTO website.(See the list at the end of this article, on the PDST website or on the Scoilnet website). Although teacher designed kits that mainly result in the production of mere copies or replicas can often leave little room for change, with some creative thinking and planning on the part of the teacher, they can often be turned on their

Some of the previously published in InTouch articles by the author in which you will find process-based ideas for Christmas art. • December 2003: ‘Print Shop’ • December 2004: ‘Christmas Time (Poems)’ • December 2009: ‘Festivals and Celebrations’ • December 2010: ‘The Night before Christmas’ • December 2014: ‘Christmas Carousel’ INTOUCH


heads and become process oriented. Think for a minute! Do all the models of Santa Claus all have to look the same? Do they all have to be the same size, use a toilet roll and have a beard made from cotton wool? What would happen if the children were allowed to make their own cylinders, use different sized tubes, use white wools and other fabrics as well as, or instead of, cotton wool, were given access to a variety of construction materials and fabrics, model Mrs Claus or an elf as an alternative... get the idea? All that is required is a little more preparation on the part of the teacher in accessing a wider variety of materials. If you think about it, any of those activities that are replicabased that you may have been using for years can be turned around to provide children with an opportunity to be truly creative. This year, make that change! MICHAEL O’rEILLy, a retired teacher, has worked with the NCCA and PCSP on the design implementation of the arts curricula. He has worked in a wide variety of schools and other educational settings and is currently working with Scoilnet as a subject expert, continuing to update the I Am An Artist website. Michael also developed, with INTO, a new online summer course ‘Intouch with Visual Arts’.

• December 2015: ‘Appliqué Christmas’ All of these articles will give you lots of ideas on how to strike the correct balance between the merely decorative and the truly creative and will help you to avoid asking children to copy adult drawings, to adapt template activities to allow space for process and to be prepared to provide appropriate stimulus, advice and guidance to the children. Have fun and Happy Christmas to all my readers.

DeCember 2015

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Viva Valencia Arriving in Valencia on the sub two-hour with traditional tapas in the La Tassa bullet train from Madrid, there are high district of the charming Old Town. The hopes for a whistle-stop tour of this flavours of the city are truly unforgettable. ancient city. Although lesser known than Once you are fed and watered it is time its glitzy big sisters, Barcelona and to hit the sights. Valencia epitomises the Madrid, Spain’s third largest city is a perfect union of old and new. The historic mecca for all. walled centre and the unique state-of-theValencia ticks all the ‘prime vacation art Arts and Science complex sit seamlessly spot’ boxes – a long stretch of beach, side by side. Roaming the tiled streets of year-round sunshine, brimming with this walled city you will be wowed by the culture, beautiful architecture and monumental towers of Torres de Serranos gastronomic delights. from 1392. Nowhere is the ancient history It was established by the Romans, of Valencia more palpable than at occupied by Muslims, and won for Aragon L’Almoina – a former archaeological site in 1238, when its influence grew until it which has been converted into a museum. was one of the most important Found next to the 14th century cathedral, Mediterranean cities of the 15th century. L’Almoina took us on a walk underneath Any great Spanish holiday must begin the ground, and back through time. with great food. The ancient Spanish city Then, in a parallel world, step into is a legitimate culinary destination in its Valencia’s city of arts and sciences, with own right. Valencia is home to a futuristic structures including a distinctive regional cuisine that infuses planetarium, an oceanarium and an the legacy of its former Moorish occupiers interactive museum. The innovative area with the fruits of a particularly fertile lies only a short stroll from old world Mediterranean climate. Start your day Valencia. It was originally built with the with a customary Valencian orange juice intention of putting Valencia on the map or indeed finish it off with Agua de and to give the Valencians a slice of the Valencia – a more robust version of Buck’s tourism pie enjoyed by Madrid and Fizz! Awaken your senses in the historical Barcelona. central food market or share a communal The guided cycling tour of Valencia pan of paella for lunch in one of the many came highly recommended by TripAdvisor. quaint plazas. Paella was invented in A cycling tour may sound like an ‘overValencia and this is the place to try the exertion’ on a holiday, and I am authentic version – which, certainly a big advocate for surprisingly, doesn’t the horizontal pool-side Below: contain seafood and is holiday, but believe me a­bridge­over­the only eaten at lunchtime. when I say there is no Jardín­del­Túria Finally, wind down the day better way to deal with the

varying cultural appetites in your party than a time-efficient and allencompassing cycling tour. We hit every nook and cranny Valencia had to offer on the three hour tour whilst earning our rights to carb-load on churros from the street vendor. Although admittedly Valencia is a flat city, exploring it by bicycle was effortless – even for the novice. Most cities have riverbanks to stroll along; Valencia has a whole river. The Jardín del Túria is a unique, 9km-long swathe of greenery through the city. The vast gardens are built on the former riverbed of the Turia, whose course was rediverted to prevent constant flooding in the city. The former riverbed is now a landscaped parkland walk with trees, sculptures and water features, crisscrossed by 18 bridges. Every possible sporting amenity is facilitated within the park from rugby to baseball and everything else in between. The gardens have a fantastic Gulliver Park with a colossal statue of Gulliver to entertain and amuse the little people. As the park dissects the centre of the entire city it is accessible to all the residents. Just imagine a parkland of flora and fauna occupying the river Liffey. No wonder Valencia is considered one of the healthiest cities in the world with a considerably high life expectancy. Maybe it’s time to relocate – for health reasons, obviously! Maeve McCafferty, INTO Official

Valencia ticks all the ‘prime vacation spot’ boxes – a long stretch of beach, year-round sunshine, brimming with culture, beautiful architecture and gastronomic delights



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Reviews educational adventure for senior pupils Bendigo Gold, written by Heather Smith, follows the adventures of 12 year old Emily and her Gran down under following the accidental discovery of a letter saying that Gran has inherited a property called Rainbow’s End in Bendigo, Australia, and Emily a gold nugget. Along the way Emily and her grandmother have to overcome a number of obstacles, including proof of ownership of the property. Will Gran receive her inheritance and will Emily find her nugget of gold at Rainbow’s End? Bendigo Gold is aptly described as “an educational adventure story”. Aimed at senior pupils, this book can be read from start to finish as a novel, but there are numerous themes that can be explored which will add greatly to the enjoyment of the book. There is a comprehensive website that is full of resources and background information. Themes that are explored in the book include Australia’s geography, wildlife, indigenous people, immigration and gold mining traditions. Broader areas for discussion embrace ownership rights, religious and superstitious beliefs. Emily encounters a boy of her own age who has Asperger’s Syndrome and gains some insights into how he views the world. There are various genres of writing in the book: legal, letter, diary, folk tales to name but a few. This is also very much a 21st century work with googling, texting and skyping all encountered. Bendigo Gold is slightly different to other books – a difference that makes it more enjoyable but at the same informative and appealing. ISBN: 978-0-9930914-1-4. Cost: €10 (10 books for €79.99, Amazon or Web: email: reviewed by CIAráN ByrNE, Ballinaclash, Co Wicklow

pan-celtic wonders Una Leavy’s passion for a good story and storytelling is reflected in this wonderful book. It is a collection of ten stories which would have been traditionally told by the Celts. These stories are retold in a warm, humorous and entertaining way. There are stories from Brittany, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, The Isle of Man and Ireland. The stories from Ireland are Conor the Brave and Diarmuid and Gráinne. My personal favourite was The Red Dragon from Wales. Each of these stories should be enjoyed simply for the pure pleasure of listening to or reading a good story. Each story also offers an avenue of learning with regard to the time in which it was set and how people lived. I particularly liked the section at the end of the book entitled ‘About the stories’ which gives some background information on each story. It would be suitable to reading aloud in the classroom or for the class library for children aged 8–12. It is beautifully illustrated by Feargal O’Connor. O’Brien Press. ISBN: 978-1-84717-546-5. Cost: €14.99 (hardback). reviewed by MArION CUMMINS, Scoil Muire, Dunkerrin, Birr, Co Offaly.

between memoir and fiction Room for One More: Memories and Makebelieve is a collection of short stories from author Kathryn Crowley. An innovative approach to structuring this book was taken by Kathryn and sees every second chapter moving between memoirs and fictional pieces. For the reader, this gives an interesting insight into how fiction often emerges from real life experiences during the writing process. Teachers should be happy to see that a number of their favourite topics are addressed in this book, including classroom antics and holidays. Interestingly, a number of the stories at the beginning of this book could actually be used as a classroom resource in primary schools and would enhance children’s understanding of Ireland in the past. However, it is important to be vigilant because the content of the chapters matures as the book progresses and not all of the stories are child-friendly. The stories in this book are funny, heart-warming and poignant in places. It should also be noted that the profits from the sale of this book will help with the fundraising for The Aoife Breary Trust Fund. Aoife is a survivor of the tragic balcony collapse in Berkeley, California and the funds are providing crucial support for her rehabilitation. Emu Ink. ISBN 978 -90968-486-7. Cost: €14.99. reviewed by DUNCAN MCCArTHy, Midleton, Co Cork. INTOUCH


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unputdownable crime drama, thriller and mystery The Truth Will Out is Brian Cleary’s debut novel, but you wouldn’t know it. The author’s skilfully crafted tale of intrigue has more twists and turns than an American election campaign and is a riveting read. A crime drama, thriller and a murder mystery all rolled into one, from the get-go Cleary grabs the reader’s attention and just doesn’t let go. Set in Dublin, the story centres around a pair of childhood friends, Jamie Ryan and Shane Bradley, who find themselves caught up in a maelstrom of unspeakable tragedy. When a close friend of Jamie’s is found sexually assaulted and fighting for her life, Ryan finds himself the chief suspect. Facing a potential murder charge and years behind bars, Ryan needs his best friend Shane more than ever, but when the

girl fighting for her life happens to be Bradley’s first cousin, family loyalties come in to play; is blood thicker than water? The book flits seamlessly between different periods of our protagonist’s life, keeping the reader guessing as to what really happened. The opening chapter is set many years after the assault and attempted murder, but we are quickly transported back in time to examine the events leading up to the night of the crime and the imperfect storm that rages in the aftermath. I must admit, when I started reading The Truth Will Out, I wasn’t expecting much. To be more exact, (if a little cruel) I was anticipating a formulaic, by the numbers crime thriller. I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. Cleary approaches the genre in a novel (pardon the pun) way. Yes I have used the ‘twists and turns’ cliché already, but nothing could be more appropriate. Halfway through devouring

wb yeats – for children

where’s Mipsy?

As a poet, I was thrilled to be asked to review this book for InTouch magazine. The Moon Spun Round is an illustrated collection of William Butler yeats’ poems suitable for children. Many of his best known and well-loved poems are there: The Stolen Child and The Lake Isle of Inisfree, just two examples. As if the poems are not enough, Shona Shirley MacDonald has beautifully illustrated each poem in wonderful, colourful images, which enhance the book further. For any teacher who wants to dip their toe into poetry, this book not only is a very good start but it is probably the best start you could give to a pupil with an accessible introduction to probably Ireland’s greatest poet. O’Brien Press. ISBN 978-184717-738-4. Cost: €19.99 reviewed by SIMON LEWIS, Carlow Educate Together NS. He is also a poet, whose first collection Jewtown, is published by Doire Press.

Let’s See Ireland is Irish illustrator, author and cartoonist Sarah Bowie’s first picture book. The main character Molly embarks on a holiday around Ireland with her parents. Unknown to her, her cat Mipsy stows away in her bag and joins the family as they visit sites including Dublin Zoo, Christchurch Cathedral, Glendalough, Rock of Cashel, Hook Head Lighthouse, Cork English Market, Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, Newgrange, Spanish Arch and the Ring of Kerry. Each destination is featured on a double page of vibrant, engaging illustrations which will captivate children. There are plenty of opportunities for discussion and oral language development on each double page spread. Mipsy is hidden somewhere at each destination for children to locate. Sarah is also a fan of pigeons and my coreviewers had great fun INTOUCH


SePTember 2015

the book I found myself yelping with disbelief as Cleary dropped a plot twist that smashes the reader like a sledgehammer. From there on it was pretty much unputdownable, and gripping to the very end. The book has it all; love, betrayal, crime and corruption, all wrapped up in a mystery that Jessica Fletcher herself would have difficulty solving. On the subject of sleuths, Cleary does veer close to overdoing a cliché with his character Ned Brannigan, a private eye detective straight of a neo-noir crime drama, but Brannigan proves a useful catalyst as the story edges towards an enthralling conclusion. ISBN: 978-1-5376-45391. The book is available in Easons priced at €9.99 and is also available on Amazon and to download on Kindle. It can also be purchased directly from reviewed by JOE O’rEILLy, Ennis, Co Clare

locating and counting the many pigeons to be found within the pages! Inside the back cover there is a recap of all the sites Molly visited with a little extra information on each. This book would be ideal for use as part of a travel/holiday theme in Aistear or incorporated into SESE lessons on Ireland for first and second classes. It would make a lovely gift for young children visiting/moving to Ireland for the first time or a child planning their holiday in Ireland with their parents. O’Brien Press. ISBN 978-1-84717-731-5. Available from for €12.99. reviewed by CArOLINE MCCArTHy, Scoil Mhuire, Corofin, Co Clare.

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CEOL Na NOLLAG Tá aimsir na Nollag ag druidim linn arís agus is cinnte go mbeidh múinteoirí ag lorg acmhainní spreagúla a chabhróidh leo séasúr na Nollag a cheiliúradh sa rang. Seans chomh maith go bhfuil ábhar do cheolchoirm na Nollag de dhíth ar mhúinteoirí. Tá bailiúcháin aoibhinn d’amhráin agus ceol ó thraidisiún na Gaeilge ar fáil a thacóidh le ceiliúradh na Nollag agus le foghlaim na Gaeilge. Amhrán is Fiche don Nollaig Fios Feasa Dlúthdhiosca ceoil idirghníomhach le mórán éagsúlachta ann, amhráin a thagann ón mbéaloideas, cuid a scríobhadh mar dhánta agus cuid eile a scríobhadh mar amhráin. Tá ceachtanna samplacha do na hamhráin ann ag léiriú conas na hamhráin a úsáid sa seomra ranga. I measc na n-amhrán tá Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil, Coinnle na nAingeal, agus Cuireadh do Mhuire. Is féidir na focail a léamh ar scáileán, agus le cuidiú ón liathróidín a bhogann os cionn na bhfocal, is féidir an t-amhrán a chanadh i stíl Karaoke. Carúil Nollag Cló Iar Chonnacht Dosaen amhrán - ina measc In dulci jubilo, An Chéad Noel,

agus Óró a Aoirí – canta go binn ag Cór Chois Fharraige faoi stiúir Aisling Ní Neachtain. Roghnaíodh na carúil as rogha iomann a bhí aistrithe go Gaeilge ag múinteoir bunscoile sa cheantar sa chéad seo caite. Amhráin na Nollag: Favourite Christmas Songs in Irish Cló Iar Chonnacht Bailiúchán de na hamhráin aitheanta Nollag is deise le gach duine agus aistriúcháin nua go Gaeilge ar amhráin mhóra ar nós Jingle Bells agus When a Child is Born. Tá Oíche Chiúin, Rudolf na Sróine Deirge, An Drumadóirín ann, agus togha agus rogha d’amhráin Nollag eile. Úsáid sa Rang

v Éist le hamhrán. Taispeáin focail an amhráin agus léigh leis na páistí iad. Éist leis an amhrán arís ach fág cuid de na focail ar lár an turas seo. Iarr ar na páistí na focail atá ar lár a líonadh isteach. v Léigh focail amhráin Coinnle na nAingeal a bhaineann le nósanna na Nollag. Iarr ar pháistí eolas a bhaineann le traidisiúin ar nós coinnle a lasadh ar na fuinneoga a fhiosrú. Pléigh na nósanna a bhfuil eolas ag na páistí orthu. Iarr INTOUCH


DeCember 2016

Irish for pare


Suíomh nua le hábhar tacaío chta do thuismitheoirí . Cabhair bheo ar fáil do thuismitheoirí le cabhrú leo le hobair bhaile a bpáistí 4pm -6pm Luan- Déardao in. www.irishfor

orthu traidisiúin a bhaineann leis an Nollaig i dtíortha eile a fhiosrú ar an idirlíon. v Bain leas as amhrán chun rialacha gramadaí a iniúchadh. Iarr ar pháistí samplaí d’ainmfhocail, aidiachtaí nó an tuiseal ginideach a aimsiú in amhrán Oíche Nollag, Rudolf na Sróine Deirge, Oíche Chiúin. v Iarr ar pháistí comhrá a chumadh bunaithe ar scéal amhráin Níl Rudolf sásta mar go mbíonn Prancer agus Dancer ag spochadh as toisc srón dearg a bheith aige. Pléigh an tábhacht a bhaineann le cineáltas. v Spreag na páistí le gluaiseacht/damhsa/cóiréagrafaíocht a chur le hamhrán. v Eagraigh tráth na gceist bunaithe ar na hamhráin. Seinn giota d’amhrán agus iarr ar pháistí ainm an amhráin a thomhas, nó iarr ar pháistí uirlisí ceoil in amhrán a aithint. v Iarr ar pháistí rithim le cnaguirlisí a chruthú chun dul le hamhrán ar bith. Curtha le chéile ag MáIrE NIC AN rí faoi choimirce COGG

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Finishing Touches • Resources for teachers, noticeboard of upcoming events and the Comhar Linn Crossword •

Noticeboard Copy date

sidered C0py you wish to have con y/ uar Jan the in for publication uld sho h ouc InT of e issu February y. uar Jan arrive in Head Office by 9 e issu rch Ma The deadline for the e to.i @in tor edi is 6 February. Email

Reunions Froebel College post-graduate class of 1996 Celebrating the 20th anniversary of graduation from Froebel College, Blackrock. Reunion early January 2017, date and venue to be confirmed. For further details email Carysfort Grads Reunion 1977 The first B.Ed graduates from Carysfort College of Education, 1977, will hold a reunion at the Athlone Springs Hotel on 1 April 2017. 1977 grads may contact Athlone Springs directly or may contact

CICE conference and reunion

n of the The Past Students’ Associatio of e leg Church of Ireland Col its annual Education will be holding y, enn Kilk tel Ho conference in , 2017 rch Ma 5 3 m fro y, Kilkenny Cit dents of for all current and past stu CICE and CITC. It will also 35 and incorporate 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, nce fere con s Thi 40 year reunions. ty to uni ort opp at gre will provide a rn lea ybe ma and up relax, catch something new! ase For further information ple m. contact psacice@gma

Tax support for members Register for FREE tax information seminar Thursday, 26 January: Ardilaun Hotel, Galway – 7 p.m. Irish Tax Support is a professional tax advisory and accounting service. The seminar for INTO members will cover topics such as PAYE income, rental income, self-employed income, inheritance/gift tax, 31 October deadline, general tax advice and tax refunds from Revenue. To register your attendance, please email or ring (01) 8047745 and quote your INTO membership number or school roll no.

National Museum of Ireland Plan your school tour by visiting or contact or tel 01 6486453. Resources for teachers are available online at

Teachers A Bullying heglpainst line

The Teachers Ag ainst Bullying helpline aims to help teachers an d principals who have been, or ar e being bullied by member/s of school staff an d/or inspectors and/or BOM. Contact Teresa McMahon at 01 288 3062 (7 p.m . to 9 p.m. Mon day and Wednesday only).

An Post/INTO Handwriting Competition 2017

etition in January 2017. Watch out for the An Post/INTO Handwriting Comp of last year, when ss succe We are back in schools following the huge best handwriting to win their ing enter thousands of pupils took the challenge, wonderful prizes. will be encouraged to take Children of all ages in primary and special schools tives in January and full details part, entry packs will be posted to staff representa on will also be announced on the INTO website and



DeCember 2016

Christmas closure INTO Head Office will close on Friday, 23 December at 5 p.m . and re-open on Tuesday, 3 Jan uary at 9 a.m.

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Nótaí­deiridh Two pages with Comhar Linn prizewinners, Crossword, resources for the classroom … from training courses to helpful hints and useful links


Elaine Linehan Scoil Mhuire na nGras Greenmount, Co Cork Cash – €1,500

Janet Ross Stratford Lodge NS Baltinglass, Co Wicklow Weekends for Two in Jury’s Inn

Selena Nolan St Joseph’s BNS Terenure, Dublin 6 Greta Duggan Terenure, Dublin 6W.

Comhar Linn Crossword no 177 A draw for 2 x €100 will be made from all correct entries. Simply complete the crossword and send it to ‘InTouch Crossword’, INTO, 35 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, before Friday 20th January 2017 1










11 13






18 19 21



20 22






1. Jump­like­a­beer­ingredient.­(3) 3. Fictitious­feline­with­a­cheesy­grin?­(8,3) 8. See­7­down. 9. One­acted­strangely­in­the­story.­(8) 10. No­speed­to­speak­of.­(5) 11. Appears­to­espy­a­manuscript.­(5) 13. Not­DS,­but­ds,­these­unwanted­plants! (5) 15. What­a­teacher­is­likely­to­do­with­this? Correct!­(3,4) 16. The­girl­set­about­providing­some cartilage.­(7) 20. To­disfigure­a­character­would­be frightening.­(5) 21. Four­cardinals­lead­a­novice­to­the­post. (5) 23. Scandinavian­preferred­by­vegetarian cannibals?­(5) 24. The­maverick­might­come­to­an­eager end.­(8) 25. Drink­needed­to­provide­some­exciting rap,­patently.­(6) 26. Grain­one­might­wear­a­string­of?­(5,6) 27. The­oriental­pan­is­found­in­the­west,­all right.­(3)

1. Compound­such­as­methane,­obtained by­upsetting­a­hardy­bronco.­(11) 2. Got­ready,­having­already­put­a­point on­the­pencil.­(8) 3. One­may­give­credit­to­a­single­hag.­(5) 4. The­plane­is­diverted­by­a­dog.­(7) 5. When­these­form­in­rugby,­a­mongrel turns­up­near­the­outskirts­of­Kells.­(5) 6. The­wardrobe­is­nearby,­beside­the junction.­(6) 7,­8a­&­13d.­Did­this­historic­meeting recommend­eating­only­what­early birds­get?­(3,4,1,4) 12. One­who­is­high­up­in­his­profession!­(11) 13. See­7­down. 14. Certainly,­missing­the­point­would make­one­sullen.­(5) 17. Sit­down­when­you­rob­furniture­from­a church.­(4,1,3) 18. A­serum's­concocted­for­one­with healing­hands.­(7) 19. The­right­movie­fish­to­identify­an African­country!­(6) 22. A­novice­-­for­example,­Capone­-­is lawful.­(5) 23. Wander­with­Saint­Raymond.­(5) 24. Tear­letters­from­a­headstone.­(3)

Crossword Bumper Solutions and winners will be announced in the next InTouch issue due to print deadlines preceding crossword deadlines.

Winners of Crossword no. 175 are Geraldine Greene, Ennis, Co. Clare and Edel Mannion Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

NAme: ADDreSS:



DeCember 2016

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The­most­popular­Christmas­resources from­last­year

Get­involved­in­Engineers­Week Engineers Week 2017 will run from 4 to 10 March, with the theme ‘Engineering our Future’. The Engineers Ireland STEPS programme encourages primary and post-primary students to explore the world of STEM while also promoting engineering as a career choice. For more information visit, contact or ring 01 6651340.

SCOIL CHAITríONA, rENMOrE A school website with an impressive design – differentiating between juniors and seniors.


‘Life in space’ wins video competition for Gaelscoil Riabhach Congratulations to Gaelscoil Riabhach from Loughrea, Co Galway who were the winners, at primary level, of the 2016 ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition. For their video about ‘Life in Space’, fourth class students interviewed NASA astronaut Ron Garan about his experiences aboard the International Space Station. Other prize winners at primary level were Coldwood NS, Craughwell, Co Galway and Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra, Dublin 7. Well done to all. Videos can be viewed at

SEESAW Free platform to document what students are learning each day KAHO0T – QUIzzES­ Free interactive online game programme that enhances student engagement. It is usually played in group settings. ArTS IN EDUCATION Bringing artists and schools together.

Fourth­class­pupils­from­Gaelscoil­Riabhach INTOUCH


DeCember 2016


CHrISTMAS THEMEPAGE celebrations-seasons/christmas Scoilnet’s collection of Christmas classroom resources.


TOP MArKS CHrISTMAS Excellent sections of Christmas customs and lots of class activities too.


AN NOLLAIG – CárTAí IMEArTHA (PDF) cards_an_nollaig.pdf Printable matching cards covering vocabulary associated with Christmas.


CHrISTMAS ArOUND THE WOrLD Collection of notes on 30 different countries from Australia to Wales.


CHrISTMAS TrADITIONS Looks at the diversity of Christian traditions around the world.


MEAITSEáIL: NOLLAIG Matching exercise based on vocabulary.


JESUS’ CHrISTMAS PArTy Short funny script for a nativity play.


THE CHrISTMAS STOry story.shtml The story of Jesus’ birth written in easy-to-read style.


AN NOLLAIG – CárTAí TAISPEáNTAIS cards_an_nollaig.pdf Cártaí taispeántais le pictiúir a bhaineann le seasúr na Nollag.

10 SANTA’S SING-A-LONG CHrISTMAS CArOLS Includes lyrics and music

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InTouch December 2016  

InTouch December 2016