I S S U E 27 • J U N E 2 0 0 5
Inside Diary of meetings ...............................2 IPPN Bursary............................................2 Reviewing In-School Management ..........................................3 NCCA Primary Curriculum Review ............................4 New IPPN website .............................7 Recruiting Special Needs Assistants .............................................8 The Inspectorate and Whole School Evaluation.............9 Dealing with Bullying Behaviour ...........................10 Legal Diary .............................................12 ICP Online...............................................14 Life .................................................................15 Paradox of Our Time .....................15
“Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children” Dan Quayle
The opinions expressed in Leadership+ do not necessarily reflect the official policy or views of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network
ISSN: 1649 -5888 Irish Primary Principals’ Network Glounthaune, Co Cork President: Virginia O’Mahony email@example.com Director: Seán Cottrell firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Larry Fleming email@example.com Advertising: Damian White firstname.lastname@example.org e: email@example.com l: 1890 21 22 23 t: 353 21 452 4925 f: 353 21 435 5648 w: www.ippn.ie Design and print: Brosna Press 090 6454327 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Importance of Self-Care Throughout this year you have given considerably time and energy and much of your personal resources to the care of the children and staff in your school. It is an undeniable fact that in fulfilling a role where one is frequently supporting, caring and ‘looking after’ others, such a role is unsustainable if one does not ‘ look after’ oneself. It must be said that you as principal, will be of little use to those whom you are leading and caring for if the course of your work neglect to care for yourself.
Approaching the end of the school year involves much anticipation of the enjoyment of a summer break, but not before the multiplicity of deadlines and pressure points which one would normally associate with something traumatic like moving house. Why is the end of an academic year so stressful for teachers and principals? Is it absolutely essential that all school business is wedged into a common deadline? What other line of business arranges recruitment, stock taking,
Importance of Self-Care
Diary of meetings held by IPPN on behalf of Principals
(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1)
financial year end, refurbishment, professional reporting and administrative deadlines, all to happen at more or less the same time – when everyone is on official holidays! Needless to say, you as Principal, cannot fully walk away from school on June 30th – not at least if you intend being ready to reopen on September 1st. Factors beyond your control relating to SEN staffing, disadvantage resources, NEWB reporting, Summer Work Scheme, building programme, and the recruitment of temporary and permanent staff, could easily wipe out any hope of a summer holiday if one were not careful. The main risk arises from the frenetic pace of school life in the last fortnight of June. You as Principals are constantly responding to everyone else’s needs based on their desire for ‘closure’ by June 30th. In order to effectively address these needs, you are postponing many of your own tasks which inevitably back-up and remain on your list until July 1st. That’s when you get the combined feelings of relief – the pressure valve has been released, then the feeling of frustration in knowing that you have so much to do and you are more or less alone in both knowing what needs doing and getting it done.
MAY 2005 Three professional development workshops facilitated by Michael Fullan in Cork, Galway and Dublin. Briefing session with Minister’s advisors on current issues for Primary Principals. IPPN meeting with Paddy Flood, National Co-ordinator LDS, concerning professional development for Principals 2005/2006. Evaluation meeting of IPPN / LDS / Cork Education Support Centre Pilot Project on Leadership Programme for existing Principals in Mallow and Cork City. Meeting in Athlone with Paul Kennedy, Principal Officer, Special Education Section, DES concerning the General Allocation Model of resource allocation for SEN. Meeting of IPPN Executive in Portlaoise. Launch in Dublin of the "Evaluation of the LDS Misneach Programme" for newly appointed Principals. Meeting between IPPN and CPSMA in Dublin. Presentation by Helen O’Sullivan and Marie Dunphy, IPPN New Zealand Bursary recipients, of their report to both sponsors Allianz and DES. Launch in Dublin of OECD report on ‘Recruiting and retaining effective teachers’.
JUNE 2005 IPPN meeting in Cork with Geoff Lovegrove, Past President of the New Zealand. Principals’ Federation, on a current study visit to Ireland. Meeting between IPPN and NEWB in Dublin. Meeting between IPPN and SDPS in Dublin. Meeting of IPPN National Committee in Kildare Education Centre. Meeting of the Working Group on Principals’ Workload and In School Management in Athlone. Meeting of IPPN Executive in Portlaoise.
IPPN Bursary for New Zealand Study visit
Alternatively, you may decide to be proactive and strategically manage the workload rather than it dominating your summer. If you wish to stay in charge in the proactive sense, take a look at the ’10 SelfCare Commandments for Principals’ on the front page. Bíodh samhradh iontach agat. Is mise le meas Seán Cottrell
L-R Michael Nolan, Managing Director, Allianz; Helen O'Sullivan, Bursary Awardee; Virginia O'Mahony, IPPN President; Brigid McManus, Secretary General DES; Seán Cottrell, IPPN Director; Marie Dunphy, Bursary Awardee.
Ms. Helen O’Sullivan and Ms. Marie Dunphy, the 2004 recipients of the IPPN study visit bursaries, recently presented the sponsors Mr. Michael Nolan of Allianz and Ms. Brigid McManus, Secretary General of the DES with copies of the final report of their study visit to New Zealand. Both Helen and Marie made a presentation of their findings and experiences of the New Zealand model of school leadership to senior Allianz executives and senior officials of the DES. Gratitude was expressed by IPPN, to both Allianz and the DES who sponsor these bursaries, for affording Principals the opportunity to look beyond our own shores and to benefit from a wider international experience. PAGE 2
Reviewing In-School Management It is true to say that In-School Management structures have failed to reach the potential envisaged initially. For In-School Management to be effective, structures must be flexible and should not be independent of each other. It is good school policy to have a review of In-School Management at least once yearly, to cater for the changing circumstances in each and every school.
Duties Attached to Posts Before initiating a review of duties, Principals should consult DES circular 07/03. This circular outlines the opportunities for teachers to assume responsibility in the school for: Curricular development Administrative development Staff management Pastoral work Academic development Instructional leadership It would be recommended that the Principal, in consultation with the Deputy Principal, should prepare a discussion document, focusing on the needs of the school. This would be a draft document, open to further submissions, which offers the staff a basis for discussion. The discussion document should take account of Ongoing change and development within the school Maintenance and Development Needs i.e. school planning, education and policy development Enhanced training needs There must be a clear job description for each post in the Schedule which should involve as
far as is practicable, leadership and management dimensions, professional and personal development, responsibility for managing staff and pupils and working with outside agencies.
Reviewing the Schedule of Duties The Board of Management should be advised of the proposed review of the Schedule of Duties. The duties already assigned to post holders should be known to staff and Board of Management. The review should also be clearly linked to the changing needs of the school, the revised curriculum and other factors such as a developing school, increased ancillary staff e.g. Special Needs.
The entire staff should be invited to make submissions in relation to the revision of the schedule of duties. A final discussion document can then be prepared from the submissions and a format for the review can be agreed with the I.S.M team. Each post holder should be made aware of the nature and extent of the review. If there is no staff agreement on what the Principal/Deputy Principal considers to be a meaningful and relevant Schedule to address the central needs of the school, the Principal should brief the B.O.M accordingly. The Board can then set up procedures to try and achieve a consensus on the duties to be included in the Schedule. Final decisions in relation to duties to be included in the Schedule, rests with the Board.
should have a clear perception of what he/she wants to achieve at the review. This perception could centre around Enhancing motivation Specifying duties Negotiating changes to duties Negotiating interchange between Post Holders Enhancing the teaching and learning process Establishing procedures for accountability, planning and reporting
The Review Meeting The Principal should be well prepared for the Review Meeting, which ideally should be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere at an agreed location – not necessarily in the school. Minutes of the meeting should be recorded. Be fully aware of the duties of each Post Holder and affirm past good practice. Offer each Post Holder the chance to outline aspects of the post they feel the have done well and give positive feedback when appropriate. Outline any proposals relating to a change of duties and if necessary identify changes needed to ensure a more effective contribution to In-School Management. Finally, be prepared to offer assistance in the area of training or budgets to individual Post Holders. When the review has been completed, it is prudent to write up a record of the meeting and give a copy to each Post Holder. This will help to reduce the scope for disagreement at future meetings.
Carrying out a Review
It is advisable to allow some weeks/months to elapse between the notification of a review and the actuality, to allow Post Holders to become more focused on the scheduled duties. Informal discussions with the I.S.M team in the intervening period can also be extremely beneficial. Above all, the Principal
Department Circulars 16/73 and 7/03 Looking at our School DES 2003 50 School Reports What Inspectors Say – DES 2002 In-School Management a Critical Review IPPN 2003 Chief Inspectors Report 2001–2004 DES 2005
NCCA Primary Cu When the Primary School Curriculum was launched in 1998, one correspondent described the launch in Dublin Castle as euphoric in her Irish Times article, ‘Primary Curriculum: Time for a change’. Speaking at the launch, Professor Coolahan remarked, if we bring it off, we will have achieved a great landmark. How did we do? We asked children in our case study schools what they most liked about school. Their voices speak for themselves:
In this article, Dr. Sarah FitzPatrick, Deputy Chief Executive of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), presents findings from interviews with Principals involved in the NCCA’s
When we learned about the Celts. When we did football. When we did live projects about the people, all the differences. The projects about the Greeks and the Greek Gods and how they lived. The experiments we did together. The songs we did and the bands and artists. Maths. Our teacher loves it so we like it too! Big, long books – like Harry Potter! Art. I love art. I really love art.
Primary Curriculum Review during the 2003/2004 school year. As part of this first phase of review, the NCCA interviewed children, Principals, parents and teachers in
The NCCA’s full report on the first phase of Primary Curriculum Review (on our website) includes detailed findings on the three subjects which were the focus of this review: English, Visual Arts and Mathematics. Here, I present some of the general findings from interviews with Principals in 6 case study schools.
6 case study schools and gathered responses to an 18-page questionnaire from 719 teachers including Teaching Principals. Further information (including the full report) is available on the NCCA’s website at: www.ncca.ie or by emailing Sarah at: email@example.com.
ROLE OF THE PRINCIPAL IN LEADING CURRICULUM CHANGE Principals in the six case study schools described their role as critical to the process of curriculum change. Principals most frequently referred to themselves as leaders and supporters of staff, facilitating engagement with the Primary School Curriculum. One Principal explained, I see my role in leading and supporting teachers in curriculum implementation. I assist teachers in whatever way I can. Another Principal added, I would see myself as a facilitator of curriculum implementation, developing a positive attitude towards it. Teacher empowerment through staff collaboration was reported by Principals as essential to effective curriculum implementation: Staff collaboration is very important. If teachers are involved in planning and they see a role for it, if they see the child at the centre and they see that this [curriculum] is educating the child for the future, they are more likely to implement the decisions that are taken.
Principals also described their role as learners in collaboration with members of the support services.
ASSESSMENT IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS Principals in four schools reported that they were in the initial stages of developing a school policy for assessment. All six principals reported that teachers in their schools used assessment on a daily basis to inform teaching and learning, and less frequently to show what children have learned. Of these two purposes of assessment: assessment of learning and assessment for learning, all principals stressed the importance of the latter. Teacher observation was reported as the type of assessment most frequently used in the six Principals’ schools. Táim ag déanamh measúnú ar na páistí gach neomat den lá. Tá cuntas ar bhreathnú an mhúinteora agus is dóigh liom gub é an foinse is mó tábhacht ar eolas measúnaithe é. (We’re assessing the children every minute of the day. Teacher observation is given in the curriculum and I think it’s the most important source of assessment information.) Principals reported teachers’ use of oral and written tests in English and Mathematics on a regular basis (e.g., spelling tests, maths tests) and teacher-designed tests at the end of the school term/year. Principals also reported using diagnostic tests to support learning for children with special educational needs. All six Principals reported using standardised tests to assess, record and report children’s achievement. Five principals reported using standardised tests in English and two in Mathematics. Principals in the two Irishmedium schools outlined the particular challenges faced by schools where Irish is the medium of instruction, fadhb mhór dúinn is ea an measúnú. Níl aon trailacha caighdeánaithe trí Ghaeilge don mhatamaitic. (Assessment is a big problem for us. There are no standardised tests available through Irish for mathematics.) All Principals noted that they would benefit from more detailed advice on gathering, interpreting, recording and reporting information about children’s progress in the primary school.
urriculum Review INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS AND BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT There are varying degrees to which schools reported success with different strategies to involve parents in their children’s learning. While the Principal of one school reported having, an open door policy and parents do come in and sometimes they have a look at the art activities in the classroom, another Principal explained that despite having open nights and facilitating meetings with parents, we do find it difficult to get parents involved. In general, Principals reported the particular challenge of reaching out to all parents. Principals spoke positively about the school activities organised by the Parents Association but noted that these do not always attract parents who represent the diversity of the student body. The Parents Association is often populated by conscientious parents, as opposed to those parents that you would want to communicate more with. They don’t always represent all of the children in the school. Principals’ descriptions of the involvement of the school Board of Management focused on the financial and structural aspects of running the school. All Principals reported that the Board of Management was unlikely to be involved in making key decisions about teaching and learning within the school. As one Principal explained, our Board of Management just likes to be informed at the Board of Management meeting and they like to attend if something is organised. They feel that the curriculum is not their role.
CURRICULUM CHALLENGES Five of the six principals interviewed reported insufficient time for implementing the curriculum as their greatest challenge. Principals reported not having enough time for their workload, for staff leadership and for consolidation and review of change. One Principal explained, there wouldn’t be enough hours in 24 to do everything that every tutor [at inservice] quite correctly points out that you should be doing. Principals expressed concerns regarding the lack of time to facilitate communication, collaboration and planning among teachers, e.g. the challenge that the lack of time presents in trying to collaborate with the teachers and develop
the same methodology and approaches throughout the school. Principals also reported time for consolidation and review of progress as a key challenge, time to consolidate, definitely, we find that a pressure…time to write…time to evaluate and assess. Five Principals also reported insufficient resources as a key challenge to curriculum implementation, particularly in schools where Irish was the medium of instruction. Further challenges identified by principals included planning for English and supporting parental involvement.
CURRICULUM PRIORITIES Principals in five of the six schools reported that meeting the language and literacy needs of children in their school was their top priority. One Principal explained that almost 25% of the student population in her school (which represented diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds) experienced significant difficulties with language. Another principal noted, [we have children] from Russia, Moldova, Kosovo, Brazil, Nigeria... To meet the needs of children who have English as an additional language, Principals explained that they would prioritise developing closer links with parents and emphasising a great focus on language development in every classroom. In supporting children’s language and literacy development, principals focused on making greater efforts towards prevention of learning difficulties. As one Principal explained, if literacy interventions are taken early in the child’s education the benefits will be reaped later as the child is enabled to engage positively with the curriculum. A further priority mentioned by Principals focused on accessing the services of the Education Welfare Officer in tackling poor school attendance.
WHERE TO FROM HERE? The Primary Curriculum Review findings from Principals, parents, teachers and children suggest four priority areas of work for the NCCA as follows: We are working on additional support material for planning and teaching with the English Curriculum which uses the existing strand units (oral language,
reading and writing) to present the English curriculum. We will have this teacherfriendly material in schools as close as possible to the start of the next school year. Do you remember the booklet, ‘Your Child’s Learning’ which the NCCA published in 2000 to provide an introduction to the Primary School Curriculum for parents? We plan to continue this work by providing additional information for parents of different languages – this time using a DVD. In response to requests for further advice on assessment in the curriculum, we will provide practical and helpful information for Principals and teachers on how to plan for, use and develop a range of assessment tools in the Primary School Curriculum. We’ll also examine the potential of examples of student work for each level of the curriculum to support classroom assessments. The NCCA will also work with the support services to develop targeted supports on methods of teaching and learning for teachers and Principals. This will include advice on differentiating learning for children with different learning needs which will help alleviate the pressures of time associated with planning and teaching in multiclass settings. And this is just for starters! But we know we’re on the right track, thanks to the many children, parents, Principals and teachers who participated in this first phase of Primary Curriculum Review. We especially thank the teachers who completed the questionnaire on their curriculum experiences and the school Principals who opened their schools and their professional lives to us during the 2003/2004 school year. Teachers and principals gave generously of their time, despite reporting lack of time as one of their greatest challenges. So, reader, before finishing this article take time to celebrate and congratulate yourself because an exciting and challenging curriculum is well on its way to full implementation.
www.text-a-sub.ie A Leadership Development Pilot Project for existing Principals took place in Mallow, Cork City, in January–April 2005. The Pilot, supported by the Teacher Education Section of the DES, was a three way partnership between Cork Education Support Centre, Leadership Development for School and the Irish Primary Principals’ Network. At the concluding session, James Mulcahy, Director, Cork Education Support Centre, presented a copy of the resource pack assembled for participants to Paddy Flood, National Co-ordinator, LDS and Seán Cottrell, IPPN.
high quality website for your needs, your feedback is essential as it enables us to continuously improve the websites design and functionality. Please send your comments using the feedback form in the Contact Us section at the top right of the home page.
Your ippn.ie IPPN’s new website is a new departure in our strategy to build and sustain a strong network for the leaders of 3,300 Primary Schools. Phase 1 of the development work is now completed, and includes a number of additional communication features eg. a professional query line, a topic-specific discussion forum as well as the immensely popular firstname.lastname@example.org. The new site is designed to be more userfriendly, with a colour-coded and strongly intuitive navigation system. The home page features all the key information required by you and is intended to eliminate the need to regularly search other sites. ‘Your ippn.ie’ will in effect become a one-stop-shop for all your information needs. In order to design a
The fastest way to find a substitute teacher for your school. Simply log on and upload the contact details of the school, the nature of the vacant class and the minimum duration for which the sub is required. This information is then automatically sent by text message to all substitute teachers who have registered their mobile phone numbers with www.text-a-sub.ie
Supporting NewlyAppointed Principals
Hundreds of teachers, in all counties, registered to receive text-a-sub notifications
If you are a newly-appointed Principal or if a new Principal is about to be appointed to your school, kindly let us know the name of the new Principal and his / her contact details. In collaboration with LDS, IPPN offers a mentoring service for new Principals. This support is most useful in the first weeks and months, hence the request for information re new appointments as soon as possible. Please send details to email@example.com or 1890 21 22 23.
Only the substitute teachers that are available will receive your text message. The Principal / DP can offer a school, home or mobile number to receive a call from subs The Principal / DP then chooses from the most suitably experienced / qualified teachers that reply. This service is totally free!
Retirement Congratulations and good wishes to those Principals and Deputy Principals retiring this summer. Following requests over the last 2 years, IPPN has created a category of ‘associate membership’ for retired members at a reduced fee – 25% of regular amount. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1890 21 22 23 if you would like to continue to receive copies of Leadership+. PAGE 7
“I took a speed reading course and read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes. It’s about Russia.” Woody Allen
P R O F E S S I O N A L
G U I D A N C E
Recruiting Special Needs Assistants The number of Special Needs Assistants in our schools has ballooned to over 6,000 in the last few years. The majority of these SNAs are employed to cater for pupils with special care needs as a result of a disability. Application for SNA A school should apply for a Special Needs Assistant through the local SENO. An application should be made when a pupil has a significant medical or care need, or a physical impairment. An application can also be made when a child’s behaviour poses a serious risk, either to themselves or to other children. When the school is preparing an application, it must submit supporting reports from the relevant care professionals detailing the level of need / care and the likely benefits to be derived from additional support.
Advertising The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through the local SENO has streamlined the process for sanctioning SNA’S in recent months. When an appointment has been sanctioned the Board of Management must advertise the post in a local newspaper. The advertisement should include The name and address of the school The status of the post – full or part time Commencement date A request for Curriculum vitae and references
The latest date for receipt of applications A brief outline of the duties involved may also be included in the advertisement. The advertisement must also not indicate any intention to discriminate.
Selection Board and Interview Process The Selection Board should consist of the Chairperson of the Board, the Principal of the school and another independent person nominated by the Board. There should be gender balance on the selection Board. Following the closing date for receipt of applications the Selection Board should meet within a reasonable timeframe and draw up, in writing, the criteria for assessment of applications, having regard for the appropriate legislation. The Selection Board may decide to short list candidates. A minimum of three eligible candidates must be called. If less than three apply, all the eligible applicants must be called. The criteria for interview should accompany the call to interview and could include qualifications, performance at interview, suitability and competence etc.
Interviewing and Appointing The interview generally should go through a number of stages and be of 20 to 25 minutes duration approximately. These stages could include opening remarks and questions, relevant experience, training, working with a team or in isolation, questions from the applicant and a closing session. The agreed criteria must be kept to at all stages and a record of the criteria and scoring must be retained on file. Discriminatory questions must be avoided and the Code of Practice of the Equality Authority must be adhered to *having thoroughly checked references. The Selection Board will send a written report to the B.O.M nominating the most suitable candidate*. The Management Board will then meet and appoint the nominated candidate. The Board should retain a list of the candidates deemed suitable for appointment and form a panel effective for one school year in the event of future vacancies.
Possible questions for Interview of SNA Candidates Background Knowledge Tell us about yourself – your previous work experience etc… How did you become interested in the whole area of Special Needs?
Experience Tell us about your experience with children with Special Needs. What have you found the most difficult aspect of this area of teaching? Have you previously worked specifically with one child, with groups or were you assigned to a child but with flexibility to assist others? What are the skills you have found most helpful to you? Have any of the children with Special Needs with whom you have worked required assistance with assistive Technology i.e. computers with assistive software?
How have you found working in a classroom with a teacher? Have you ever experienced or could you imagine any difficulties which could arise? Have you worked in a school with other SNA’S before? If so – how has that worked out in your experience> If the Child with Special Needs requires assistance with the administration of medicine for with toileting needs, are you prepared to assist them with these situations? What do you consider to be the most important issues when dealing with a child who has Special Needs?
Working with Others Working in a school requires a great amount of trust and collegiality with fellow staff members and students. Confidentiality is very important.
Can you see the importance of trust and confidentiality in schools and the danger involved if some ones private information was discussed in public? Are you happy to assist the child during break times and at other times during the working day when the Principal or class teachers require assistance with other matters such as organising displays, tidying presses etc.
The successful candidate must present a certificate of medical fitness and a certificate of Garda Clearance. Applicants should only be employed on a provisional basis pending the outcome of this clearing process. ( Sample forms in relation to the above can be found in the Board of Management Members Hand book).
P R O F E S S I O N A L
G U I D A N C E
The Inspectorate and Whole School Evaluation The Inspectorate currently has a total compliment of 150 Primary and Post-Primary inspectors advising schools on educational provision and supporting policy development. New agencies such as the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) have enabled the inspectorate, to place a major emphasis on service delivery in the core area of evaluation. In recent times Whole School Evaluation has become part of this process.
Releasing the Beast Whole School Evaluation was unleashed on Primary Schools in 2004. In many respects, it can be seen as an extension of the Tuairisc Scoile in that the focus is on teaching and learning and direct engagement with pupils and teachers. It is a consultative process in that it enables Teachers, Principals, In-School Management, Board Members and Parents to contribute to the further development of the school. The broad framework of W.S.E encompasses 5 main areas â€“ the quality of management, planning, curriculum provision, teaching and learning and support for pupils. The leadership role of the Principal is central throughout the W.S.E process. This includes Inspiring and empowering the staff to engage in constructive internal review Empowering a professional In-School Management team to promote quality assurance Creating a professional atmosphere within the school Providing the leadership necessary to engage Staff, Board members, and Pharents in providing a dynamic school environment as a catalyst for further growth.
Sustaining Progress The W.S.E process aims towards being a constructive support to continued professionalism in our schools. It sets out to acknowledge the uniqueness of each school, to affirm good practice in teaching and learning, to provide fair judgement on the work of the school and to make pragmatic suggestions for action planning into the future. The process
also allows for advice on access to expertise from the Curriculum Support Services and School Development Planning. It also strives to be respectful and sensitive in its feed back to individual teachers.
W.S.E Process â€“ A Brief Overview The following overview is a follow-on from the article on W.S.E in the January issue of Leadership+ W.S.E places greater emphasis on team inspection The report is factually validated with the Principal There is a greater focus on documentation for recording evidence While the Principal is not permitted to be present at the meeting with the Parents Association Representatives, there can be no discussion on the individual work of teachers.
reviewed. Teachers are afforded the opportunity to discuss areas of concern with the Inspection team, and feed back is given. In-School Management comes in for particular scrutiny. The evaluation team focus on Post holders involvement in decision making The effectiveness of the duties assigned The extent to which a partnership approach is fostered How the school engages in self review The quality of partnership with parents
Post Inspection Following the W.S.E, the inspection team meets with the teaching staff for an in-depth review of the process. A meeting is also held with the B.O.M where outcomes and areas of development are discussed and recorded.
The Report At the outset of the procedure, the Reporting Inspector contacts the Principal and dates of meetings are arranged. A "Foirm Eolais" is completed by the Principal and subsequent meetings ensue with Board of Management, Staff, Parents Association and the In-School Management team. The meetings with the Board of Management are central to the entire process. The Board is invited to raise issues for inclusion on the agenda. The Evaluation team concentrates on issues such as the quality of Management and planning in the school, parental involvement in the planning process, special education supports for pupils, curriculum implementation and extra-curricular activities. The meeting with the Parents Association allows the inspectorate to explain the entire process to the parent representatives. The documentation required from the Principal includes Curricular and organisational policies Standardised Test Records Monthly Progress Report Book Schedules of the responsibilities of the In-School Management team Approximately 2.5 hours is spent in each classroom. All aspects of the teachers work is
Normally the W.S.E report issues within 4 weeks. A comprehensive evaluation is given on the following areas 1. Quality of School Management In-School Management Management of Resources Spirit of the School 2. Quality of School Planning The School Plan and its implementation 3. Quality of Curriculum Provision Curriculum planning and organisation Extra Curricular Provision 4. Quality of Learning and Teaching Planning and preparation Teaching and learning Language/Maths All the curriculum areas are reported on in great detail within a whole school context. 5. Quality of Supports for Pupils Special Needs and Learning Support Note: Section 13 of the Education Act 1998 allows for a school to request a review if the Board is of the opinion that the school is "adversely affected" by the findings of the W.S.E.
In the typical school, be it urban or rural, there will always be teasing, name calling, mimicking and slagging. Sadly, when these practices get out of hand, the effects can be devastating for the person affected and the usual excuse “we were only messing” needs to be challenged. Such behaviour becomes bullying when the same people are constantly on the receiving end of persistent negative attention against their wishes.
to be placed on creating an atmosphere where it is safe to speak out.
Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others (D.E.S Guidelines 1993)
The vast majority of pupils in schools nationwide are unaffected by bullying behaviour. However, it must be remembered that the greatest percentage of bullying in schools is verbal, so that physical evidence is often non existent. The victim may also build a barrier to keep the bully out, and in doing so, may keep everybody else out as well, especially those in a position to intervene. It is also very difficult to prove that certain incidences of bullying are taking place so the emphasis needs
The challenge for today’s Principal is to put in place a policy that works towards preventing bullying behaviour rather than responding to it. Whilst acknowledging that bullying behaviour will never be eradicated, the aim must be to reduce the incidence to the lowest level possible. As bullying is a secret and generally covert activity and often extremely difficult to detect, communication between the home and the school is of the utmost importance.
Dealing with Bullying/Harassment The first thing to do is to assure the child that the problem lies with the bully and not with them. Keep a written record of the incidents with dates, times, people involved and other relevant details. The factor that can be altered most immediately in schools is the atmosphere. As Principals we must endeavour to provide the climate in which individuals and groups gain the confidence and learn the strategies to deal with bullying behaviour as well as the determination to report it. The Principal must Treat all staff/children with respect
The normally happy child begins losing interest and enthusiasm resulting in a deterioration in achievement in school Unwillingness to attend school accompanied by increased anxiety and temper tantrums particularly before the restart of school or after a long weekend / holidays Frequent minor illnesses such as aches, pains, and difficulty in sleeping / nightmares / bedwetting Unexplained cuts, bruising or marks PAGE 10
Take seriously all allegations of bullying/ harassment Manage with fairness and integrity Ensure the health and safety of staff/children In doing so, a positive anti-bullying atmosphere is created in the school. Children should always be listened to so that they will gain the confidence to report incidents. The school and home must strive to build up the child’s self-esteem through encouragement and praise as the child with high self-esteem is unlikely to be the victim of long-term bullying.
Profile of the Bully Enhancing the pupils self worth The typical bully does not have empathy or compassion and rarely shows remorse. Generally, children bully because of some serious inadequacy in their home lives. In many cases they are exposed to aggressive behaviour in the home or have parents who are frequently in denial. Typical tactics used by the bully include isolation and exclusion, taunting, misrepresenting, destroying relationships or reputations, spreading rumours, stalking, physical aggression, damaging property and terrorising. These actions have a devastating effect on the victim, resulting in withdrawal, a lowering of selfesteem, depression, total loss of confidence, self doubt, personality change, anger and helplessness. Bullied children never forget but can recover well with affirmation, support and love. The victim rarely wants revenge. Instead, they just want the incidences of bullying to stop so that they can get on with their lives in peace.
As for the bully, finding an alternative way of behaving is crucial to reducing or eliminating bullying behaviour. Prevention Strategies Bullying can be prevented by raising awareness within the school community of the detrimental effects of bullying, and a climate of whole school intolerance should be fostered. This can be done through having A workable anti-bullying Policy. (Note: A sample policy can be downloaded and adapted from the Resources Section of the IPPN website). Clear procedures for dealing with bullying A charter for a positive school environment Some pro-active preventative procedures could include watching for personality changes, taking complaints seriously, showing fairness and respect to all the children, reducing instances of name calling, exclusion, isolation, teasing etc. Reviewing policies and procedures regularly is vital for success. Other proactive approaches which could be used are Using aspects of the curriculum to raise awareness of the inappropriateness of bullying
Sending information leaflets on bullying behaviour to parents
Pupils should be made aware of the consequences of engaging in bullying and the associated sanctions right up to suspension. Parents should be made aware that the school has an anti-bullying policy and that written records of incidents are kept on file. Parents should be encouraged to make contact with the school and allow the school the opportunity to investigate incidents of bullying fully and professionally. It should be impressed on parents not to encourage children to retaliate.
Dealing with an Incident When an incident occurs, the teacher should Speak to the bully/bullies separately. Speaking to a witness can also be useful. Those involved should be asked to write an account of what happened. Avoid personal criticism or over hasty judgements
www.text-a-parent.ie Would you like to be able to send a brief message to the parent in your school at short notice? Unpredictable events e.g. enforced school closure no heating etc Last minute timetable change e.g. cancellation of sports day Timetable change e.g. a reminder of early closing for staff meeting Happy announcement e.g. victory in sports final For large schools – reminding staff about a particular event.
How can I use text-a-parent to send messages to the parents in our school?
If the incident is serious, it should be recorded on the bullying incident form and the Principal made aware of the incident
Arrange for the collection of the parents’ mobile telephone numbers
The Principal should contact the parents if deemed necessary
Register your contact details
The victim should be supported and encouraged to report future incidents The bully should be spoken to and told that such behaviour is not tolerated in the schools Anti-Bullying Policy The victim should be kept informed of developments and likely future action. It may be necessary to contact the victim's parents informed also as deemed appropriate. Teachers should talk to colleagues in particularly sensitive situations and adopt a team approach. Remember – listen more than talk. Keep in mind the motto ‘Treat others as you would like them to treat you’
Stressing to students the importance of reporting incidents of bullying
Log on to www.text-a-parent.ie
Send cheque to IPPN to purchase "credit" for the cost of the text messages When your cheque is received, a text message will be sent to you informing that your account has been set up and is ready for use Follow the on-screen instructions which enables you to type your short message and specify the mobile telephone numbers to which the message will be sent
“The teacher should never lose his temper in the presence of the class. If a man, he may take refuge in profane soliloquies; if a woman, she may follow the example of one sweet-faced tranquil girl– go out and gnaw on a post.” William Lyon Phelps
Primary Principal wins Supreme Court Appeal in landmark ruling on the publication of school inspection reports Barney Sheedy (Appellant) V The Information Commissioner (Respondent) and The Minister for Education & Science (First Notice Party) and The Irish Times (Second Notice Party) MAY 2005
THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
A Tuairisc Scoile was carried out on March 30th 2001 at Scoil Choilm, Armagh Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12. The report was produced in July 2001. It was noted in the courts that the school performed very well and highly impressed the DES. However the Principal was of the view that he and the staff co-operated with the DES on the basis of confidentiality and on the assumption that the content of the report compiled would not be made public.
Following on the refusal of the DES to publish the inspection reports, the Irish Times appealed the refusal to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner held in favour of the Irish Times. He considered that comments in the reports were of such a general nature that no meaningful comparison could be drawn between schools. He rejected the idea that information was given in confidence as the reports were the inspectors’ own opinions and observations during the course of visits.
THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE
THE HIGH COURT MAY 2004 Mr Barney Sheedy scored a major triumph in the Supreme Court last month. After being unsuccessful in a High Court challenge to the Irish Times’ bid to publish the Tuairisc Scoile of his school, 12 months previously. This time he was successful in persuading the Supreme Court not to allow such a publication. This was the first time ever that an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act 1997 was brought to the Supreme Court.
The Irish Times sought publication of the Tuairisc Scoile and that of four other schools from the DES. The DES refused under Section 53 of the Education Act 1998 on the basis that (a) League tables could be compiled from such publications (b) Information was given to inspectors in confidence (c) The disclosure could prejudice the effectiveness of future inspections (d) The management of schools could be adversely affected.
Only one of the five schools appealed the decision of the Information Commissioner on a point of Law to the High Court. Mr Sheedy, the school Principal contended that the Information Commissioner erred in Law as regards his interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and the Education Act 1998. Mr Justice Gilligan dismissed the school’s appeal in the following terms; "I take the view that it is reasonable to conclude that the information was not imported in circumstances in which the principal could reasonably have expected that an obligation of
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confidence arose. The Principal ought to have been aware that the information was supplied to comply with the inspector’s functions pursuant to Section 13 of the Education Act 1998. This would involve the inspector reporting to the Minister, the Board, the Patrons, parents of the students and teachers as appropriate.
assumptions and culture of centuries". The Judge said the Act "replaces the culture of secrecy with one of awareness" and was "designed to open up the workings of Government and Administration to scrutiny" and not simply to satisfy the appetite of the media for stories.
Garda Vetting Unit to check all School Staff from September
OBSERVATION THE SUPREME COURT This decision has surprised many in the Legal and Educational field. It has split the Supreme Three Judges of the Supreme Court heard the Court. Barney Sheedy deserves congratulations appeal. A majority, Mr Justice Kearns and Ms on his long and ultimately successful challenge. Justice Susan Denham found in favour of the He fought and won on the basis school while Mr Justice Niall Fennelly gave a dissenting “However, there is no that publication could lead to Judgement. The appeal was reason why parents the compilation of league tables. This would be unacceptable and allowed on the basis of Section 53 at the discretion of against the spirit of the of the Education Act 1998. As the Board of Education Act. However, there is discussed earlier this Section deals with a prohibition on the Management cannot no reason why parents at the discretion of the Board of compilation of league tables. The be given copies of Management cannot be given court held that Section 53 of the a school inspection copies of a school inspection 1998 Education Act overrides any report” report. In fact schools are now in provision of the Freedom of a win-win situation where the spirit of the Information Act 1997. Mr Justice Kearns said Freedom of Information Act 1997 can be the Section may well have been inserted with invoked by giving parents access to reports and the unspoken intention of "batting off" the yet we receive the protection of the Education application of the Freedom of Information Act Act 1998 whereby the media cannot publish to the historically contentious issue of making such reports. There should never have been a public certain findings regarding the situation where parents would read about comparative performance of schools. However them in the newspapers. This judgement also in his dissenting Judgement Mr Justice Niall vindicates the decision of the Department of Fennelly said he could not agree that the 1998 Education & Science to refuse to handover Act overrides the Freedom of Information Act reports when requested by the Irish Times in 1997. He claimed the Oireachtas took a 2001. (A fuller discussion of the High Court considered and deliberate step which decision is available in issue 21 of June 2004). "dramatically alters the administration
Irish Times seeks copies of 5 particular reports of schools in the Dublin area
Tuairisc Scoile Reports Compiled by DES inspectors in 2001
Supreme Court rules by a 2:1 majority in favour of School Principal, i.e. no publication of school reports by Irish Times
The Barney Sheedy Case May 2001 Supreme Court In a nutshell…
High Court dismisses the Appeal of Principal Barney Sheedy
DES refuses to hand over reports
Appeal to Information Commissioner by Irish Times
Information Commissioner says hand over reports Principal of one school challenges Commissioner in the High Court
Minister of state for children Mr Brian Lenihan TD has promised that the central Garda Vetting Unit (which has been recently expanded) will start the process of checks on new teachers and school employees in September. "It is important that Gardaí have records in relation to every person who has substantial unsupervised access to children" claimed the Minister. While the vetting procedure comes into effect for the new teachers and employees it will be backdated to include all teaching and ancillary staff i.e. Special Needs Assistants, Secretaries and Caretakers. An implementation group is being set up to work out how the checks will be carried out. There is a view that such a process should start in the Teacher Training Colleges. All vetting applications will cost €10. The new unit will be based in Thurles, Co Tipperary. This process is long overdue and was used many years ago to vet participants working on FÁS Projects in schools. It will protect the school community and will be widely welcomed. It would make sense for the vetting certification to be made available to the Teaching Council who in turn are responsible for registration of teachers i.e. for the vetting clearance to be a mandatory requirement. No teacher should be registered by the Teaching Council pending clearance by the Garda Vetting Unit. The vetting procedure should be mandatory for all voluntering organizations and personnel dealing with children.
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ASSAULTED PUPIL LOOSES CASE AGAINST SCHOOL Crosbie V Board of Management of De La Salle Secondary School, Dundalk High Court, June 2005 FACTS A 15-year-old pupil in a secondary school was assaulted by a fellow pupil at break time. The offending pupil was convicted of assault causing harm at Dundalk District Court. This civil action followed the criminal case. The plaintiff argued that the school were negligent as there was inadequate supervision. The incident occurred on a wet day during a break. Rather than staying outside the plaintiff returned to the classroom. The other boy was also in the classroom and subjected the plaintiff to verbal abuse, kneed him in the face and punched him. A bone in the top of his
mouth was broken and four teeth were damaged. He was treated in the dental hospital at a cost of â‚Ź6000. The plaintiff was seeking â‚Ź20,000 to cover future treatment.
pursued. Unfortunately we have also experienced situations where the absence of such records and procedures contributed adversely to claim statements, i.e.
THE HIGH COURT
(1) Absence of a safety statement (2) Absence or inappropriateness of policies and procedures in relation to Admissions, Bullying, Discipline, Equality and Staff Appointments. (3) Lack of clarity in relation to arrival and dismissal of pupils, after school activities, school trips and supervision. (4) Absence of written confirmation from the DES in relation to; - Temporary teachers - Additional teachers - Approval and withdrawal of approval for Special Needs Assistants
Mr Justice Vivian Lavan dismissed the claim. He stated that while schools did have a duty of care he was satisfied supervision was reasonable. The assault was unforeseeable and the classroom ought to have been empty. He noted that the plaintiff had chosen not to sue the person who had caused the serious injury to him but had decided to sue the school.
ALLIANZ SCHOOLS JOURNAL In the most recent edition of the above publication it is worth highlighting an article on the subject of "Procedures and Record Keeping" (page 11). The following extract is of particular significance to schools; "Allianz has successfully defended claims where appropriate records are maintained and procedures were prepared and actively
A legal review on page 6 of the Allianz Schools Journal gives a summary of some cases that were settled in the courts over the last six months.
ICP Online: The Official Website of the International Confederation of Principals www.icponline.org Latest developments on the ICP Online website ICP CONVENTION IN CAPE TOWN, JULY 2005 Details on the ICP's next biennial convention, in Cape Town, South Africa, and a link to the convention's website, are now available on ICP Online. Don't miss this outstanding professional development opportunity. WORLD EDUCATION NEWS. The May 2005 issue of 'World Education News' has just been published, with education news from many countries around the world (including China, Oman, Zambia, USA, Thailand, Barbados, and many more). If your country hasn't been mentioned this time, please email Debra Brydon at: email@example.com with a short article on local developments for the next issue. Readers might like to browse through 31 previous issues of 'World Education News', which are archived on the website.
FEATURE ARTICLES ARE NEEDED CAN YOU HELP? ICP Online readers are invited to submit articles about education, schools and educational leadership, for publication on the website. Articles up to 2,500 words (and perhaps the author's photo, sent as a JPEG file) should be emailed to Debra Brydon at: firstname.lastname@example.org. EDUCATION CONFERENCES We now have a large number of forthcoming education-related conferences listed on the website, located in many different countries, including Brazil, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, China, Ireland, the Netherlands, and many more. Please alert educators in your country about this valuable website section, and please send me details of any conferences you might be organising in your country, so that interested international visitors may learn about them well in advance, and possibly attend. CAN YOU HELP WITH PUBLICITY? It would be very useful if you regularly publicised the ICP Online address in any of PAGE 14
the professional paper or online publications you send to your members. The more Principals we have visiting and contributing to the website, the better it will become. ICP ONLINE LIAISON Andrew Blair, from Victoria, Australia, is the ICP Online Liaison. If you have any suggestions about improving ICP Online, please contact Mr Blair directly by email at: email@example.com. IS YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ON THE ICP COUNCIL MEMBERS' ROSTER CORRECT? Are all the necessary details there? Email address? Postal address? Phone/fax numbers? Your photo? Please check and email Ms Brydon (firstname.lastname@example.org.) with your altered details if the entry on the website isn't 100% correct. Thank you!
Life Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world. Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it! Rule 2: The world won't care about your selfesteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself. Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vicepresident with a car phone until you earn both. Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity. Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room. Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life. Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time. Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
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Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
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Paradox of our time
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses but broken homes.
he Paradox of our time in History is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints.We spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy less. We have bigger houses but smaller families, more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch too much TV and pray too seldom.
These are the days of quick trips, disposable nappies, throwaway morality, and polls that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window but nothing in the stockroom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
Remember the only treasure you can give is with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big people and small character; steep profits and shallow relationships.
This was written as a reflection after the Columbine High School deaths. It has a poignant resonance in the wake of the recent bus tragedy in Co. Meath.
Remember spend more time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person will grow up and leave your side.
Remember to say “I love you” to your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to cherish the moment for some day that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
Published on Jun 7, 2005