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ISSUE 38 • MAY 2007

F E AT U R E S ELECTION 07 – the parties answer your questions... Step aside: Down but not out Is Your Child Catholic Enough to get a Place at School IPPN Vision for ICT Spreagadh Programme L.D.S. Supervision of Pupils Education Policy Priorities Director: Seán Cottrell President: Tomás Ó Slatara Editors: Larry Fleming & Damien White Assistant Editor: Virginia O’Mahony Advertising: Irish Primary Principals’ Network Glounthaune, Co Cork T: 353 21 452 4925 F: 353 21 435 5648 The opinions expressed in Leadership + do not necessarily reflect the official policy or views of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network ISSN: 1649 -5888 Design and print: Brosna Press 090 6454327 •

SIX OF THE BEST A Phríomhoide agus a Phríomhoide Thánaistigh Election fever is rife. Promises abound. It’s raining Summer Works Schemes. Don’t get too excited if you are promised a new school before 24th May. In the sport of promises, it’s ‘game on’. IPPN has put 6 questions to the 6 main political parties; their replies are published within. The questions were chosen to reflect some of the main concerns of Principals . It is no coincidence that most of the parties have committed to doubling the capitation grant. IPPN’s survey on school finances in December 2006 provided evidence that Primary schools only receive half the grant aid required to keep their building open, heated, safe and clean. We are pleased that finally this reality has made it onto all the political manifestos. The next Minister for Education & Science must deliver on this commitment. Failure to do so will undermine all other educational initiatives. Aside from addressing the funding crisis, if the next Minister in Marlborough St wants to leave a real legacy of improved learning outcomes for all children, (s)he should focus on strategic action rather than ‘quick-fix’ initiatives. It is shocking to discover that there is only one reference to Leadership in the various Political Party Education Manifestos. IPPN’s publication Quality Leadership Quality Learning identifies six key actions that, if taken, will have a multiplying and PAGE 1

sustaining effect on existing good practice using high quality school leadership as the lever of continuous improvement: 1. Review & refocus the role of Principal; establish a new contract 2. Offer new Principalships a 5-7 year contract with ‘step-down’ options, acknowledging the challenging nature of the role 3. Establish an attractive pay-scale for Principals 4. Provide significantly more leadership / noncontact time for Teaching Principals through planned and supported clusters of small schools 5. Professionalise the appointment process for Principals including the selection of those who appoint Principals 6. Focus on the recruitment and retention of Principals and the cultivation of future school leaders This is IPPN’s Manifesto for the next Minister. Every review of the research literature on school improvement has highlighted the key role of the Principal, for better or for worse, i.e. there are no examples of school-wide success without successful school leadership; all examples of school failure include weak or ineffective leadership. Simply put, quality learning can only be achieved through quality leadership. Is muidne le meas Tomás O Slatara Seán Cottrell


Who actually empl teachers and Princ





The child abuse cases covered on the Prime Time programme on Thu highlight clearly the anomaly regarding who is the real employer in schoo Board of Mangement. An employer/paymaster might be expected to co deal with serious issues and situations and yet the DES, which has all th of an employer, chooses not to get involved. They say it is a matter for t Board of Management.

al meeting with useful and enlightening exchanges of views on a IPPN tabled a number of questions and the discussion followed were: nses for Principals cially where building, summer works or interviewing placed ds on Principals over the summer holidays. e Class Size campaign and the possibility of prioritising the class of cipal in any new reductions. gh" campaign. What issues or new workload might be targeted for

stem. Using this to highlight the need for adequate secretarial pals . ement. The importance of completing the review and the early sed circular. nagement. What is coming down the line?

ssues and concerns raised and discussed will be followed through ture meetings, will help to progress the priority needs and issues s and school leadership.

ernance y Schools

t members in 500 mary schools. This is timely, piece of distribution of des with the end of a ards of

e 500 schools in the project and he Board of rtly receive a

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questionnaire which they will be asked to complete. It should take approximately 30 minutes to complete the questionnaire, and we would urge you to ensure that you participate in this activity. Your views and reflections on governance as you have experienced it through your involvement as a member of the school Board of Management will be of interest and of value, and will help to improve the quality of management structures in Irish Primary schools.

IPPN contends that It is unfair to expect voluntary BOMs to deal with serious and compl to employer / employee responsibilities. Volunteer members of BOMs are very often not aware of or familiar complexities and responsibilities of being an employer. People will be unlikely to become members of BOMs when they kno liable as employers? Principals are the only constant and non-voluntary members that can from BOM responsibilities.

The real test of employer responsibility emerges in cases where difficulties and issues in relation to children or staff such as the cases Prime Time programme on RTE relating to sexual abuse of children in Pr breach of trust between parent, teacher and child has been rightly conde professional association for Principals and Deputy Principals will contin implementation of the ‘Children First’ Guidelines and ‘Stay Safe’ progr any form of child abuse in our schools and communities.

IPPN Welcomes proposed doubling of Capitation Gran

At the recent IPPN Conference in Killarney, IPPN National Director Mr. Sea an impassioned plea to all Schools to cease the practice of fundraising for b such as heating oil, art materials, etc.

The issue of Capitation Grants for Primary Schools was also raised in a pre-b meeting between IPPN and the Minister for Finance Mr. Brian Cowen, when indicated that there would be some movement on the issue. IPPN is therefor over Easter, the Minister for Education and Science Ms. Mary Hanafin pledge would double funding from €163.50 per child per year to €372 per head if r annual cost to the Exchaquer of €166m. This pledge fulfils the long held IPP Primary School funding should be on a par with second level schools.

IPPN believes that if this promise becomes a reality during the tenure of the no matter which administration is in office, it will go a long way towards elim for schools to engage in fundraising and voluntary contributions from parent PAGE 3

07 – the parties answer your

will you take to secure mall schools in rural


rural way of life is a priority for hould be made to retain rural o withdrawal of teachers or ures within the lifetime of the ool size should not lead to a rning delivered to students.


annually for Primary schools will ed additional funding to meet e will also increase capitation schools under the State Claims es – this would save schools of insurance and help all rural eeds of their pupils. We will ool buildings and additional that rural schools are not ures in urban and commuter provement in sports facilities at 00 million School Sports Fund ment of facilities that can be ocal communities.


There is a known crisis in School Leadership where declining number of teachers apply for Principalship. What action will you take to make the role of Principal more attractive?


Will you amend the Teaching Council Act to ensure Principal Teachers are represented through places reserved for their professional bodies?

Sean Crowe TD SINN FÉIN Sean Crowe TD SINN FÉIN The burden of being a school Principal must be lessened and this can be done through more funding for administrative resources and maintenance. This should be provided for every school. Alongside this should be new management posts, which would help in spreading the school leadership role across senior teaching staff, with funding and training provided to allow teachers who want to progress to management roles have an easier path to school management.

Olwyn Enright TD FINE GAEL

Fair representation on institutional educational structures is an imperative for all parts of the education sector and Principals and their organisations should be given proper representation.

Olwyn Enright TD FINE GAEL Given the need to instigate reforms and new approaches in the education system, and recognising the new challenges that schools now face with regard to immigration, absenteeism and literacy and numeracy problems, it is important that the voice of Primary school Principals is heard. In Government, Fine Gael will be happy to consult with groups such as the IPPN regarding whether a change to the Teaching Council Act is required in this matter.


What will be yo Minister to add most 12 year ol comfortably in

Sean Crowe TD SINN F

The success of gaelscoileanna h converse competently in Iri importing the gaelscoil met Primary system, and approp implement the good practice parents in promoting spoken Iris

Olwyn Enright TD FINE

Fine Gael has put forward a v reform regarding the teachin language. As part of this progra specialist Language Support Co schools that are having particul of Irish. We will also utilize the be and teaching methods for the immersion in the Irish language

0 N O I T C E We will introduce fixed-term contracts – without loss of benefits – for all school Principals to encourage leadership, innovation and new thinking in the education system. This is just one aspect of our package of proposals to reform teacher training, incentivise teaching, and provide for a new system whereby teachers experiencing ‘burnout’ will be facilitated to change employment within the public sector.



arty would ensure that rural able be multi-use facilities. The ble to make use of the school . Patron bodies would then be hese schools on behalf of the

In Government the Green Party will provide additional teaching posts in larger schools in order to free Principals from the position of full-time class teacher. We will provide additional training and resources doubling the capitation grant.


he staffing schedule to ensure ils have a Principal and a o set up the Small Schools eds of schools have benefited a Fáil believes that the small d’s rural communities and will eds.

Mary Hananifn TD FIANNA FÁIL

Fianna Fail will prioritise measures such as training for aspiring school leaders to encourage more people to become Principals. We will also significantly increase the ancillary services grant to improve administrative support and will double the capitation grant for Primary schools. The number of release days will be increased and the pilot scheme of substitute cover for these days will be expanded.


plementary allocation system chers are employed directly by on and Science, that can be of schools within a specific small smaller communities. I will also ity of tenure and entitlements a view to supporting them r schools. I will also reform the dequate school bus transport to ensure an efficient and for communities across the safe, flexible and responsive to atterns, and must assist pupils fullest range of subjects.


nning, based on correct data, in rities, local communities and currently faced by so many can then be secure in the an take their first momentous others in the neighbourhood igned classroom with numbers o be able to treat them all as the Many want, as is their right, language schools. To their arents have put in long hours ves. Most parents will go to t they believe is best for their to provide for the education of d take responsibility, we can and manageable classes close this exceptional? Why are new er the population needs one?

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I will put in place a formal and adequate framework of support, training and assistance for school Principals and Boards of Management, within the Department of Education and Science. I will also fund management and administration training for elected members of School Boards, and ensure every large school has a full-time secretary.

Jan O Sullivan TD LABOUR

In government we will give Principals and teachers the support and professional development they need by: Making all new appointments of Principals for a ten-year period only. Requiring all Principals to complete a designated Master’s degree in Educational Management. Establishing an appropriately attractive pay scale for Principals. •

Making relevant expertise available to Boards of Management when selecting a new Principal.

Requiring Principals and teachers to draw up an agreed programme of professional development for each individual teacher, to be reviewed at the end of the school year.

Establishing a dedicated fund within the DES to which schools may apply to fund professional development for staff. Devolving greater autonomy to school Principals in the use of teaching and other resources.

Extending the National Pilot Project on Induction to all Primary and Secondary schools so that all new teachers get supervised on-the-job training during their probationary period.


We will consult with the education partners on this matter.

Mary Hananifn TD FIANNA FÁIL

The election process to the Teaching Council allows for a fair representation of teachers and Principals. The current head of the Council is a Deputy Primary Principal, while there are three Principals also.

Sen. John Minihan PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS I would certainly consider such a move.

Jan O Sullivan TD LABOUR

Labour is committed to giving Principals the support and professional development they need and would be prepared to discuss with the professional bodies representing Principals the working of the Teaching Council Act and its possible amendment to improve its inclusiveness.

Paul Gogarty TD GREE

The Green Party will carry out teaching of Irish at Primary lev drawn up to develop a well-pla language acquisition by Irish p date language acquisition meth be placed on general competence • The phased introduction o all-Irish college as part of t process at Primary level. • The inclusion of one ext schools that do not already Irish and would be rolled year period. • While suitable subjects wi recommend physical educat introducing wider use of Iris

Mary Hananifn TD FIA

A 25-strong team of Cuiditheo to provide teachers with improv initiatives include day camps reforming how Irish is taught a rather than abandoning it as ensuring that the emphasis on level is built on. Better materials also being developed.

Sen. John Minihan PRO

I will put measures in place t language and culture through t the Irish Language and Ireland’s in place the widest possible ran wish to raise their children th develop high-quality broadcast also provide special support speaking area. I will further education. I will initiate a revie to ensure that teachers are pr Irish language and that the tea

Jan O Sullivan TD LABO

We will: Actively support those children educated through Irish. R to the establishment and deve ensure that they have adequate teachers and facilities. Examin can be improved in Gaeltacht s will introduce a range of measu Irish in English medium school new Irish curriculum for Primary are native speakers of Irish and medium schools. Encourage, an of the gaelcolaistí. Tackle the cr quality of teachers capable of te third level institutions to expa through Irish and insist that De funded and maintained. We w reestablishing an Irish languag



ducation Partners regarding the format and role of the new Boards of Management taking u dations

total turnover of e time ers are required to sign m to serve on the BoM, ear statement that cted from a rents and teachers, community or nominated becoming a member of w act in a Corporate nger have a function in g or communicating ncy from which they

ons and responsibilities agement, and that each an active part in the e school. ust know the school, for the school as ed of Variation (c.f. k p. 11) ust be willing to uphold hos, culture and hool. uld be shared fairly members. New Board e invited to participate nd work. The new Board e helped by the more members in learning ons and the en the Board with the aff, patron, Minister for ce, the Department of ce, the INTO, NPC-P, agerial Bodies who on: Jewish Schools, Board; Educate Together ogether Patron of Ireland Schools, Education Board; Gaelscoileanna, CPSMA ls, Muslim Education

ch Board meeting hairperson, the M and the Principal) to issues affecting the

hed at each Board rded in the minute

meeting the BoM to port to the parents, chool community. role is one of facilitating an agenda of business

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with a view to achieving responsible collective decisions which, once agreed on, are upheld by all Board members as part of collective responsibility. These decisions are recorded in the BoM minute book. Decision making is achieved by consensus — voting is used only as a last resort. The Chairperson has a casting vote. Between meetings the chairperson, the Principal, the BoM secretary and the treasurer should communicate frequently. The chairperson reports back to the next meeting on issues and any decisions taken in between meetings by the officers of the Board and the Principal teacher. The Board of Management is required under the Education Act to assist the parents in the formation of a Parents’ Association. The Board members should have a good working relationship with the parents’ association, the teaching staff, the school staff, the patron and the school trustees. The Board should arrange from time to time meetings with (1) the school staff, (2) the Parents’ Association (3) the school trustees. Boards should be fair and consistent in making decisions on issues that affect the school staff, the pupils, parents and school trustees. Boards should host an annual celebration of the schools’ success with the staff and parents’ association. Boards, under the Education Act, are required to prepare an annual financial report which is made available to Parents’ Association, the Patron, the school trustees, the Minister for Education & Science and the officials of the DES. The BoM manages the school as ‘a body corporate’ on behalf of the patron in accordance with the regulations of the Minister for Education and Science.

A FRAMEWORK OF ROLES WITHIN AN EFFECTIVE & EFFICIENT BoM Below is a suggested ‘menu’ of delegated duties to share the workload of the BoM between all members. Overall responsibility still rests collectively with the BoM as a ‘corporate unit’. Specific school circumstances will dictate the exact nature of duties. CHAIRPERSON Responsibilities include: n


Official correspondence on behalf of school


Liaising with the Principal teacher between meetings


Preparing & monit with treasurer and


Setting the agenda consultation with t


Recruitment & employment related issues for all school staff


All capital projects — with trustees’ approval

RECORDING SECRETA Responsibilities include:


Signatures for cheques with treasurer or other member nominated by BoM

n n


Recording the decis Distributing agreed Principal) Minutes

TREASURER Responsibilities include:


The day-to-day management of the school, staff & pupils


All professional educational (teaching & learning) issues


Providing leadership to the overall school community


Reporting to each B finances, preparing consultation with t chairperson


Liaising with Princip bill payments and lo

www.te Would you like to be able to send a brief message to the parents in your school at short notice?

H se in

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.

Chairing BoM meetings


ASIDE T NOT OUT Principals allowance was worth to have his children dropped to school, picked up and fed each evening by a childminder. His move, which saw him take a teaching position closer to home now allows him to drop his children to school each day and be home by 3.30pm each evening to prepare their dinner, help with their homework and bring them to their clubs. He went on to say that he enjoyed his time as Principal but the job had changed substantially to the stage where the job of teaching and administering was becoming very difficult. As for the downsides of his decision, the seniority issue was something of a blow. He is annoyed that his many years as a Principal count for nothing pension wise. He strongly advocates the idea of a fixed term Principals contract, saying that more people would apply for Principalship if they knew they could give it a number of years and retain recognition for their services with the DES once they had stepped aside. He misses the 'buzz' you can get from Principalship. Another Principal admired what he had done and wished he could do the same. He felt however that people would think he wasn't up for the job and said he would stick it out as he only had a few years to go. The ex-Principal however said that he left his school on very good terms with everyone and has never regretted his decision. The benefits to his family have far outweighed any perceived loss of status.


PLANNING FOR PUPILS The recently established National Council for Special Education (N.C.S.E.) will oversee the implementation of the Education for Persons with Special Education Needs (E.P.S.E.N.) Act over the next 3 years. The last 2 editions of Leadership+ featured the time frame envisaged in implementing each individual section of the act. The E.P.S.E.N. Act promotes an inclusive approach and establishes vital channels of communication between the N.C.S.E. and the Health Service Executive. Compared to the pre 2005 model, the N.C.S.E. is better structured than the D.E.S. to deliver services to schools as there are now locally based co-ordinators of service known as Special Ed. Needs Organisors (S.E.N.O.’s) close to the customer base with decision making powers.

SPECIAL EDUCATION RESOURCES Provision for Special Needs has come a long way since 1998 when there was only 1500 Learning Support/Resource Teachers employed in our schools. Today over 5,500 LS/R Teachers provide a service in Mainstream Irish Schools. Special Needs Assistants support has increased substantially with over 8,250 S.N.A.’s employed in Mainstream and Special Classes at the last audit. The Special Education Support Service (S.E.S.S.) is now up and running providing long overdue training to Principals and Class Teachers and there will be provision for training of S.N.A.’s as the service expands. One of the key priorities of the D.E.S. and the N.C.S.E. is the facilitation of an inclusive attitude in schools and enhanced resourcing is crucial to ensuring this happens through improved quality of provision and outcomes.

NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION The key function of the Council is resource allocation and policy advice. This process is empowered through improved Health Service Executive collaboration and enhanced teacher capacity. Under the terms of the E.P.S.E.N. Act, the Council is charged with the responsibility for coordinating provision and reviewing resources. The Council also has the function of providing support services, ensuring a continuum of special education for each disability and monitoring student progress.

PROVISIONS OF THE ACT The Principal purpose of the E.P.S.E.N. Act is to enforce in law, the right of a person with special education needs to and appropriate inclusive education. This also ensures the right to an assessment, the right to an I.E.P. and the right to appeal decisions. Section 2 of the Act states "A child with Special Educational Needs shall be educated in an inclusive environment with children who do not have such needs unless the nature or degree of those needs of the child is such that to do so would be inconsistent with: n the best interest of the child as determined in accordance with any assessment carried out under the Act. n the effective provision of education for children with whom the child is to be educated." To achieve the objectives of the Act, one of the key provisions is to provide a legislative basis and a statutory framework for the introduction



The strong legal position enjoyed by the denominational schools in relation to admission policies comes at a heavy price.Patrons must appoint chairpersons and other members to Boards. Governance incorporates legal responsibilities in relation to staff and pupils. All extensions, renovations and indeed the day to day running costs demands an inordinate amount of time and fundraising, much of this done by the local parish. This gives the Church a strong moral as well as legal position, whilst at the same time trying to satisfy the requirements of non Church members.

ild Catholic Enough ace at school

t of people stating their ng other than Catholic. religion” are the biggest ost 99 percent of our th a religious ethos.


by all the Partners in for greater diversity in armuid Martin ( Catholic a speech last year stated es would be desirable, ial to Denominational ary of this year did the and Science announce a e for Primary schools to ot basis in Diswellstown ool in Dublin. The Patron County Dublin VEC and for religious education ording to the parent’s vide an option for an area on is not available.Other d recognition as Patrons as been evaluated.

he patron body for hools has stated it cannot schools for the time ming demand it contends stem for establishing t cases a Patron must set that it is viable before funding for permanent

rister Aideen Kinlen RSCJ ongregational leaders she ts; Denominational

ominational Schools have the Constitution, by ndings of the Courts,

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most noticeably the Supreme Court judgement on the constitutionality of the Employment Equality Act 1998. (3) These protections give Denominational Schools the right to appoint teachers from their own faith community and enrol pupils from their own church and to take all necessary steps to exercise these rights. (4) In order to exercise these rights , Religious Patrons must have clear statements of their purpose and policies and these statements must be readily available and known so that parents and potential candidates for employment know the terms stipulated by the school trustees with regard to intake and the selection of teachers. (5) Practice so far has lagged behind; The law would actually encourage advertisements for teachers committed to the denomination of the particular school but this is not explicated as it is in other countries with similar patronage rights .In England, Catholic school advertisements and interviews openly seek committed and practicing Catholics. Religious trustees in Ireland have the right to request Boards of Management to do likewise.

Given the vast changes in the fabric of Irish society it is fair to conclude that our education system needs to accommodate this transformation. However, it appears in spite of some misgivings, the Church is reluctant to cede control of the management of schools. Equally the state is in no position to encourage such a transfer of responsibility as it simply has given no thought to such an eventuality, nor is it sure that such a demand exists. Non believers will have to rely, as in the past on the generosity of spirit of denominational bodies to gain a place for their children in schools where demand exceeds supply. ‘‘School and Section 29 Appeals Committee in the Dock over the expulsion of a 16 year old pupil’’ In what is likely to be a test case, a 16 year old boys’ parents have been given leave for a judicial review by Mr. Justice Michael Peart in the High Court against his expulsion in a secondary school. This is the first time a decision of a Section 29 Appeals

Committee is being challen


The boy in question was p football match in which t playing against the studen In the closing stages of t penalty shootout. The bo winning save for the excitement the student r teacher and pulled down fell about 7 inches re buttock. The boy claimed were held by a string but claimed by the boy’s mo remorseful and realised stupidly’ towards a teac enormous respect. It was a in question accepted the had later joked about it changing rooms.


The boy was initially expelled. A Section 29 a the parents. The Appea appeal against the boys grounds for expulsion g somehow engaged in har harassment of the teache

GROUNDS OF THE APP The action against the B and Appeals committee re A) lack of fair procedu which the school deal alleged the boy was day after the inciden

OBSERVATION The extracts from Gráinne Faller’s article and Aideen Kinlen’s paper highlight two interesting viewpoints. On balance the Catholic and Church of Ireland patron bodies have governed lightly in regard to the issue of admission policies. Whilst they have issued guidelines in relation to admission policies, they appear not to police or actively seek the compliance of their Boards of Management. In essence they trust local Boards of Management to follow guidelines issued. I am not aware of sanctions or reprimands against Boards who have not ridgidly stuck to such guidelines.




enomination. The reality n quite different where and ministers are more oards of Management, difficulty of finding lay ough to take on the gly challenging job of

eraction, catechetics, has to the National teacher. on has been seen as an on a number of realities: minational make up of room in the country. ers are employed by the ol and the commitment a de facto part of the ational Teacher. hers were likely to be minational faith of their

eparation of children for decades, this has been with the Class Teacher lowed by the Priest who h parents last in the onal bystanders. Any nvolvement was always major advantage of the ence and comprehensive he school which meant d miss out on their pared for Sacraments.

s historical legacy it may till in the Churches’ best ue to take responsibility and management of lar, the employment of if their Primary concern eir own particular faith? crucial role the Church ment of schools, much ocial services, there has ment for the Churches ont-line involvement in ion in what has become ticultural society, ay are entirely different

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even from a mere decade ago. Gone are the days when the Parish Priest could come in and announce that he was hearing Confessions for all the children in the schools. With the number of clergy decreasing rapidly in most of the main Churches, there must surely be a sense of a need to focus personnel towards priority areas. One of these areas would be the provision of a proper chaplaincy service for schools and the support of the family in the Parish context in the preparation of children for Sacraments. A new programme called 'Do this in memory of me' is already operational in three dioceses. This programme is very much aimed at placing the onus back on parents to take decisions and be completely involved in preparing their children for the Sacraments.

FAITH FORMATION The day is gone when organised religion, in denominational form, is required to govern and manage schools. The Health Sector has handed over responsibilitv to the State for health care, not just at Governance and Management level, yet remains involved in the provision of healthcare. Fewer religious personnel are involved in clinical and therapeutic care. Those who are still available are predominantly involved in a chaplaincy capacity. Perhaps there is an opportunity for the State and the Churches who own school buildings to consider the value in trading ownership and control of schools in return for a proper State funded scheme to provide chaplaincy for all Primary Schools. Many National Schools today are in receipt of nothing more than a token chaplaincy service. This often arises from the reality that the clergy who are available at Parish level are tied up in management functions dealing with buildings, finance and employment related issues. This is not exactly the type of work that motivated their vocation in the first place. I believe this shift will happen, not just because someone will decide it's a good idea; it will happen because certain growing realities will force it to happen. The young generation of Teachers today are themselves children of a modern Ireland, many of whom have personal reservations about teaching religion and the faith formation of children. Virtually every


classroom in Ireland today has children of different Faiths and some of none. The more the school is associated with preparation for Sacraments and general faith formation, the greater the likelihood that that children will cease to practice once they leave Primary school if this practice is only associated with school. The more a school does for parents in faith formation, the more those parents are disempowered from ever having to make a decision or to play a meaningful role in their children's religious education. Interestingly, the only right enshrined in the Irish Constitution for children is the right to an education. We already experience the reality in our schools where a Principal may be trying to juggle the complicated logistics involved where some children have a Constitutional right to religious education and other children have an equal right not to experience such religious education whilst in the same classroom. We all accept that parents are the prime educators of their children. The school and the teacher play a supplementary supporting role to parents.

In September 20 development for and recommend Support Centre. outlining their in professional dev

There followed a which the object identified and th Spreagadh Progr

The overall progr approach and en positive learning Spreagadh progr

The initial pilot p Co. Cork in the p an evening progr nights. In the firs between the two

Following the suc of its effectivene the IPPN and LD and Blackrock in following year i.e comprising of tw Principals among

Let us stop for one moment and think about the fact that 99% of parents send their children to school to be educated by professional teachers. This, of course, is easy whether you are Jewish, Catholic or Church of Ireland. The mathematics programme is relevant to all and controversial to none. It is ironic however, that the one element of the curriculum which is unique to the values and beliefs of each individual family is the basis on which we have divided our children into different types of schools, namely religion. Surely this has to be the best argument of all why the teaching of religion and the faith formation of children must be a feature and responsibility of the family supported by the Parish/Community and not a responsibility of the school.

In September 20 the role and futu of,and need for, t 2006/2007 scho delivery over thre appointed dedica Education Centre

Ironically this may lead some day to Churches that are stronger and more confident with their role in modern society as well as a State system of 'National' Schools which is inclusive, not just for children with special needs and ethnic minorities but inclusive in the most challenging way of all.

The future of the model first moot

The number of a and the program The number of a to be added to th Kerry and Cavan/ is constantly evo LDS, and the loca providing profess needs, and to allo to clarify the issu

Aidan Me Evoy Programme Co-o LDS Team. PAG

on for ICT


ure policies and strategic

mary system should have ss to ICTs as an integral part perience. ompass an integrated, cross mly rooted in the principles based, collaborative and envisaged in the Primary

empowered to provide an nfrastructure, in terms of roadband connectivity and et these objectives, and any res will be enabled and igital status. will have continuous access pports and professional unities to enable them to ast of developments so that vide will be as relevant, ate as required.

sh schools falls far short of cipals felt their schools were echnology. 6.7% recognised d policy from DES in relation in Primary education. 1.5% el of financial supports their 3% stated that a significant frastructure is the result of rental support etc. IPPN whereby Primary schools are market tokens to provide pupils to use indicates their ic levels of technology and S as nothing short of an

t stagnation are well known n;

neral, and particularly since

ision or leadership. The lack plan by the DES has been initially enthusiastic and from the era of IT2000 have T in frustration

nts have led to a situation me impossible for school y meaningful framework for ment of technology

meaningful references or y integration in the delivery e since inception by PCSP in

the crucial issue of digital h a small number of notable

ation amongst the bodies d developing the education y Unit, TES, NCTE, NCCA, tion of teachers' motivation ology (a massive percentage en in-service professional time) due to points one and ilability of modern, reliable

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infrastructure in their schools The inability of the highly motivated and skilled ICT Advisor cohort to provide anything approaching a comprehensive service to schools due to lack of capacity and insufficient resources Recommendations 1. Funding: In the context of a six to seven year plan, and given that schools have had no financial support for over four years to purchase, upgrade or maintain their technology infrastructure, it is clear that the sum recently announced by the Minister is grossly insufficient to meet the requirements needed at both Primary and second levels of the education system. In the estimation of IPPN this sum needs to be trebled. IPPN therefore recommends that DES immediately initiate negotiations with central government for adequate resourcing. This allocation provides €46 per pupil per year (or €26 if one considers the absence of funding since 2002). Compare this to our closest OECD neighbour, the UK: "Capital investment per pupil has grown from £100 per pupil in 1997 and by 2011 we will be spending per student over £1,000 per year, a ten-fold increase. In the past 10 years IT investment has increased sevenfold, interactive whiteboard- and IT-based learning helping the teacher be more than a lecturer and a tutor as well". (Gordon Browne, Feb 2007) Given the drastic under-provision experienced by schools in recent years, IPPN suggests that serious consideration be given to a more radical approach to modernising Irish schools' infrastructure. Central purchasing of computers and digital content would result in considerable savings due to economies of scale. Additionally, to enable schools to forward-plan properly, maintenance and refresh contracts should be integrated into any successful tender. This crucial point ensures that teachers do not have to manage the choice, purchase and technical support for IT in schools. These measures have been adopted with a large degree of success in Northern Ireland. Additionally, all school ICT equipment (including teachers' personal computers) should be exempt from VAT. In the context of the acknowledged neglect of supports to schools' technology needs over the last four years, it is clear that an immediate and substantial injection of funding is required to enable schools update their technology infrastructure - in the areas of hardware, software and maintenance contracts. IPPN recommends therefore that the funding allocated to schools for this purpose be weighted heavily in years one and four of the period of the plan. This would enable school authorities to update their technology infrastructure at the earliest possible stage, but, additionally, and of equal importance, to put in place strategic targets and whole-school policies in the knowledge of future supports. And finally, consideration should be given to publicprivate partnerships where commercial interests are involved at an executive level at developing software, funding pilots, providing resources etc. With the proviso that curriculum integrity is actively safeguarded, these projects such as the Yamaha et al / Mayo Education Centre have much to offer. 2. Infrastructure: IPPN recommends that the nature of

technology deployment - such as computers in classrooms, laptop trolleys, computer rooms, interactive whiteboards etc. - should best be decided by schools themselves, according to every school's own particular needs and priorities, and in consultation with a properly constituted and resourced advisory / guidance service. To benefit from central purchasing for hardware and software, a scheme such as eLearning credits should be considered. Additionally, schools should be strongly encouraged to purchase computers with at least an onsite maintenance/support contract. In relation to infrastructure, it is now clear that broadband width allocated to Irish schools is patently insufficient. Additionally, school Principals whose schools are connected by satellite report frequently that their provision is totally unsatisfactory. Their service is not dependable, and when it does actually work, it is far too slow. IPPN recommends that DBS / NCTE take immediate steps to address these issues and establish minimum requirements. IPPN further recommends that the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources should finance broadband rather than coming from DES coffers.

Primary schools as an extrem the implementation of the f the Primary Curriculum, acro for all ages and ability gro powerfully supports the p individualised learning a recommended by DES, part the rapidly changing nature o

IPPN also recommend that all schools have a rich, engaging, current and pupil-driven school website. The school website should become an organic publishing centre for pupils' projects, achievements and an essential part of their digital literacy experience. Further, schools should use their website as a communications centre through which to communicate with parents, the wider community and the pupils outside of formal school time.

In the 2006 Principals' surve felt they had sufficient softw schools' needs. Only 12% of sufficient indigenous so appropriate to use with the re wish to emphasise the fact t actively engaged in using tec continued absence of appro underlines their perception itself, and lacking in relevance In relation to the choice software, schools should be e of budget on software / app we recommend that the NC based publication for schoo high quality proven software applicability of these a curriculum. This paper-base categorised by class level describe 'core software' (th which has proven so useful to into more breadth and detail Software Central for an over initiative would help address question about ICT, namely: for ..."

3. Digital Schools: IPPN has formally given its support to the NCTE Digital Schools initiative, launched by Minister Hanafin in 2006. The organisation is fully supportive of this scheme as it provides a practical, developmental framework for schools, rooted in the centrality of technology usage as a cross curricular tool for enhancing teaching and learning, and which puts the principles and strategies of the 1999 Primary Curriculum at the heart of all technology deployment. In a survey conducted by IPPN of Principals' attitudes to ICTs in late 2006, 82% of Principals indicated their interest in acquiring this status. IPPN recommends that this scheme be fully and substantially supported and expanded to facilitate the dissemination of best practice across the Primary system. IPPN recommends that schools achieving Digital School status be suitably rewarded for their efforts and additionally, that Digital Schools web portal be expanded significantly so that all schools can learn from the successful strategies implemented by such "beacon" schools. These schools have a great deal to offer other less developed schools in terms of their implementation strategies, priorities and successful practice. These are the schools that, despite all the obstacles, have managed to achieve the desirable situation where every pupil has regular and integrated access to technology, where vision has become a reality. Consideration should be given to creative ways by which these leading schools can articulate and demonstrate the critical success factors as requested by the Minister. Additionally, schools themselves have responsibility in the engagement, accountability and planning for the use of ICT resources. A partnershipagreed framework for such planning and reflection should be integrated into existing school planning. And finally, school Principals will be required to devise and plan policies, strategies and objectives upon which funding of ICT is contingent. IPPN suggests that it is not unreasonable that the DES formulate a similar set of plans encompassing targets, learning outcomes etc. so that schools will know they are operating within a system-wide framework. Please reference Appendix A for an exemplar of such a structure. 4. Digital content: IPPN views the use of ICTs in

Consequently, IPPN recomm paid as a priority to the prod of high quality interactive d groups and in every curricu areas unique to the Irish cu emphasise that this recom specifically to reference mate already exists, but to areas su geography and language, f Today's online environment resources such as Google an large amounts of generic refe what schools need, part indigenous, tailored, interact individual Irish curriculum.

5. Support services: Curre supported in the ICTs area b There are a number of diff resulting in the fact that ma receive a minimal amount professional development. T the unequal numbers of s advisors across the country current advisors come from a In addition, the role of th between that of the Educati role. IPPN recommends that be clarified and redefined to p schools. It is unrealistic to exp no matter how committed, understanding of the consequently, if technology d the implementation of the Pr necessary to organise the experienced teachers from a available to advise and guid This is a fundamental requ receive adequate and effectiv to prepare and implement the school as an integral part and development, and to e embedded in teaching an curriculum. In relation to teachers' role PAG

es of employers under the Safety, re at work Act 2005?

ovides that the employer s reasonably practicable welfare at work of all his dentifies a number of hich an employer must

hat the employer must: ct work, to ensure the welfare at work of all his

onduct or behaviour yees health and safety at

place. This includes the nd fabric of a building, ature, lighting clearly

in a safe means of his includes both egress as well as confined spaces and

n n


Section 8 provides that an employer is under a general duty to provide employees with the necessary information, to ensure their safety and health at work. Section 9 sets out in greater detail the types of information on safety, health and welfare required to be given by employers to employees under section 8. n

in safe plant and udes guarding of machinery electrical substances that are

e, vibration or radiation s of work in welfare facilities d, sanitary facilities, eal-taking facilities etc. the necessary ction, training and re their safety and

ssessment required d the preparation of t under section 20, the de on and implement nd welfare measures y be eliminated the ide and maintain and equipment as e emergency plans in mphasis is on ol or eliminate hazards. tective equipment is as a secondary response e requirement that the tained means that the a follow up mechanism quipment provided is ontinues to be up to

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Prepare adequate plans to be followed in emergencies e.g. chemical spills as well as fire Employers may be required by regulations to report to the Health and Safety Authority (or to any other body given functions under section 33) accidents to employees and dangerous occurrences Employers must retain, where necessary, the services of a competent person to help them meet their safety and health obligations.


n n



The information must be in a form, manner and language that is reasonably likely to be understood. This is particularly important when dealing with foreign nationals It must include information on hazards, risks and measures taken as regards safety, health and welfare and the names of emergency staff and safety representatives Employees of another employer working in the place of work must also be informed The competent persons appointed under section 18 and safety representatives, if any, must be given additional information on risk assessment, on accidents and dangerous occurrences and information resulting from experience of applying protective measures The employer must also give fixed-term and temporary employees information on any potential risk, on health surveillance and on any skills required for the job An employer who hires an employee through a temporary employment business must inform them about the skills required for the job and its specific features and ensure the information if passed on to the employees. The temporary employment business is obliged to give the same information to employees.

Section 10 sets out in greater detail the type of instruction, training and supervision required to be given by employers to employees under section 8.

Training must be provided to employees: l On recruitment l In the event of the transfer of an employee or change of task assigned to an employee l On the introduction of new work equipment, systems of work or changes in existing work equipment or systems of work l On the introduction of new technology.

l l


l Employers are obliged to instruct employees of another employer carrying out work in their places of work of any risks. Fixed-term and temporary employees must be given appropriate training, taking account of their qualifications and experience. The Act outlines the type of training that should be provided. n

n n



Instruction and training must be given in a form, manner and language that can be understood (particularly by those who do not use English as their first language) Such training must include information and instructions in the job to be carried out Training must also include information and instructions on any emergency measures that need to be taken Training must be adapted to changed circumstances or new risks and be repeated periodically Training must be provided free of charge to employees and if required employees must be released from work for training and without loss of pay.

Section 8 provides that an employer is under a general duty to have plans and procedures for emergencies in place to ensure the safety and health at work of his employees. Section 11 sets out in greater detail the measures to be taken in emergencies. The emergency plans and procedures must set out the procedures to be followed when: l Applying first aid l Fire-fighting l Evacuating employees and others present in the work place, where there is an emergency or serious and imminent danger. The employer must: l Establish appropriate contacts with the emergency services l Ensure a sufficient number of employees have been properly trained in the applying first aid, fire fighting and evacuation of fellow employees


Provide employees w equipment Employees must be i and the protective m cases of emergency a Procedures must be employees when the serious and imminen The employer to also procedures for decid is entitled to stop wo emergency or seriou Where there is serio present in part of th employer must ensu given appropriate ins

Workers may not be re resume work while this danger continues. An penalised for leaving the safe place if he reasona was an emergency or danger section 27.

Section 12 addresses employers and the self other than their employe

It provides that an emp conduct his business, s practicable, so that othe place of work are not, expo health or welfare.

This would cover membe visitors to a place of w uninvited visitors, in oth

Section 15 of the 1989 duties of employers to co

This has particular rele sites where many of the be independent contract

Section 15 imposes dutie control over a place of w as is reasonably practicab l The place of work, is to health l Access to and egress are safe and without l Any article of substa work is safe and with

Finally, Section 23 of the employer, subject to the PAG

EMENT such claims. In effect a Board, or a member of a Board, who do not consciously set out to commit a criminal act are provided with cover in the dispensation of their duties. Critically the cover provided under the Allianz policy includes legal liability which attaches to the Board of Management, collectively and individually, as a consequence of a criminal act by an employee or other person for whom the Board is responsible. It is correct to state that the policy does not afford any protection to the perpetrator of any such criminal act, however this does not affect the indemnity provided to the Board of Management. In such a circumstance, Indemnity is provided not only to the Board of Management as a Corporate Body, but also to each individual member of the Board of Management. Courtesy Allianz Insurance

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SUPERVISION FOR MIDM LUNCHTIME BREAKS IN Primary Circulars 27/02 and 18/03 outline clearly the role of the teacher with a special duties post in a two teacher school. A two teacher school, for the payment of the allowance, is defined as a school with a Principal and one mainstream class teacher. Payment of the allowances is subject to the Board of Management agreeing the duties to be performed with the teacher and specifying the duties in writing. Payment is also subject to the teacher satisfactorily performing the duties of the post. Circular 18/03 states that each two teacher school is entitled to 122 hours supervision. The 2nd teacher in a two teacher school who is in receipt of the Special Duties Allowance must undertake 28 hours of this supervision and is receiving payment for this in the special duties allowance. Consequently the balance of supervision hour's payable for such schools under the terms of this circular is 94 hours. Paragraph 5.1 of the circular states that a full time teacher who undertakes supervision duties in a Primary school must opt to provide a minimum of 37 hours supervision per school year. In 2 teacher schools,

SUPERVISION OF PUPILS SCHOOL OPENING HOU One of the most frequently asked questions we receive when the challenging subject of supervision is being addressed is what level of supervision should be in place in schools before and after the official start and finish times of the school day. Under the legal principle of "in loco parentis" the duty of care imposed on a school is to take such care of pupils as a careful parent would of his/ her children. The school has a duty to supervise pupils at all times during which they are in the charge of the school, it' the school allows access to the school premises before the official opening hours then the duty to supervise applies. In ihe same way, where pupils are on the school premises after hours a similar duty applies. It is not unusual for parents to leave their children at the school some time before the start of the school day, and likewise collect their children some time after school finishes. While parents are not entitled to arbitrarily attempt to absolve themselves from their responsibility for the safely of their children, such action by parents does not wholly absolve the school of their responsibility to provide supervision. Unfortunately this is a dilemma which holds little sway with the courts who will argue that the practice of parents leaving pupils at a school before hours or collecting ihem after hours is one which is known to schools, and within acceptance of that fact there is an obligation to provide supervision. Nevertheless schools can alleviate the potential exposure to claims in this regard by issuing a letter/note to all parents at the beginning of term advising them of the times during which the school can accept responsibility for their children. Such a letter/note is effectively in the form of a disclaimer and can prove to be a useful deterrent against claims PAG

AR 0139/2006 We are deeply concerned about the implications for the Principal and for the Board of Management of implementing the terms of Circular 0139/2006. This circular deals with the performance appraisal of staff in a manner which has not been done before. There has been no clear information, guidance or training on this matter for Principals or for the board. We would respectfully request that clear information, guidance and training be provided on this matter before it is implemented in this school. We consider that implementing such a new measure without an understanding of the implications it contains may lead to anomalies and difficulties in the future. IPPN would advise all Principals to raise this matter with their boards and to have on record their concern about the implications of this circular for the Principal and the Board. We would also advise that SNAs be kept appraised by the board of relevant developments..

ps for Community tions.

NCCA Issue New Gui for Teachers of Studen General Learning Dis NCCA are currently circulating 'guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities. Informed by the consultation process that followed the release of the Draft Guidelines in 2002, the latest publication features both revised and new materials. It should prove a valuable resource for teachers facilitating the learning of students with mild, moderate, severe and profound general learning disabilities. To allow teachers to choose what is relevant to them, the guidelines are published in digital pack form, which includes the overview booklet and a CD Rom. While many children with the various categories of general learning disabilities have similar needs, teachers can select from guidelines what is appropriate to their students own needs. There is a total of 29 sets of Guidelines for Primary Education – Curriculum areas covered at Primary level – for teachers of students with mild, moderate, severe and profound learning disabilities are:l Communication and Language l Gaeilge l Mathematics


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Principal for a number

f Administrative or all schools with 400 an additional Deputy additional 200 pupils. bstitute cover for cipals when they are ted work. Currently the expected to run the eir class in such

y/Administrator paid at lent to an SNA to be school with 200 pupils uster of smaller schools more

ly resource and fund n of the EPSEN Act' as ational Council for t is essential that the d is adhered to. f the General Allocation ssary in light of the ates outlined in the eport of the EPSEN Act'. wed the option to take ng support/resource chool. heme for administrative or larger schools and for n schools with autistic

extended to all schools ncy gthening of SENO s including Hospital

kload Issues

In –School to be agreed and f urgency. No review e introduced in 1996. ment of the role of d aspiring aders (See Giorraíonn 2006) mendations submitted group on Principals’

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School Funding n Increased capitation grant to that of 2nd level schools to remove the need for schools to fundraise for basic running costs n Specific funding for professional development budget for Principals and staff as required under section 9(j) of the Education Act to be provided by the DES n Agreed rate of remuneration for professional expenses incurred as per public service rates. Pay and Conditions n A seven year contract for the post of Principal in Primary schools with the option of seeking reappointment in same or other school. (See Green Paper 1992 / also Quality leadership Quality learning 2006) n A step down facility(See White Paper 1995) for Principals who have served seven years or more with the option of retaining Principals allowance and pension rights applicable to the length of time that the Principal has served in that role n The restructuring of salary / rewards system for the Education Sector with a separate salary scale for each of five grades ie Principals, Deputy Principals, Assistant Principals, Special Duties Teachers and Teachers n Base salary on teaching and ancillary staff to reflect the huge increase in the number of SNAs being managed in addition to teaching staff. n The elimination of salary anomalies which prevent Deputy Principals from applying for the post of Principal

education system. The underlying basis of the suggestions are based on a broad conception of leadership across the profession, which includes teacher leadership, middle-level leadership, Principal leadership and other consultant roles. The goal is to dramatically increase leadership across the system. Organisational and system change needs to be the focus, and a critical mass of leaders working on this agenda is required for the status quo to be transformed. Further – and this is key – the establishment of the new role of the Principalship should be pursued in a manner that builds the rapport among the IPPN, the teachers unions and the government. System development, to be successful, must involve the key system elements.

1 Establish a formal process to review the role Establish a formal process to engage all parties in the debate on redefining the role of the Principalship to ensure that it is clear that the highest priority be placed on the role of school leaders in developing the capacity of the school to improve teaching and learning within and across schools. This omnibus recommendation should include in its terms of reference the subsequent three recommendations.

3 Focus on recruitm

Establish policies an cultivating, recruiting Principals. Recommend some way towards ma more attractive, thereby of the pool of educa position. There then ne to develop leadership ca the role. Recognising Leadership Developm programme should und the context of the rec paper. Formal mentorin of teachers as possible be one example of deve leaders. If the practice other leaders’ that I established among incu would be a pipeline of fu being developed. Clust recommendation 4 w mechanism for widenin In any case, overall ther for cultivating and suppo of future school leaders,

2 Revise the contract for Principals Address explicitly the formal contractual nature of the role of the Principal. This would include such matters as: 2.1 Provide significantly more leadership/noncontact time for Teaching Principals, including the expectation to participate in clusters of schools;

Other Priorities n Classroom assistant for all infant classes n The introduction of a nationally agreed enrolment policy for all schools which provides a fair and equitable basis for all pupils to access their local school regardless of their religion, ethnicity, special needs, political status etc n National database for schoolchildren introduced as a matter of urgency to provide the requisite information for future planning and decisions in the education and other sectors

2.2 The Teaching Principal and the administrative designations need updating or, indeed, replacing as labels, especially the administrative label;

Appendix 1 Recommendations for Government

2.6 Professionalise and strengthen selection procedures for appointing Principals, including providing guidelines and training for those making decisions;

The purpose of all the recommendations is to raise the bar for making the Principalship a stronger force for improvement in the Irish

2.7 Consider how peop are chosen.

2.3 Offer new Principalships on a 5–7 year contract; 2.4 Establish an appropriately attractive pay scale for Principals; 2.5 Allow Deputy Principals to be appointed from outside as well as inside the school;

4 Develop strategie clusters

One version would ap another to schools wit There is already cons interest in clusters in example, Ray McIner thesis). As McInerney a there are many forms different labels (fede collobaration, etc.), purposes being serve highlight establishing clusters that focus on th and get deeply at mat learning cultures of par study of networks in found that effective characteristics:

4.1 They are designed idea or aspirational

4.2 They focus on pupi

4.3 They create new o learning;


Leadership+ Issue 38 May 2007  
Leadership+ Issue 38 May 2007