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ISSUE 33 • JUNE 2006

A Mars A Day… The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act enacted in 2005 requires employers to have protective and preventive measures in place for all aspects of employee health and wellbeing. In effect they have been tasked with ensuring a state of being for each staff member which enables them to reach their full potential in the workplace by ensuring their work ability through the promotion of mental, physical, emotional and psychological health and wellbeing.

making becomes harder. All because we are human! By not investing in our selves and committing to sufficient rest we are doing ourselves, our schools and our staffs a disservice.

Isn’t it ironic that as Principals carrying out the BoM’s responsibility in putting measures for staffs’ wellbeing into place, we sometimes fall victim to ignoring the medicine we administer?

Achieving this balance and committing ourselves to taking sufficient rest may seem like a pipe dream especially when we feel that there are never enough hours in the day to do all that we need to do. However, getting our work/life balance right can help us make the most of the time we do have - and that makes us more efficient at work and at life.

An té a bhfuil freagrach ní foláir dó bheith glic.

The words work, rest and play coined in the old Mars bar advertisement capture the necessary balance required for us to operate to our maximum capacity. Remove the ‘rest’ element and the balance is quickly tilted in the direction of two equally exhaustive verbs ‘work’ and ‘play’. But how can we perform well if we neglect to rest our bodies, minds and spirits? Even the most brilliant, talented people have cognitive limits. Once these limits are reached or exceeded chaos can quickly become our only friend as deadlines are missed and decision-

It is increasingly evident that finding a balance between our work and our life outside work is imperative to maintaining our overall health and wellbeing. Work/life balance is no longer a buzzword but a reality which it seems will be with us from here on in.

Be consoled in the fact that most good functional leaders have yet to achieve this balance. As the people who are caught in the middle we try to protect our staff from the negative impact of overload and in doing so fall prey to it ourselves. So, we are not alone in this cycle but unlike the Duracell Bunny we are not battery operated and cannot go on and on and on without sufficient rest. How much resonates with you? ■ Do you succeed in separating your job from your life? ■ Do you constantly worry that you’re not doing enough?

■ Are you always available, even during holiday time? If you took stock could you work smarter rather than harder resulting in a better balance and quality of…

work, rest and play?

Indispensable Man Saxon White Kessinger Sometime when you’re feeling important; Sometime when your ego’s in bloom Sometime when you take it for granted You’re the best qualified in the room, Sometime when you feel that your going Would leave an unfillable hole, Just follow these simple instructions And see how they humble your soul; Take a bucket and fill it with water, Put your hand in it up to the wrist, Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining Is a measure of how you’ll be missed. You can splash all you wish when you enter, You may stir up the water galore, But stop and you’ll find that in no time It looks quite the same as before. The moral of this quaint example Is do just the best that you can, Be proud of yourself but remember, There’s no indispensable man.

F E AT U R E S Benchmarking – Principals Percpective..................2 Retiring this year?...........................................................2 Newly Appointed Principal?.......................................2 Special Education – Key Changes ...........................3

Bullying – Positive Interventions .............................5 In-School Management Research.............................6 Legal Diary ........................................................................8 How do other countries report progress? .........11


School Bus Escorts .......................................................13 West Cork Network of Rural Schools ..................14 Deputy Principals’ Conference 2006 ...................15

Benchmarking – Principals’ Perspective The IPPN draft position paper ‘Investing in School Leadership’ presents the considered and collective views of Principal teachers in relation to the forthcoming round of Benchmarking. This report was prepared over a six month period and involved a wide range of research and input from members. It was remarkably easy to extract a consensus of thinking due to the consistency of opinion expressed at County Network meetings, direct communication with our Support Office and the on-line survey last December. A copy of the report has been given to the INTO for their consideration as part of their preparations for the current benchmarking talks. ‘Investing in School Leadership’ is available as a downloadable file on the publications page within the resources section of It is vitally important that you read the report and familiarise yourself with the evidence and rationale for a separate salary scale for Principals. Buíochas mhór do chuile dhuine a chabhraigh linn leis an dtaighde thábhachtach seo. Bain úsáid agus tairbhe as…

Retiring this year?

Newly Appointed Principal?

Comhghairdeas do chuile dhuine atá ag éirí as i mbliana.

Comhghairdeas as ucht do ról nua mar cheannaire scoile.

Retiring from full time work is in itself a challenge. However, retiring from a leadership role presents a range of additional issues, challenges and, most importantly, opportunities.

By way of supporting you as you begin your new role, IPPN offers a number of services which are designed to meet your current and on-going professional needs:

More and more Principals have planned for gradual retirement by way of part time / consultancy work in the wider field of education. With this in mind IPPN intends to harness the knowledge and experience of current and retired Principals through their involvement in a variety of research projects designed to identify and provide relevant additional supports and services for retiring and retired Principals.

1. – a mailing list dedicated to all newly appointed Principals (NAPs) this year which facilitates general discussion and information sharing. This mailing list also facilitates NAPs to ask questions and seek advice on the various challenges coming your way as you are about to take up your new appointment. Members of IPPN’s Executive and the Confidential Advisory Panel will provide professional guidance and advice to NAPs on this mailing list.

If you have, or are about to retire please contact the IPPN Support Office to be included in our data base of retired members. This will enable us to keep you informed of post retirement opportunities which may provide some attractive options and welcome support as you leave behind the challenge, opportunity and enjoyment of full time Principalship. If you wish to receive Leadership+ as a retired member it is essential that we have your personal contact details, including home address, on record. Comhghairdeas arís agus go n-éirí go geal leat sna blianta fhada atá romhat. Breis eolais le fáil ar LoCall: 1890 21 22 23 Email:


2. NAP on-line briefing – through our web site A special section is designated to brief NAPs on the available resources and professional guidance which are directly relevant to you as you commence your new role. This will include a step by step guide which will help you prioritise your workload at this particular time. 3. Mentoring – in conjunction with LDS, IPPN offers you the services of a mentor in the form of an experienced Principal Teacher. This mentoring support is a valued service and opportunity which helps you to navigate your way through all that is new to your role in the first year. If you have not already been in contact with the IPPN Support Office please do so immediately if you wish to avail of the services above. LoCall: 1890 21 22 23 or

Special Education Key Changes The Education for Persons with Special C. No clear distinctions between the Role of In 1998, Micheál Martin the then Minister for Education Needs (EPSEN) Act was introduced Resource and Learning Support with the broader Education and Science said "For too long, the in 2004 and makes provision for an term ‘Special Education Team’ being favoured. needs of many children with disabilities have been supported in a One of the most Inclusive Education with an The most important development arising from reactive and entirely unsatisfactory crucial changes accompanying Individual Education Plan. Section 14 of the Act places the circular 02/05 was the introduction of the manner". The Minister pledged to since 1998 has onus on the Board of Management of General Allocation Model (GAM) which now change this particular scenario. The been the each individual school to ensure that caters for High Incidence needs arising from evaluation of Special Education parents are informed and Specific Learning difficulties such as provision from 1998 saw the induction of consulted and that all Dyslexia, and Borderline/Mild introduction of the “Automatic Prior to additional teachers and employees are General Disability. Pre September Response” model in the early years of September personnel into aware of the importance 2005, children in these categories the new century. However, perhaps the 2005, external were served by a Resource Teacher on Special of identifying SEN and most significant reaction to the chaos assessments setting up early intervention foot of an assessment but are now that existed in Special Education was Education systems. Circular 02/05, the EPSEN Act 2004 which saw the were required catered for through the provision of a issued to schools last year, provides permanent position of Learning introduction of the General Allocation Model in to secure clear guidelines to schools on the Support/Resource/Support Teacher 2005. This model has certainly reduced the resource hours whose appointment is based on the organization of teaching resources for backlog and combined with the setting up of the or a Special pupils who may need additional size status and gender make-up of the National Council for Special Education, provision support in mainstream schools based Needs Assistant school without the need for for SEN is now more streamlined and efficient. on the terms of the EPSEN Act. assessments. Priority within the school is given to children achieving at or below Prior to September 2005, external assessments the 10th percentile. This model also caters for were required to secure resource hours or a CIRCULAR 02/05 children with attention control difficulties and Special Needs Assistant for a child with special – KEY PRINCIPLES mild speech and language disorders. Children education needs. Resource teaching was mainly The circular is perhaps one of the most significant with Low Incidence Needs such as assessed confined to one-to-one tuition on a withdrawal of recent times. The circular proposed 3 syndrome, emotional disturbance, specific basis, the Resource teacher being assigned a important changes speech and language disorders etc. are catered for caseload of up to 10 children with assessed needs. through an individual application process There was a clear line of demarcation between A. A staged approach to intervention once a involving an independent assessment processed the role of the Learning Support Teacher and the problem has been identified by the National Council for Special Education. Resource Teacher. The former supported literacy and numeracy below the 10th percentile based The Staged Approach is as follows: on Standardised Test scoring with a Learning POSITIVE FEATURES Stage 1. The Teacher has concerns, screening Support Teacher having a caseload of 30-35. ■ Learning Support and Resource Teachers (i.e. measures are put in place and a plan is Resource Teaching was regarded as being “more Support Teachers) can now be deployed implemented and monitored in class intensive” supporting children below the second flexibly across all pupils with Special Needs percentile and children with more serious ■ The school has greater flexibility in relation Stage 2. If no improvement is noted, the pupil is learning disabilities. to supporting pupils and deploying staff referred to the Learning Support/Resource ■ The school can alternate between on-to-one, Support teacher with parental permission for CIRCULAR 02/05 group teaching and In-class instruction diagnostic testing. One of the most crucial changes since 1998 has ■ Schools can allocate support to pupils in line been the induction of additional personnel into with the pupils needs thus ensuring those Stage 3. More intensive intervention or an Special Education. The numbers of Support with the greatest need can access the highest assessment is carried out and an Individual Teachers (Learning Support and Resource) has level of support Education Plan is drawn up. quadrupled while there are over 6,000 Special ■ Teachers with the greatest experience and Needs Assistants within the system now as B. A clear distinction between High and Low commitment can be deployed where their opposed to the late 90’s when only a handful of Incidence Needs with different allocation of skills are most beneficial to the school SNA's were employed and they were mainly in resources and different assessment requirements. Special Schools. PAGE 3

BULLYING Bullying can be classified under physical aggression, damage to property, intimidation and extortion, slagging, name calling and isolation. Teachers may unwittingly re-enforce bullying by using threatening or intimidating language, using sarcasm or humiliating the child. A student who is being bullied needs to be listened to in a supportive way, as they may develop feelings of insecurity and extreme anxiety and thus become more vulnerable. Self confidence may be damaged with a constant lowering of self-esteem. Space to talk about the situation and the attendant feelings need to be available. Sufficient time should be set aside to elicit and validate feelings. The following piece could refer to a student who is being bullied being supported by a parent, teacher or guidance counsellor depending on the situation.

SYMPTOMS OF BULLYING BEHAVIOUR The following patterns of behaviour could indicate that a child is being bullied: ■ Pattern of physical illness e.g. headaches, stomach aches etc. ■ Mood changes ■ Deterioration in educational performance ■ Unwillingness to go to school ■ Unexplained bruising or cuts ■ Reluctance to say what is troubling him or her ■ Visible signs of anxiety or distress e.g. difficulty in sleeping, not eating ■ Out of character comments about teachers These signs do not necessarily mean a child is being bullied but repeated or continuing evidence warrants investigation.

DEALING WITH BULLYING The Board of Management of the school must put in place procedures for the formal noting and reporting of incidences of bullying behaviour, and such procedures must be part of the code of behaviour in the school. All reports of bullying, no matter how trivial, should be noted, investigated and dealt with by teachers. Serious cases of bullying behaviour by pupils should be referred immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal. Parents or guardians of victims and bullies should be informed by the Principal or Deputy Principal of incidents so that they are in a position to help and support their children before a crisis occurs. Pupils should be assured that by reporting incidences of bullying behaviour they are not telling tales and are acting responsibly as outlined in the Stay Safe programme. In the case of a complaint against a staff member, the issue should first be discussed with the staff member in question and if still unresolved it should proceed through the Principal to the school’s Board of Management.

STRATEGIES Assure the student that the problem lies with the bully. This helps to remove the guilt that many people feel when they are bullied. It can help to ask, "Did you ever wonder why that person feels the need to call you names/jeer you/hit you? Would he/she treat you like that if he/she felt good about himself/hcrself? Perhaps he/she is jealous of you".


Low self-esteem can be a major factor in being bullied A student can be helped to develop selfesteem in the following ways:

DEVELOPING ASSERTIVENESS Becoming involved in as many activities both in school and outside is a pro-active way to develop assertiveness. It does not really matter what the activity is. The intention should be to meet a range of personalities in a range of settings. Martial arts and self-defence can be very useful activities if the intention is right i.e. to become assertive rather than aggressive. Emphasis should be placed on developing assertiveness because if a person is anxious and nervous in their head it shows in their body language and even their voice. The usual advice given to a person being slagged or called names is either to ignore it or answer back. Unless it is ignored with confidence, the hurt can show all over a person's face or in their body language. Answering back without the verbal facility to do so can provide an even bigger laugh for the perpetrators. A good approach is to say to the person being bullied: "When it starts tomorrow, I want you to turn around and pick out the one who does it worst of all . Stand very firmly on the ground and get your head and shoulders up and briefly look at the person and show on your face the expression "I heard that and I don't like it". Don't look angry and don't stare became this may give them the excuse to say, "What are you looking at?" Decide then whether or not to stay or walk away". A lot of young people will say that they don't have the confidence to do this. The parent/teacher can help by role playing the situation with them or encouraging them to develop more positive body language. The simple technique of looking at their own face and eyes in a mirror can be beneficial The bully thrives in a situation where their negative behaviour goes unchallenged Assertiveness can break the cycle.

BUILDING CONFIDENCE Self-consciousness about appearance can make a person vulnerable to bullying. The parent/teacher/guidance counsellor can reassure and help a person feel good about their appearance. The same is true about perceived lack of ability - academic or otherwise. In addition to academic ability there is a need to highlight all the other abilities people may have - musical, sporting, and artistic. Simple visualisations may also help. In a negative situation imagining a wall all around their head can block hurtful comments out. Similarly it is necessary to live in the present and not to dwell on what happened yesterday and what may happen tomorrow. If a person has been bullied for a period of time they may become very isolated. Confidence may be affected to the point where the student stops making any effort to remain part of the group. In time the person may become an easy target and even be described as a 'loner'. Even former friends may be ignored. The more isolated a person becomes the more vulnerable they are. It is necessary to help the individual to build up confidence again to the point where they will take the risk to reach out to others. It may be necessary to be firm about the fact that it takes an effort and will not be easy. PAGE 5

HELPING THE BULLY It is generally accepted that bullying is a learned behaviour. Pupils who bully tend to display aggressive attitudes and can lack remorse. The bully can be an attention seeker enjoying the reaction their behaviour provokes. Pupils involved in bullying behaviour need assistance on an ongoing basis. Opportunities should be developed to increase feelings of self worth and improve self esteem. Research indicates that pupils identified as low achievers academically tend to be more frequently involved in bullying behaviour. It is therefore important that learning strategies within a school should allow for the enhancement of the pupils self worth. People bully for different reasons, but the root cause is linked to a sense of power. Some bullies are victims themselves in other situations and attempt to compensate for this by picking on somebody weaker and more vulnerable than they are. Others enjoy the sense of power their behaviour gives them. In a sense their behaviour is gratuitous. It is necessary to give the bully the opportunity to explain why they are behaving like this. They may not even have worked out on a conscious level themselves. It is a fact that this behaviour, however objectionable to us, provides them with a pay-off. Because bullying is such a negative behaviour it is necessary at all times to separate the behaviour from the person and offer alternative ways of behaving. This could include getting the person involved in some school activity or a position where they may enjoy some form of responsibility. It is sometimes the case that the tough, brash, negative behaviour of the bully is masking a weak, fragile, insecure person who has low self-esteem. Speaking in confidence to the guidance counsellor may be the first opportunity the student has had to speak about their real feelings.

DEVELOPING EMPATHY People who bully lack empathy. This enables them to inflict suffering on others without remorse. The teacher/counsellor/parent can help such a person to develop a sense of empathy by talking about the effects of their behaviour with the emphasis on feelings. In some situations where the guidance counsellor has been working with the bully and the victim, it may be possible to bring the two parties together. However, this should only happen when the victim wants and agrees to this move and there is no danger of making the situation worse. Sometimes despite the best efforts of the guidance counsellor there may be no improvement or even deterioration in the behaviour of the bully In this situation the issue needs to be referred back to the school policy on bullying. It is now once again a disciplinary matter involving sanctions and is part of the whole school Anti-Bulling Policy. SOURCES: (1) DES Guidelines on Bullying (2) Dr. Brendan Byrne

IN-SCHOOL MANAGEMENT RESEARCH This article presents a brief summary of the main findings of research conducted on In-School Management (ISM) in primary schools during the academic year 2004-2005. The research data included: ■ 178 questionnaires (119 females, 59 males) via on-line and paper surveys

■ 24 interviews (6 Principals, 13 ISM team members, 5 class teachers). Nineteen of the interviewees were working in four schools selected as mini-case studies representing schools of different sizes ■ data from schedules of posts of responsibility in fifteen schools. APPOINTMENTS The majority of teachers appointed to Deputy Principal (95%), Assistant Principal (86%) and Special Duties Teacher (93%) positions were the most senior applicants, while 65% of respondents indicated that teachers other than those ‘next in line’ were reluctant to apply. ‘Length of service’ was rated as the least significant factor in determining teachers’ ability to assume leadership positions. Interviewees felt that experience in other schools, additional skills, and ‘track record’ should be considered in this regard. Where schools had broken with the tradition of seniority, appointments based on merit were welcomed by interviewees as giving credence to appointments and being in the best interests of the school and staff. Whilst seniority was accepted as ‘a consideration’, appointments based solely on this criterion were criticized.

RESPONSIBILITIES Schedules of posts in the majority of schools did not include separate curriculum, administrative and pastoral duties. Duties allocated to senior postholders in some large schools were carried out by non-promoted teachers in smaller

schools. 53% reported no significant difference between the roles of Special Duties Teachers and Assistant Principals in their schools. However, differences were distinct in the three mini-case studies where responsibilities were resource or curriculum-based for Special Duties Teachers and involved broader school issues for Assistant Principals and Deputy Principals. Teacher interviewees emphasized their primary responsibility to the pupils in their classes. While it was understood that duties should not be carried out within teaching time, Principals called for a directive from the DES in this regard. Interviewees stated that duties such as choir and Green Schools Promotion could not be carried out entirely outside school hours. Principals noted the need to move from task-based roles to responsibility-based roles, to take a responsibility and ‘run with it’.

responsibility would be welcomed by 66% of Principals and 59% of Deputy Principals in the questionnaire data. However, interviewees had strong reservations and emphasized the professionalism of teachers, and the role of postholders in enabling the implementation of curricula and facilitating teachers’ own assessment of/for learning in their classrooms. Time was also a prohibiting factor in this regard.

TEAMWORK The majority of ISM team members supported each other at ‘pressure times’ during the year. Interviewees noted the effectiveness of teamwork and team leadership with regard to time management, multi-directional communication, meeting multiple deadlines and improving accountability.

MEETINGS REVIEWS A large majority of respondents in all positions acknowledged the need for ISM reviews in their schools. Interviewees referred to an ‘understandable’ reluctance to change responsibilities at a time when individuals had just achieved their objectives in their particular area.


■ The majority of postholders (73%) had responsibility for a curricular area, while ICT was allocated to a postholder in 80% of schools. The curriculum leadership needs of smaller schools were met by the willingness of class teachers to assume responsibilities. 72% of postholders attended additional courses in their area of curriculum responsibility, though interviewees noted the lack of available professional development in the managerial element of their role. ■ 74% indicated that postholders were not involved in assessing the implementation of their subject areas in classrooms. This PAGE 6

Meetings were most frequently held once a term, though a large proportion were held ‘on an ad hoc’ basis, ‘as the need arises’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’. In the absence of a clear directive from the DES, Principals found it difficult to have a full complement of teachers for ISM team meetings outside school hours, without feeling they were ‘asking a favour’. 15% of respondents reported meetings of the ISM team within class hours. Structured meetings only involved members of the Senior Management Team (SMT) in the mini-case studies, though interviewees had concerns about the non-inclusion of Special Duties Teachers. All members of the SMTs in three of the four schools were working in Resource or support classes, which allowed for greater communication at certain times during the day. However, the inclusion of a mainstream class teacher at senior management level was considered necessary. The Board of Management in one school paid substitute teachers to release the SMT for strategic planning.

COMMUNICATION WITH STAFF Postholders’ communication with colleagues generally took place during staff meetings (58%), or ‘as the need arises’ (73%). The compiling of an ‘In-School Management Report’ in one school communicated the roles and objectives of the ISM team to other staff members and to the Board of Management.

CONSTRAINTS Time for collaboration with colleagues, an overloaded curriculum, and professional development needs were identified as the most significant constraints to teacher leadership within the ISM team. Class release time was considered essential for Deputy Principals, particularly in larger schools.

BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT The majority of Boards of Management (BOM) were ‘not aware’ or ‘slightly aware’ of the work of the ISM team. However, positive relationships were enhanced by the support of Boards who part-funded post-graduate studies for teachers. Though one school submitted an annual ISM Report to the Board, accountability to oneself, to colleagues, and to the Principal was considered by interviewees as more important and beneficial to schools.

CAREER ASPIRATIONS 77% of respondents, and all interviewees reported increased job satisfaction arising from their promoted positions. Only 39% of males and 17% of females were interested in promotion to the position of Principal. The enormous responsibilities attaching to the position were cited as reasons, along with family commitments and, in some cases, contentment as Deputy Principal. The allowances payable to Deputy Principals in large schools compared with the allowances for Principals in smaller schools were deemed unrepresentative of the relative workloads. Principals commented that the allowance payable to Special Duties Teachers was inadequate, given the expectations inherent in any managerial / leadership role.

SCHOOL CULTURE AND THE ROLE OF THE PRINCIPAL School culture (35%) and the role of the Principal (40%) were cited as the chief determinants in the practice and effectiveness of ISM teams. Collaborative cultures and effective delegation with associated accountability were considered central to the concept of ISM. The positive impact of the revised ISM structure in alleviating the pressures on Primary School Principals was highlighted by Principals. The relationship between the Principal and the Deputy Principal was considered central to the smooth running of schools, though 39% of respondents believed that the role of Deputy Principal was underutilized in their schools.


■ Professional development for Principals and members of the ISM team in areas such as school leadership and management, group dynamics, delegation techniques, and time management should be funded by the DES. ■ The allocation of duties should promote a team-leadership culture incorporating coleadership and a level of flexibility to ensure that responsibilities are carried out in a postholder’s absence. ■ Clear guidelines should be issued with regard to appointments. Additional skills and experience, and track record should be recognized, particularly in appointments to senior management positions. ■ Clear job descriptions should be agreed by consensus with the staff and the Board of Management. Roles should be responsibility and leadership focused rather than task focused. Clear directives are required from the DES regarding expectations of all ISM team members. ■ Annual reviews of duties and the setting of objectives, preferably towards the end of each year, will acknowledge progress and address the changing needs of the school. ■

While more frequent meetings should be held by the Senior Management Team, meetings of Special Duties Teachers, class teachers, and the complete ISM team should take place in order to ensure multidirectional communication.

■ Opportunities for postholders to collaborate with counterparts with other schools, similar to Principals’ networks, would allow for the sharing of good practice, affirmation of postholders, and the avoidance of pitfalls experienced by others. Postholders should avail of valuable websites (PCSP) and local Education Centres to guide their work. ■ The present allowance payable to Special Duties Teachers is insufficient recognition for the commitment and responsibility attaching to sharing in the leadership of the school. ■ Deputies must be familiar with all matters relating to the organization, management and leadership of the school. A substitute teacher should be employed for the Deputy Principal’s class in the absence of the Principal. Reduced teaching hours or an administrative role for Deputy Principals is advocated in schools with twenty or more teachers. Breda O’Connor M.Ed., HDES

“Is your work done? Are all pigs fed, watered and ready to fly…?” PAGE 7

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On-line Professional Development Programme for Principals This summer you will again have the opportunity to go on-line for your professional development. The courses available are:

The Principal & the Law – a joint project with Mary Immaculate College Facilitator: David Ruddy BL, IPPN Legal Advisor Managing Conflict and Challenging Behaviour Facilitator: Joe O’Connell, Director, Limerick Education Centre Bullying in Schools - Prevention & Correction Facilitator: Jacinta Kitt & Dr. David Byrne Maxamising use of education websites Facilitator: Seaghan Moriarty, IPPN technical support Full details of these courses will be sent directly to you and the information posted on

Poor School Attendence A Battle Worth Fighting A child’s right to attend school is enshrined in the constitution and in legislation. Article 42 of our constitution provides for the right to education. In particular Article 42.4 is the care provision and is in the following terms "the state shall provide for free Primary Education and shall endeavour to supplement and give reasonable aid to private and corporate educational initiative and when the public good requires it, provide other educational facilities or institutes with due regard however, for the rights of parents, especially in the matter of religious and moral formation". Mr Justice O’ Hanlon in the High Court case of O’ Donoghue V Minister for Health and others 1996 interpreted the above constitutional provision as follows: "to provide for free basic elementary education of all children and that this involves giving each advice, instruction and teaching as will enable him/her to make the best possible use of his or her inherent and potential capacities, physical, mental and moral however limited these capacities may be". Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that "No person shall be denied the right to education" the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child places a specific obligation on member states to "take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop out rates". The Education Welfare Act 2000 raised the school going age from 15years to 16 years. The National Educational Welfare Board is charged with enforcement of school attendance from 6years of age upwards. In the December edition of "Leadership +" I reviewed the published data of the National Educational

Welfare Board in relation to school non attendance. In summary 1 in 10 primary school pupils were absent for 20 days or more. In the most disadvantaged "Rapid" areas, non attendance figures were 1 in 5. From January to September 2005 there were 9,000 very serious cases of school non attendance i.e. well in excess of 20 days absenteeism. Despite these appalling statistics and the availability of sanctions, under section 25 of Education Welfare Act 2000 only one case has been prosecuted by the Education Welfare Board. I appealed to the minister to recognize the scale of the problem by (A) giving adequate resources to the N.E.W.B (B) Direct the N.E.W.B to implement Section 25 of the Act i.e. more legal notices, more court appearances, and ultimately more fines for the most blatant of offenders. This appears to have fallen on deaf ears. Everyone agrees that the consequences of non school attendance can be catastrophic and the cost incalculable to the state and society. Why are we so content to continue with the carrot rather than the stick approach? How many years do we wait until a more dynamic approach is taken? Yes there are many families in crisis and they deserve a sympathetic response. What about the hard core of parents who will not send their children to school? I say they should be prosecuted. In the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has floated the idea of withholding part of the social, security benefits of parents of persistent truants. Truancy patrols have been in operation in some parts of the UK. Why not have these PAGE 8

patrols here? This would consist of an Education Welfare Officer and a member of the Gardai. They would visit large shopping centres and other areas where children are likely to be found during school time. Imagine the number of children in the Dundrum, Liffey Valley and the Square Shopping Centers on a particular school day. Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (UK) a child or a young person of compulsory school age and who is absent from a school without lawful authority can be removed from the shopping centre and brought to a designated premises or to the school from which he/she is absent. In summary if we are serious about school attendance the Minister for Education and Science should; (a) Provide more resources to the N.E.W.B. (b) Direct the Board to implement Section 25 of the Act. (c) Amend the Act to provide for Truancy Patrols. (d) Amend Section 25 to allow for the deduction of Social Welfare benefits in the worst cases of parents of non attendees. If the provisions of the Education Welfare Act 2000 are not implemented and rights of children not respected under the constitution and under European and UN Conventions we will have failed our most vulnerable children, young people and ultimately the society that we have the duty to nourish and safeguard. SOURCES: (1) Bunreacht Na hEireann 1937 (2) "Litigation Against Schools" (3) Implications for School Management, editors Dympna Glendenning and William Binchy.

Special Educational Needs and the Law by Meaney, Kiernan and Monahan As the summer holidays are happily upon us I would like to draw your attention to a book which was recently published. It is not to be read in bed or on the beach but it merits consideration and should be part of a staff room library or available at your local library. "Special Educational Needs and the Law" by Meaney, Kiernan and Monahan

placements in Special Schools. The future of Special Schools is somewhat uncertain at the moment. Schools that previously catered for the "mild" categories of Special Educational Needs will need to adapt to a changing role, perhaps by catering for students with complex needs and / or acting as a support facility for mainstream schools in their locality. The authors are concerned that despite the very specific obligation on Principals/ teachers in relation to Special Educational Needs that many Principals/ teachers have little expertise or qualifications in the area. They state that there is a duty to make effective training a requirement so as to ensure the protection of those with Special Educational Needs.

This book provides a detailed treatment of the law in relation to Special Educational Needs (S.E.N). In his foreword the former Chief Justice Mr Ronan Keane observes that it is remarkable that until the Education Act of 1998, one of the most important areas of life in Ireland, Education, was almost entirely unregulated by legislation. We had to have recourse to circulars issued by the Department There is a duty The possible exposure of a Principal / of Education and Science for teacher to a breach of statutory duty to make guidance. Article 42 of the for failure to access or diagnose a effective constitution not merely imposes on difficulty might put inordinate pressure the state the duty to provide for free on the Principal / teachers such as they training a primary education but also by feel they have to assess a child, or refer implication, recognizes the right of requirement so a child for assessment. However it could citizens to receive such education. as to ensure the be argued that this could lead to the While the number of Irish legal protection of labeling of a child. The decision to carry decisions is relatively small, the out an in-school assessment rather than those with importance of these decisions was refer the child to the Council for Special crucial in shaping the government Assessment is potentially a precarious response and subsequent legislation. one. This is so because a Principal may Educational In the cases of O’ Donoghue V be held liable if it later emerges that the Needs. Minister for Health 1996 (High assessment in order to be effective, Court) and Sinnott V Minister for required the input of specialists in the Education 2001 (Supreme Court), the courts area. Principals / teachers will recognize this and had to consider whether the right to free it is conceivable that there could be many Primary Education was confirmed to scholastic inappropriate applications to the Council for education in the traditional sense or, in the case Assessment. Given the possible exposure of the of persons with Special Educational Needs, to Council for a refusal to carry out an assessment, it more basic forms of training. too may feel under pressure to do so. This process could lead to to much time wasting, which, of The book traces the journey from the O’ course, is not to the benefit of the child. If the Donoghue Case through the Education Act council refuses a school an assessment of a child, 1998 with a thorough concentration on the then that school has the duty to carry out the Education for Persons with Special Educational assessment (and any appeal against the councils Needs Act 2004. Reference is made to the legal refusal is dismissed). If the council was wrong to costs incurred by the Department of Education refuse, then the Principal / teacher should not be and Science in defending actions since 2003. In liable. However if the Principal / teacher was 2003 legal costs for 17 cases amounted to €3.8 clearly wrong to bring the matter to the attention million plus €667, 648 in settlements; in 2004 of the council in the first place, then the time costs were €5.1 million plus €425,401 in wasted in making the request and the subsequent settlements again in respect of 17 cases. The appeal could mean that the child regresses in that legal costs quoted are only the plaintiffs side period. However when a decision to refer or not and do not reflect the costs borne by the State’s to refer is based on the opinion of an expert body legal teams. (in this case , the Principal or teacher) then it will be subject to review only on procedural grounds, The central theme of the 2004 Act is inclusive or if it was irrational. education. The provision of inclusive education is mandatory, except where this would not be in This book is primarily written for the legal the best interests of the child, or would be profession, and law students. However it is an inconsistent with the effective provision of invaluable source of information. In particular education for children with whom the child is to the commentary on the Education for Persons be educated Section 2 (1) (a) and (b) 2004 Act. for Special Educational Needs Act 2004 and indeed other related legislation is excellent. The book notes there is a degree of contradiction in the fact that Special Schools The book is co-authored by 3 barristers; Mary have to adapt to Situations where many of their Meaney, Nessa Kiernan and Karl Monahan. It is traditional pupil groups may no longer avail of published by Thomson Round Hall. PAGE 9 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 textaparent to send messages to the parents in our school? Arrange for the collection of the parents’ mobile telephone numbers Log on to Register your contact details 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 & specify the mobile telephone numbers to which the message will be sent

A prayer for all those working in schools!?

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Adapted from an original anonymous source 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

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!

Hundreds of teachers, in all counties, registered to receive text-a-sub notifications President: Tomás Ó Slatara Director: Seán Cottrell Editor: Larry Fleming Assistant Editor: Virginia O’Mahony Advertising: Nicole Walsh

Irish Primary Principals’ Network Glounthaune, Co Cork e: l: 1890 21 22 23 t: 353 21 452 4925 f: 353 21 435 5648 w:

The opinions expressed in Leadership Plus do not necessarily reflect the official policy or views of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network ISSN: 1649 -5888

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Dear God, so far today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper, I haven’t criticised or moaned. I haven’t been snappy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on I’m probably going to need a lot more help. Amen

Q: Very shortly, that time of year will come around when you start preparing your end-of-year reports. The exercise may promote reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of the particular format used in your school. In which case, it may be a comfort to know that the NCCA has also been giving the issue of helping Primary School Teachers report children's progress to parents some thought, and has begun to develop Report Card Templates, which schools can modify for their own use.

As a first step in this work, we have been investigating how schools in other countries report children's progress to parents by asking: ■ What information is included in reports? ■ How is children's progress described in reports? ■ How often do parents receive reports? ■ How are parents and children involved? We asked these questions of 11 countries, including Australia (Queensland], Canada (British Columbia], Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Sweden. We found that the content of reports is similar across countries, but the way children's progress is presented varies considerably. Reports are typically issued in conjunction with parent/teacher meetings and in some countries children themselves are included in the reporting process. The number of reports issued by schools each year also varies. What information is included in reports? In most countries, the report gives two types of information ■ information on the child's progress in curriculum subjects or areas of learning, and information on the child's learning strengths and weaknesses. Some reports also comment on the child's learning dispositions e.g. motivation, thinking skills, work habits and on the child's personal and social development e.g. play, behaviour, personal care. Education authorities in some countries specify what a report must contain. For example, British Columbia requires statements about what a child is able to do, about areas of learning that require further attention or

How do Primary Schools in other countries report progress? development, and about ways the teacher and parents can support the child's learning needs. In other countries, the school must include minimum information. For example, in England and Wales the report must provide information on ● achievements in all subjects ● general progress ● attendance ● results of National Curriculum tests. The school can decide what additional information is to be included on the report card. Schools decide the format and layout of their own report cards in most of the countries surveyed. How is children's progress described in reports? Most countries use outcomes rather than norms to report on the child's learning. In other words, teachers compare a child's progress with expected standards, rather than with progress made by other children. Teachers use levels e.g. Northern Ireland. England and Wales) to show the progress the child has made. In Northern Ireland, levels of 1 to 5 are reported for the child's progress in literacy, numeracy and ICT. In Year 4, a child's work in mathematics is considered competent at Level 2; in Year 6, work at Level 4 would be considered competent. A child's progress towards these levels is cumulative and is achieved over the seven years of primary school.

Schools decide the format and layout of their own report cards in most of the countries surveyed. In some countries e.g. Sweden, New Zealand and Finland) teachers use comments to report on young children's learning. Grades are added to these comments from around Middle Primary onwards. Reports in many countries also include the results of standardised tests, usually in literacy and numeracy. How often do parents receive reports? In most of the countries surveyed, schools provide parents with two or three reports during each school year. British Columbia is the exception with five reports in one school year! PAGE 11

Countries that issue two reports such as Scotland. provide an interim report with a formative emphasis (i.e. aiming to help the child's learning in the remainder of the year and an end-of-year summative report (i.e. telling how the child has achieved across the term or year]. Reports can be oral or written. Teachers usually meet parents to discuss the report's contents. This meeting also gives teachers and parents a chance to share other information about the child's learning. How are parents and children involved? In most of the countries surveyed, reports provide advice for parents on how to support their child's learning. In some countries (e.g. Australia, New Zealand and Scotland) additional support for parents is provided through websites published by the Education Ministry or Department. Samples of children's work are published on the websites to show parents what children do in school. Children are involved in developing reports in some countries (e.g. Northern Ireland and Scotland). Here, children are invited to contribute information to the report before it issues to their parents. Their input (in writing or drawing) focuses on how they see themselves as learners. The decision on whether or not to involve children in parentteacher meetings is made by the individual school in most countries surveyed. How is the NCCA using this information? This information on how schools in other countries report children's learning is a useful starting point for the NCCA in developing Report Card Templates which schools can modify for their own use. The Primary Assessment Team is also tapping into the success of the Assessment for Learning (AfL) initiative in Post-Primary schools. The Report Card Templates can only come to life in the hands of Principals and teachers and in the context of very real classrooms, with children and parents. The assessment team will begin working with schools during the 200607 school year to ensure that the Report Card Templates are as practical and useful as possible for teachers and for parents. Further information on the NCCA's assessment work is available on


School Bus Escorts Sample Job Description

One of the many additional duties slipped into the workload of the Principal in recent years is the management of school bus escorts. The Principal is expected to recruit, manage and ensure prompt payment for these ancillary personnel. The following is a brief guide for Principals when assigning the duties associated with the post. 1. Start and completion of bus run The escort will be expected to join the bus1 either at the initial starting point of the bus or from the pick-up point of the first child, whichever is the “most convenient” or alternatively at an agreed point with the bus operator. However, where no extra cost is involved, the escort may be picked up along the route of the bus provided that he or she is on the bus at the pick-up point of the first child. The scheduling and sequencing of bus runs and pick-up points are subject to change in the interests of providing the most efficient and effective service, and consequently any arrangements for picking up and setting down escorts are subject to change as well. The escort should remain on the bus until all children with special needs2 on the bus have been safely delivered to their destination, both in the morning and the afternoon. 2. Responsibilities The escort shall be responsible for: ■ the safety of children from the time they board the bus until they are met at their destination by school staff or parent3. ■ the safety of children when opening and closing doors prior to stop and move-off. ■ assisting children to board and alight safely from the school bus. ■ ensuring that all children are seated and secured with appropriate belts/straps and harnesses, where provided. ■ remaining with the child at the set-down point until they have been received by the teacher, care staff or parent, as appropriate. 3. Duties The escort will: ■ report to and receive instruction for duties from the School Principal. ■ supervise all children with Special Needs on the bus. ■ maintain a good working relationship with the driver of the bus. ■ Act as liaison as required, i.e., for conveyance of messages and letters between home and school and vice versa. ■ observe confidentiality in all aspects of work. ■ acquaint himself/herself with the particular disabilities of children on the bus and be briefed by the Principal of the relevant school on how to maximise the safety and comfort of these children.

■ report all concerns to the Principal and / or the Principal and/or Class Teacher. ■ perform any other duties appropriate to the position of escort which may be assigned by the Principal from time to time. 4. Presence on the Bus Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the escort should not move away from the vicinity of the bus while children under their care remain on board. 5. Position on Bus The escort's position in the bus should be such as to facilitate maximum supervision of the children. 6. Pick-up from Home/School The escort should: ■ remain at the bus to receive a child from parents/school staff. ■ assist the child on to the bus. ■ ensure all belts/straps and harnesses, where provided, are safely secured. ■ note and report any messages from parents/school staff to appropriate person(s). ■ note and hand over to appropriate person any belongings of the child taken from the school/home. ■ ensure all children on the bus are safely secured before the bus moves off. ■ ensure that doors are securely closed before the bus moves off. ■ maintain good order and a happy atmosphere on the bus journey. ■ assist any child who requires help or comfort during the journey. ■ In an emergency, arrange with the driver to go to the nearest hospital for help. 7. Arrival at School/Home The escort should: ■ supervise and assist with children disembarking from the bus. ■ remain with children until they have been received by school staff/parents. ■ pass verbal or written messages from parent(s) to the Principal or a member of school staff. ■ pass verbal and written messages from the Principal or a member of school staff to parent(s). ■ ensure that child is returned to official address and to the care of parent or guardian. SOURCE: NAMBSE Research Note: 1 All references in this document to "bus" relate to buses and all other vehicles engaged to provide school transport 2 All references in this document to children relate to children with special needs. 3 All references in this document to parents relate to parents and persons with parental responsibility. PAGE 13

On-line Professional Development Programme for Principals This summer you will again have the opportunity to go on-line for your professional development. The courses available are:

The Principal & the Law – a joint project with Mary Immaculate College Facilitator: David Ruddy BL, IPPN Legal Advisor Managing Conflict and Challenging Behaviour Facilitator: Joe O’Connell, Director, Limerick Education Centre Bullying in Schools - Prevention & Correction Facilitator: Jacinta Kitt & Dr. David Byrne Maxamising use of education websites Facilitator: Seaghan Moriarty, IPPN technical support Full details of these courses will be sent directly to you and the information posted on

Are you in the market for sports and leisurewear? Then contact AZZURRI, the Waterford-based supplier of quality sports and leisurewear. Benefits: • Genuine savings through IPPN’s competitive discounted rate • Experienced & dedicated service team • Quality playing kit, school jackets and tracksuits tailored to your schools needs • GAA licensed kit & AZZURRI CE approved hurling helmet • Quick and efficient delivery service countrywide For enquiries FREEPHONE 1800 380 980 quote IPPN for great savings ¥

OUTPUTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS Duhallow – Sliabh Luachra – West Cork Network of Rural Schools. September 2005 to June 2006.

Schola Group pictured at Garda Training Depot in Templemore on Friday, 26th May 2006.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT The five schools participating in this cluster: Carraig an Ime NS, Cloghoula NS, Cullen NS, Kilcorney NS and Kilmurry NS bring to it a degree of experience in terms of inter-school co-operation, and a commonality in terms of issues faced in our communities. Building on this sense of cohesion, the schools came together formally with the assistance of our LEADER Local Action Groups in 2004 to establish the Schola Network of Rural Schools. Schola has provided the schools with access to administrative and technical back-up, core funding and the experience of transnational co-operation with similar schools in rural Spain. Although the current LEADER Programme comes to an end this year, all participants are confident that sufficiently robust structures are now in place to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the cluster.

ACHIEVEMENTS RESULTING FROM THE IPPN BURSARY While schola has been the mechanism that binds the schools together, all have recognised the need to pursue common activities, so as to maximise the benefits to staff, management,

Schola Group leave for Sos in Spain from West End, Millstreet in March 2005.

pupils and parents. With this in mind, and recognising the value of transferring best practice, the cluster applied for, and was successful in securing an IPPN bursary. This bursary, together with LEADER funding has enabled the network to successfully undertake the following joint-actions. ■ Specialist workshops on substance abuse

and RSE, leading to the formulation of school policies ■ Tailored (to age-cohorts and parents)

instruction on self-development and selfesteem in conjunction with Kerry Life and Education Project ■ Piloting of the system of Colegios Rurales

Agrupados, as observed in Spain, whereby specialist teachers in Spanish language, sports, drama, music and art have attended our schools, taught the children and transferred particular skills and know- how to staff ■ Study Visits to the Garda Training College

in Templemore and to Dublin to visit the

GAA Museum, St. Patrick’s Teacher Training College, National Art Gallery and Natural History Museum. The cluster and the actions, which have been made possible as a result of the IPPN bursary, are of tremendous benefit to the five schools and all involved with them. Each school has hosted or convened at least one of the jointworkshops. Staff and parents have openly shared their views and experiences and all have contributed to the formulation and development of agreed policies. The students have gained from a broadened range of activities, experiences and insights. Our experience of clustering together over the past two years, and the last year in particular has given all our schools a renewed sense of optimism and confidence. We have developed and deepened friendships, made new contacts, improved our skills, gained new insights and resources and are wholly committed to consolidating our cluster, so that we continue to work together and with other neighbouring schools. Annabelle O'Sullivan, Principal, Cloghoula N.S., Millstreet

“Make good use of your cylindrical filing unit, the one you mainly keep under your desk” PAGE 14

Deputy Principals’ CONFERENCE 2006 Friday, May 26th , 2006 marked an important milestone for IPPN. After a number of conferences for Deputy Principals since 2002, organised and facilitated by IPPN, this day saw the launch of the IPPN position paper, “Giorraíonn Beirt Bóthar: Distributing Leadership–Deputy Principals” at the Montaque Hotel, Portlaoise. An executive summary of the paper will appear in the next issue of Leadership+. The main contributors to this discussion document have been Deputy Principals, through IPPN county networks and local support groups, and particularly those who participated in the conferences in Galway and Portlaoise. In presenting the paper, Caoimhe Máirtín had collated all views from conferences and leadership discussions over the past four years, and provided a comprehensive research review and academic comment on the topic. The paper was influenced significantly by a recent in-depth study entitled ‘’Two Heads are Better than One – an Examination and Analysis of the Role of Deputy Principal in Irish Primary Schools’’ by Terry Allen, Principal Teacher in St. Mochta’s National School, Clonsilla, Dublin, who gave a

presentation on his research at the conference. The purpose of this Green Paper (IPPN style), as Seán Cottrell says in the Foreword, is to focus on the potential leadership role of Deputy Principals, and to provide for a shared, distributed, coleadership position for both Principal and Deputy Principal. It is intended to allow for reaction, response and recommendations from all those interested in, or responsible for, ensuring that the leadership potential in schools is realised. At the Conference, Gearóid Ó Conluain, Deputy Chief Inspector in DES, spoke very highly of IPPN’s work (including his observation that we are ‘not backward in coming forward with ideas and proposals for improvement in education’), and urged us to move forward now with our proposals to DES and the Management Bodies, to put the nuts and bolts for development in this area in place. Zita Lysaght of Leadership Development for Schools (LDS) delivered an interesting presentation on what LDS has to offer Deputy Principals, and thus illustrated how IPPN and LDS can continue to work productively together. Participants at the conference (two hundred and eighteen of them—a magnificent attendance) had

to do their share of work, and were asked to contribute their views on various areas of school leadership. All present were energised by the enthusiasm, motivational skills and leadership of Seán Cottrell and Tomás Ó Slatara. In the paper, acknowledgement is given to Máire Áine Uí hAodha and her skilled facilitation of the second Deputy Principals’ Conference in Portlaoise, in 2004, which captured a comprehensive picture of existing good practice: the data that was gathered and recorded became a key influence on this paper. Appreciation is also well due to the leadership of IPPN, from the Presidency of Jim Hayes to that of Virginia O’Mahony and now Tomás Ó’ Slatara, who have always recognised the importance to Principals of developing the role of Deputy Principals. The whole day was most rewarding for all present—the culmination of much effort by many people. The challenge now is to move it on to the next stage. Padraic McKeon, Holy Family National School, Newport, Co. Mayo


Principals save to 50% on your Mobile Phone Charges Mobile+ is an exclusive mobile phone offer - developed by IPPN in association with O2 - providing Principals with an excellent mobile phone service at a remarkably reduced cost. IPPN’s Mobile+ tariff guarantees: ✔ An average of 50% savings on your existing monthly mobile phone charges ✔ Monthly Rental of only €7 ✔ Greatly reduced call rates (available on request) ✔ You keep your existing Mobile phone number ✔ A Free Nokia phone

Call the Mobile+ dedicated service line on: 1890 541 241 "My monthly bill has been cut in half because calls are cheaper & my rental is only €7 per month. It’s a great deal for Principals!" - Virginia O’Mahony, Scoil Chaitríona Senior, Renmore, Galway WHAT YOU NEED TO SIGN UP: • A copy of your passport or drivers license • Proof of address (utility Bill) • Utility Bill in the schools name


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Leadership+ Issue 33 June 2006  
Leadership+ Issue 33 June 2006