a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1

ISSUE 113 / APRIL 2020


The more the hurry,

the less the speed

Getting started with payment in schools Convenient



The future of payments How consumers pay has fundamentally changed with the introduction of new technologies, like mobile and contactless payments. The scale of change over the next ten years will be even more dramatic due to developments in areas like biometrics and the Internet of Things, which mean that customers could pay for a coffee with their fingerprint or for their petrol from the dashboard of their car, without even stepping foot in-store.

Benefits of accepting electronic payments Offering parents the option to pay by card can improve their payment experience and can benefit schools and colleges significantly. Benefits include improved reporting and visibility, and the reduction in resource involved in managing cash payments enabling schools to redeploy valuable teaching and administration time.

BOIPA offers transparent pricing, exceptional service and a free and simple set-up. We’ve teamed up with Way2Pay to provide a cashless payment solution for schools allowing parents to ‘pay by text’ with just a few clicks. www.BOIPA.com/Way2Pay

As the world’s largest processor and payments advocate, Worldpay can provide the innovation and technology you need. Worldpay delivers the reach, revenue and responsiveness to take payments into the future. www.worldpay.com

With more than 750 schools across Ireland currently processing with us, Elavon is the market leader in payment solutions in the education sector. We’re proud to partner with Aladdin, the software behind great schools. www.elavon.ie

Here to help For more information go to visa.ie or contact the payment providers who would be happy to discuss solutions to meet your needs.

At AIBMS we know that one size does not fit all. That’s why we can tailor a payment solution for your school. Our customers include 200 schools using Easy Payments Plus, Way2Pay and Aladdin solutions. We process over 150,000 school payments each year. www.aibms.com


Professor Anne Looney on the trials and tribulations of being the chair of a Board of Management


Early Mobile Phone Ownership


In this article we discuss what impact early mobile phone ownership is having on child development


Instructional Leadership Karen Devine tells us about a professional development programme to enhance learning and teaching repertoires in our schools


David Ruddy discusses the recent case of a school principal who successfully overturned the Board of Management decision to dismiss her

Frontloading of SNAs




Chairing a Board of Management

Legal Diary

Brian O’Doherty discusses the frontloading of SNA posts based on the school’s allocation of special education teachers, as part of a new School Inclusion Model

Left to Their Own Devices






+ Leadership

In this issue, we look at chapters 3 and 4 of the report, contrasting ICT resources in school with those in the home Irish Primary Principals’ Network, Glounthaune, Co. Cork • 1890 21 22 23 • www.ippn.ie n n

n n n n

Editor: Geraldine D’Arcy Editorial Team: Geraldine D’Arcy, Páiric Clerkin and Damian White Comments to: editor@ippn.ie Advertising: adverts@ippn.ie ISSN: 1649-5888 Design: Brosna Press

The opinions expressed in Leadership+ do not necessarily reflect the official policy or views of IPPN

Signposts ISSUE 113 / APRIL 2020


IPPN SUMMER COURSES 2020 IPPN will be offering two summer courses during the month of July.

Ciall Ceannaithe – Online: July 1st to 31st

Ciall Ceannaithe runs for the month of July. Following successful completion, participants will be better equipped and more effective in dealing with the following areas of their role: n



Staff relations


Staff communications


Curriculum leadership


School Self Evaluation


Relationship management with children, parents, Boards of Management, DES


Personal development


Professional development


Wellbeing – work/life balance.

Effective School Leadership - Blended: July 1st to 7th

Effective School Leadership is a one-week blended course which will take place in three venues and is open to all school leaders. The education centres hosting the course this year are Sligo, Laois and Wexford. The blended course consists of three days face-to-face on Wednesday 1st, Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd, followed by two days online.

This course will aim to assist school leaders to: n

Reflect on and improve their leadership skills


Improve their planning as leaders


Discuss and exchange elements of best practice with other principals through collaborative learning and professional dialogue


Plan for improvements in literacy and numeracy in their schools for better outcomes for pupils


Discuss and develop strategies for school selfevaluation and PIEW


Become more time-efficient and more aware of empowering the school community through the suitable delegation of tasks


Become more effective communicators in oneto-one and group settings


Reflect on self-care within a challenging work environment and set targets to achieve a healthier work/life balance


To address national priorities identified by the Department of Education and Skills in terms of wellbeing, school self-evaluation, driving school improvement and managing change


To address new policies and legal issues and discuss their impact on school leaders


The operation of SEN including the new SNA front-loaded model.

Full course information is available on www.ippn.ie Pending DES approval


April 2020

The more the hurry,


the less the speed

to support school leaders in their decisions and the effect on their workload.

School leaders are not a homogenous group. We differ wildly in many ways across philosophies, approaches, priorities, experience, challenges and locations. Everyone, however, wants their school to be the very best it can be, providing the best education possible. School leaders lead change and oversee its implementation. Change always provides challenges but is always suggested as a way to improve what is already in place, to provide a service that is proven through verifiable research, to be the best use of resources, deliverable by those with responsibility for its implementation. Such research is usually carried out through a pilot scheme, through which processes can be road-tested over a reasonable time period and unseen implications and glitches can be ironed out before full implementation. The term ‘front-loading’ brings to mind the old adage ‘the more the hurry, the less the speed’. Front-loading of SNA resources seems like a good idea, one with much to recommend it. A pilot scheme is in place involving 75 schools. To date, however, just one meeting involving only 11 of the pilot schools has taken place by way of assessing a process which the Department of Education and Skills (DES) wishes to implement fully in September.

At both a recent meeting with senior officials in the Special Needs Section and at the Primary Education Forum, IPPN have reiterated the serious issues raised, including concerns over the sufficiency of a school’s

PÁIRIC CLERKIN AND DAMIAN WHITE allocation and that the system is responsive to need when it is not sufficient. Serious concern was also raised as to the accuracy of data informing school allocations which is the same data used for the 2017 SET allocation process. In the meantime, three cohorts of children have left all schools and three more have arrived. See Brian O’Doherty’s article on page 12 for more details. For school leaders, there are huge challenges and grave concerns over their new role in distributing supports from the resources allocated and the potential for challenge from those who may feel that their child is insufficiently supported.

Twice during our annual conference over the past few years, principals have received hugely distressing news involving families in their schools. Since this year’s conference alone, two schools have lost principals while others have suffered terrible tragedies. For all the wonderful work, excellent teams, choirs, projects and displays, perhaps the most important work happens when school communities come together to support each other in extreme circumstances, when local schools come together to help lift the cloud from over colleagues and friends. To all of those whose school has suffered a sad loss, or where tragedy has struck, we offer our sincere sympathy and our on-going support. If you are suffering as a school leader, do not suffer alone. We are a network and we support each other through every circumstance.  The Leadership Support service is there if you need it. If you need to, please make that call. 

Our position is fully supported by both INTO and the management bodies. All of us advocated at the recent Forum for a delay in the implementation of the SNA Front-loading Model until September 2021. By then, the pilot will have been fully tested, data updated to create more accurate school profiles, a responsive appeals mechanism established and a framework created



‘School Principal Successfully Overturns Board of Management Decision to Dismiss Her’ The High Court Judicial Review C.D. And The Board of Management of a National School Barr J, December 2019 BACKGROUND The case arose after an SNA made 17 allegations in the spring of 2016 concerning the Principal’s treatment of ‘Child A’, a four-year-old girl, and six allegations regarding her treatment of ‘Child B’, a nine-year-old boy. It was alleged that the principal ‘hurt’ Child A, over a 30-minute period, caused red marks to appear on one of her wrists and ‘chunks‘ to be taken out of her hands, and made her stand for periods during her lunch breaks.


It was alleged that the principal ‘hurt’ Child A, over a 30-minute period, caused red marks to appear on one of her wrists and ‘chunks‘ to be taken out of her hands, and made her stand for periods during her lunch breaks. The principal denied the allegation. She and another teacher said ‘Child A’ was prone to saying she was ‘hurt’ when she did not want to do something. The principal also said the SNA was not present during the 30-minute period and another teacher had said she saw no incident where the girl was hurt.

In relation to ‘Child B’, it was alleged that the principal treated him very unfairly, made him do work inappropriate to his age and educational status, and made derogatory comments about him to another child to eat up their lunch or ‘Child B’, who was obese, would eat it. She denied those claims. The allegations prompted an investigation by the Board of Management. It was referred to Tusla and the principal was placed on administrative leave. Tusla informed the Board later in 2016 that it saw no need to involve its social work department in the matter. The Board continued with its investigation. It commissioned an independent expert to interview the staff. Following the report and a disciplinary hearing of over six hours, the Board voted to dismiss the principal.


The Board initiated the disciplinary process under section 24 of the Education Act 1998 and as outlined by Circular 60/09. It commenced the proceeding at stage (4). The principal appealed the decision to the Teachers’ Disciplinary Appeals Panel (DAP). The DAP allowed the appeal, recommending the reinstatement of the principal with no sanctions. The Board of Management decided to ignore the DAP recommendation (as a Board is entitled to do). On foot of this action by the Board, the principal initiated the judicial review. JUDGEMENT Mr Justice Barr said the principal, who denied the allegations, was entitled to be given adequate reasons by the school’s Board of Management for the dismissal. He stated that she got nothing beyond being effectively told in a letter that ‘We did not believe you, therefore you iCard_Leadership_Advert.pdf are being dismissed’.

There was no evidence of any consideration by the Board as a whole of the evidence put before it and the principal was not told whether all the allegations against her were deemed to have been proven or not, and if not, which of them had been. The dismissal letter issued to the principal didn’t give substantive reasons for the dismissal apart from one Board Member saying he voted for dismissal after listening to the evidence and ‘because the children in the case have blossomed since’. The judge stated that was ‘irrelevant and irrational’ and the other reasons given were equally deficient’. While having considerable sympathy for the Board Members as lay people, probably without legal or adjudicatory experience, they were required to, and capable of, giving reasons beyond the ‘extremely and vague‘ letter 1 12/12/2019short 15:15:28

dismissing the principal from a post she had held for 20 years. The dismissal had ‘profound’ consequences financially and for her standing in the community. This case concerned only the legality of the process leading to the dismissal. OBSERVATION The courts have previously held that a Board’s decision to ignore a DAP decision will not be entertained unless there is some fundamental breach of procedures by a DAP. The Board was entitled to initiate stage (4) of the disciplinary process given the seriousness of the allegations, even though Tusla had found nothing in its investigation. If you would like to contact David concerning this article you may do so at druddy@mhc.ie










LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Chairing a Board of Management How hard can it be?

PROFESSOR ANNE LOONEY EXECUTIVE DEAN, DCU INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION I chair the Board of Management (BoM) of an Irish primary school. It’s a large vertical school under Catholic patronage, oversubscribed, with great parental support and engagement. I’ve also been CEO of two state agencies, working with complex governance arrangements, involving Board engagement, financial accountability, reporting requirements to government departments and agencies, and the many layers of regulation that come with public accountability and scrutiny. When I became Chair of the BoM of a primary school, I thought I was ready; surely my experience to date would stand me in good stead. It’s a primary school, after all. How hard could it be? Very hard indeed, it turns out. All of the governance ‘apparatus’ the public sector applies to primary schools – Freedom of Information, GDPR, Safeguarding, HR strategies, as well as Health and Safety and Ethos, for good measure. Add in enrolment and admissions and SEN, and it would be enough to send many an Institute of Directors graduate running for the hills, not to mind the group of well-meaning, committed volunteers, amateurs (including myself) that comprise the Board of which I am the Chair. Recently, we recruited a principal the most important appointment that a school could make in the interests of the hundreds of children who pass through the school gates on a daily basis. I’m lucky to work in an office


with a printer where I have the support of a full-time PA with endless patience. Also, we have meeting rooms. We set up a WhatsApp group of other Board Chairs – offering sage advice and insights into how to navigate the huge circular on recruitment. But, what happens in a small school, for example, where the Chairperson might not be lucky enough to have administration support, or where there might not be enough willing amateurs to take on Board responsibility? And what of the principal in the scenario of what I like to call ‘shaky’ governance? Even more responsibility falls to her/him in supporting the enthusiastic amateur Board. Yes, I’ve heard of cases where the principal tells the Chairperson of the Board what to do. The principal completes the task, or signs the document, or authorises and approves the decision because, regulations or not, things have to get done, and the hard-pressed Chair has enough to do. I’ve been particularly struck by the challenges that must be faced by principals of smaller schools, without the sounding board of deputy principals and in-school management teams as a support, or even a counterbalance in facing the complex decisions and unforeseen scenarios that present themselves on a daily basis. Irish primary schools are the last still-functioning public service for children and the place where all the

other issues spill over from the other no-longer-functioning public services (like mental health, for example) and come to rest, and roost. I know that IPPN and INTO have long championed the need for additional ‘admin’ time for the ‘teaching principal’. However, administration is not the problem. The real challenge is system governance – good and fair decision-making, accountable and transparent use of resources, and the application and implementation of policy as intended. Good system governance is transacted between a principal and a functioning, skilled and supportive Board and Chairperson. As luck would have it, circumstances have conspired to give me Board colleagues who tick those boxes; but that was a matter of serendipity. For those who work and learn in our primary schools, school governance is too important to leave to chance, or to enthusiastic amateur volunteers, when you can find them. I’m not whistleblowing (and yes, we have a policy for that). I’m saying that, from this Chair’s perspective, we are in the last period of extra time for our current governance model for primary schools. It can’t and won’t continue. See Anne’s bio at dcu.ie. https://www. dcu.ie/institute_of_education/people/ Anne-Looney.shtml. She tweets at @ annelooney. LINK

April 2020


Are you looking for a postgraduate programme that can help you to develop and enrich your knowledge and practice in education? Do you aspire to a leadership position in education? Trinity has been inspiring generations for over 400 years. Postgraduate programmes in the School of Education are flexibly arranged to fit with the busy schedule of today’s professionals. Check out our course websites and see what Trinity can do for you.

Postgraduate Certificate in 21st Century Teaching and learning A Level 9 Certificate which can be used as an entry route to a master’s level qualification. Selected topics include digital literacy, collaborative teaching and learning, programming and educational leadership. https://www.tcd.ie/Education/programmes/certificate21Century-Teaching-Learning/

Professional Master of Education (PME) Graduates of this full-time, 2-year degree are recognised by the Teaching Council to teach in post-primary schools. 9 subject areas available. https://www.tcd.ie/Education/programmes/pme/

Doctor of Education (D.Ed.)

Critical Perspectives on Education

A practice-oriented research-based doctorate especially suited to mid-career and advanced professionals who want to deepen their own practice and/or pursue leadership positions. The flexible part-time format enables professionals to continue working, while advancing their learning and their understanding of research in their area of expertise. Programme involves completion of taught modules and a thesis.

Drama in Education


Early Intervention

Higher Education

Language Education

Leadership and Management in Education

Mathematics Education

Special Educational Needs

Master in Education (M.Ed) Study full-time (1 year) or part-time (2-3 years). Specialisms include:


Programme entails completion of taught modules and a dissertation.

Students select an area of enquiry and work under the supervision of designated supervisors to demonstrate a range of high-level learning outcomes and skills. Students can develop knowledge and skills in research methods, communication, leadership, innovation and career management. Programme involves completion of taught modules and a thesis. https://www.tcd.ie/Education/programmes/doctoral/ structured-phd/


Application dates vary by programme. Check website for details. Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

7 www.tcd.ie

LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Teaching Council

Updates on Droichead and Vetting

MARIA FITZGERALD HEAD OF REGISTRATION, THE TEACHING COUNCIL This article is intended to update school principals on the progress made in the operation side of the Droichead and vetting processes by the Teaching Council.

this occurs, the former PST member should sign and date the Form D before leaving. The NQT should contact the Council for advice relating to his/her particular circumstances.

DROICHEAD This year is the penultimate year of the growth phase of Droichead, the integrated induction programme for newly qualified teachers (NQTs). The number of NQTs availing of Droichead has grown significantly since September 2017 when the updated Droichead policy was introduced. In the current school year, over 960 primary and special education schools offered Droichead to more than 1,830 NQTs. Overall, in excess of 3,100 NQTs teaching in more than 1,460 schools participated in Droichead during the 2019/2020 school year.

FORM D On completion of the Droichead process, the NQT completes a Form D in consultation with the school’s PST and submits this to the Council. All members of the PST are required to sign the completed form, not just the individual team member who may have acted as mentor to the NQT.

It is important for principals to note that, from September 2020, Droichead will be the only route of induction available to NQTs. Probation via the Inspectorate will no longer be available. Should schools wish to offer Droichead, the first step is to register for Professional Support Team (PST) training which is delivered by the National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT). As with all new processes, a number of queries and situations have arisen each year which are addressed in updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The following areas are currently relevant to primary principals: ADDITIONAL SUPPORT Where a school or NQT participating in Droichead needs additional support, the NIPT should be contacted. The earlier this is done, the better, as this will help ensure the best possible outcome for all involved. CHANGES TO THE PST Where a teacher who was involved in the PST leaves the school, either on a leave of absence or to take up a new job, the school should notify the NIPT to discuss their options. This is especially important if this is mid-year and where a new PST member might require training in order to continue Droichead with an NQT employed in the school. Where 8

Useful Information and links: ■■ Droichead queries can be emailed to conditions@teachingcouncil.ie ■■ Droichead FAQs https://www. teachingcouncil.ie/en/FAQs/ Droichead-2017/ LINK ■■ NIPT website www.teacherinduction.ie LINK ■■ NIPT Queries can be emailed to info@teacherinduction.ie VETTING The Council has a dual mandate in vetting teachers: 1. Vetting for registration purposes i.e. applicants for registration or teachers renewing registration 2. Vetting registered teachers for employment purposes. It is worth noting under point two that the Council does not have a legal remit to vet non-registered individuals for teaching or substitution purposes. In September 2018, the Council commenced the re-vetting of all teachers who held the old paper-based vetting. Since then, a total of 38,500 teachers complete the new e-Vetting under the National Vetting Bureau (NVB). Starting in February 2020, the Council began the re-vetting of teachers on a three-yearly cycle. Going forward, this means that each month a group of teachers will be asked to apply for re-vetting based on their registration renewal date and the date of their previous NVB vetting. It is important that teachers comply with the twostage process as quickly as possible once requested.

The outcome of the vetting process is a ‘Disclosure’, which is a legal term and is applied to all outcomes irrespective of content (i.e. clear, convictions or specified information). The vetting disclosure is made available to the teacher via Digitary, a secure online portal, allowing the teacher to share the document with employers and move between schools without being re-vetted. Useful Information and links: ■■ Vetting Queries can be emailed to vetting@teachingcouncil.ie ■■ Vetting information including video is available at https:// www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/ Vetting-Re-vetting/ LINK ■■ Vetting FAQs https://www.teachingcouncil. ie/en/FAQs/Vetting-1/ LINK DID YOU KNOW? The Council is required by law to make the Register of Teachers available to the public. The Council’s website hosts a Search the Register function, which allows members of the public to search the Register for limited teacher information. Principals may wish to see the registered teachers who have included the school’s roll number on their registrations. This can be done by clicking on Search the Register and then entering the school roll number into the search options. This will return a list of all the teachers who have inserted the school’s roll number against their individual registration records. Searches under name and/or Teaching Council Registration number can also be undertaken. Useful Link to Search the Register: ■■ https://www.teachingcouncil. ie/Website/en/Registration/ Register-of-Teachers/ Search-the-Register/ Search-the-Register.html LINK General Information and Contact: ■■ Teaching Council website www.teachingcouncil.ie LINK ■■ Queries can be emailed to info@teachingcouncil.ie 8

April 2020

The Draft Primary Curriculum Framework NCCA EARLY CHILDHOOD AND PRIMARY TEAM

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has published the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework as part of the review and redevelopment of the primary curriculum. The Primary School Curriculum (1999) was published over twenty years ago and since then, much has changed in Irish society. This is reflected in our diverse classrooms and in the demands for a primary school experience to do more for children. There is now a need and an opportunity to revisit the curriculum as a whole and to ask key questions: ■■ What is the purpose of a primary education when we think about the next 15 years? ■■ What priorities, structure and components within a curriculum can support this?

There is now a need and an opportunity to revisit the curriculum as a whole and to ask key questions The draft framework addresses these questions by setting out proposals for a future primary curriculum. These proposals are intended to encourage and support discussion and debate through a consultation which will run to the end of October 2020. The NCCA will use the consultation findings to finalise the framework in early 2021. Then, the framework will inform work in the different curriculum areas and subjects.

The consultation is an opportunity for school leaders to have their say on the proposals set out in the draft framework. You will find full details of the consultation at www.ncca.ie/ primary including links to an online questionnaire. Perhaps you have already taken part in one of the focus groups held around the country. You might also like to make a written submission and/or lead a discussion with your school staff on a particular proposal and share the key points with us through the materials on our website. The NCCA looks forward to hearing from principals and deputy principals during the consultation. LINK

School communication system n

Fully GDPR compliant


Instant communication with parents


Free parent to school card payment facility


No set-up fee or subscription fee


Message will default to SMS if App not available


Free real time school calendar

All revenue generated through TextaParent.ie is reinvested to provide core IPPN member services. If you have any queries, or would like to try TextaParent.ie for yourself, please contact info@textaparent.ie or 1890 401 501

Irish Primary Principals’ Network Líonra Phríomhoidí Bunscoile Éireann


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Partner Principals

GER RUANE PRINCIPAL OF PARTEEN NS, CLARE, AND IPPN TREASURER IPPN provides several forms of support to help principals deal with managing workload and identifying priorities, e.g., the Leadership Support service, the P-I-E-W Model*, ippn.ie sample policies and templates, Resource Bundles, and professional support and development through Support Groups, Mailing Lists and CPD, as well as a range of other supports to help manage schools, including Sub Seeker, TextaParent, EducationPosts.ie. IPPN is acutely aware that managing workload continues to be a major issue facing principals and is constantly striving to support principals. With this in mind, IPPN ran a pilot called ‘Partner Principals’ from January to June 2018. Following the success of the pilot, Partner Principals is now an official IPPN Support.

WHAT IS IT? Principals identify, either through IPPN Support Groups or their own networks, another principal who would be interested in developing a partnership with them. They seek approval from their Boards of Management - a sample letter for Boards of Managements is available on ippn.ie. On a monthly basis, principals agree to meet in each other’s schools in order to work on a particular project together. For example: ■■ September: review what policies they will be working on during the year and work on the research together. ■■ April: meet to discuss how they propose to deal with class allocation and they could act as a ‘critical friend’ to each other. ■■ May: discuss how they are going to organise special education issues for the following year.


June: meet to discuss how they will deal with any issues which arise over the summer and organisational arrangements for September.

Please review the resources below for full details. ■■ Leadership Article Issue 105 ■■ Letter to BoM ■■ Letter to Principals. See www.ippn.ie - Supports - Partner Principals https://www.ippn.ie/index.php/ supports/principal-partners LINK

*P-I-E-W Model refers to the PilotImplement-Embed-Wait Model developed by IPPN to manage change in schools.

Coronavirus IPPN’s Response

At the time of going to print, the whole country has just been informed of the government’s decision to close all schools, colleges and childcare facilities for a period of two weeks. Prior to this announcement, everyone had been debating the merits and demerits of such a decision and very concerned about the prevalence of a virus we had never heard about a few short months ago, and its impact on at risk groups.

At least there is some clarity for schools and everyone in the school community. However, naturally, school leaders have questions about how to manage during this period of closure and the expectations of the DES, parents and staff. They also want to ensure that they are prepared for what may come down the track – whether this involves dealing with an outbreak of the virus in the school community or with further preventative closures. Either way, pupils, parents, staff and Boards all have questions and need assurance that the very best is being done - for everyone in the school. 10

In responding to this crisis, IPPN has focused our attention on and utilised the IPPN network to: ■■ communicate with school leaders directly via email, TextaParent push notifications and text message alerting you to the latest information ■■ provide school leaders with the most up-to-date information and guidance from the Chief Medical Officer (through the HSE), and the DES, providing links to the relevant web pages via ippn.ie ■■ provide support and guidance to concerned school leaders through the Leadership Support service (by phoning 1890 21 22 23 or emailing info@ippn.ie) ■■ upload TextaParent units to all schools that request them, without requiring up-front payment, to ensure that no school would run out of ‘credit’ in communicating urgent information to parents (contactable via email to info@ textaparent.ie).

IPPN urges all members to keep up to date with the latest information from

the HSE and the DES and to follow their guidance. As always, we are here to support school leaders who have queries, or if you need help with a critical issue in your school. Please bear with us if you cannot get through to the Support Office immediately, as the number of calls has increased significantly in recent weeks. We will endeavour to respond to all calls and emails within 24 hours, in order of receipt, during office opening hours: Monday to Friday, 08:30 – 17:00.



Roads DAMIAN WHITE IPPN PRESIDENT My Toyota Rav is something of an aberration. My local garage, Lambe Brothers in Tullamore, treat it like a celebrity when it visits, a sort of Memphis Belle which, in spite of incredible missions, some more dangerous than others, is still to the good. In its 4th year, it has already clocked more miles than any of its peers who rolled out onto the road in 2016. When something goes wrong, Toyota treat it as a moving lab., a pioneer going boldly where no Rav has yet been. When I was told that there was a problem with a loose rocker cover, I thought they were talking about an addendum to a baby’s toy. Turns out, it was what was stopping me from accelerating, which might’ve been a good thing in hindsight. In short, since I’ve become President, I’m covering over one thousand kilometres per week. One day recently, I covered 560km, across 10 counties. And I wouldn’t change a moment of it all. My mission as President is straightforward. I want every school leader in Ireland to feel connected and supported through IPPN. I want to ensure that every principal and deputy principal has a support group in their locality with whom they meet as often as they choose, to share information, ideas, plans, and resources. For those lucky enough to be in a local support group, they have already established a ‘modus operandi’, possibly supported with a TextaParent or a WhatsApp group. They consider what CPD they need and, along with other support groups within the county or with an adjoining county, book a speaker twice a year on areas of topical interest. 

For those who are already part of a successful support structure, this might be boring to read. However, there are areas where for reasons of geography or otherwise, principals and deputy principals may not have a group within reasonable distance of their home or school. In some cases, people may have a limited amount of time to meet, through family or other commitments. There are cases where the principal and deputy principal wish to attend the same group. There are also cases where they’d prefer to have separate groups, or where there is a specific DP support group in an area. Whatever type of support works in an area is fine with IPPN. Some people prefer meetings during school time. This only works where all principals in the area have an administrative position. I’ve attended a number of such meetings around the country and they really work well. In one such case, people text the issue they wish to discuss to an agreed member, who prints off a short agenda with the list of issues and the name of the person raising the issue alongside. A room in the nearest education centre or a local hotel hosts the gathering. One by one, the items are thrashed out and the person raising the matter leaves with a number of potential solutions. It all lasts for about an hour and is seen as the best hour spent in the week.   Our local support group is a mixture of teaching and administrative school leaders, which means a 4pm start is most appropriate. We meet in a local hotel where the only document on the

table is usually the menu. Over dinner, we discuss several issues without an agenda, but in a way in which everyone who wishes to share a problem, solution or information gets to do so. We are all gone by 5.30pm. It is my favourite meeting every month. In between meetings, the WhatsApp group is full of key information and questions about impending deadlines. Which brings me back to my beloved Toyota Rav. Throughout the remaining year and a half of my presidency, I will visit (or revisit) each county, and as many schools as possible. When I visit a county, I will be available in the local education centre, or another venue, for any school leader to meet and share their issues from 4-6pm in the evening. If you wish for me to visit your school, please email me on damian.white@ ippn.ie and I will do all I can to oblige. If you do not have a local support group, please let me know and, along with your county representatives , we will work towards establishing one in your area. The Rav has resigned itself to negotiating roads less travelled, but in spite of occasional protestations, gets me there and back. It plays John Creedon’s radio show on my way home, and every now and then, I clean out the sandwich wrappers and sweet papers.  We’ll catch you along the road.


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Frontloading of




CONTEXT In the period 2016 to 2018, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) carried out a review of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme and provided a policy advice paper to the DES in March 2018. One of the recommendations in the policy advice paper was the frontloading of SNA posts to mainstream primary and post-primary schools based on the school’s allocation of special education teachers, as part of a new School Inclusion Model. A subsequent government decision approved the piloting of the School Inclusion Model, including the front-loaded allocation of SNA support and access to therapeutic services, in the 2019/20 school year in 75 schools in the HSE Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) area 7. The mainstream pilot schools received their front-loaded SNA allocation in September 2019. On 17th December last, the government approved the implementation of the revised model for allocating SNAs to schools. Stakeholders were first informed of this decision and the intention of the DES to proceed with implementation of the model for 2020/21 at a meeting on 10th January to discuss the draft Guidelines to Support Schools to Implement the Front-loaded Model for the Allocation of Special Needs Assistants. IPPN President Damian White wrote to Minister Joe McHugh on 13th January expressing IPPN’s dismay and concern at the unnecessarily rushed implementation of the revised model and the lack of meaningful consultation. IPPN attended two further consultation meetings and represented the following concerns: ■■ The concept of front-loading an allocation to schools is sound, but only on the assumption that a school’s allocation is sufficient and that the system is responsive when it is not sufficient ■■ Evidence-informed practice dictates that the pilot be robustly 1212




evaluated and that learnings from that evaluation would inform the wider implementation If the dataset being used to inform the front-loading process is that which was used for the 2017 SET allocation process, the data will not be accurate and will not reflect current need in schools The rush to implement the revised model could l undermine the credibility of the Primary Education Forum, which was set up to guard against such circumstances presenting l detract from all that is positive within the draft guidelines The change of work practice for principals arising from the revised model will increase workload and further compromise the sustainability of school leadership.

IPPN strongly recommended that implementation be delayed until the 2021/22 school year, and that the intervening 12 months could be used to: ■■ evaluate the pilot properly ■■ establish a more accurate profile of schools and the number of children presenting with additional care needs ■■ develop a responsive appeals mechanism for circumstances where a school’s profile has changed significantly ■■ road-test that appeals mechanism within the confines of the pilot to ensure it is fit for purpose. ALLOCATIONS Stakeholders have been informed that ■■ the revised model will be implemented in mainstream schools only in 2020/21 (the application process will remain the same for special classes and special schools) ■■ a school’s allocation will be calculated relative to its SET allocation ■■ the notification that schools will receive will be similar in format to that received in 2017 and 2019 in respect of SET allocations







there will be a breakdown of the allocation in respect of each of the criteria no school will receive a cut to its current allocation in the 2020/21 school year some schools will get an increased allocation (15% - approximately 500 schools) where a school would be due to receive a significant increase in allocation, the extent of that allocation may be capped to ensure a wider distribution of the 1064 SNAs across the system the process for appeals is currently being drafted and will be included in the draft circular which will issue to stakeholders in March for their consideration the appeals process is not intended to be burdensome and schools should expect decisions to issue in a more timely fashion than is currently the case.

PROPOSED TIMELINE Following consideration of the feedback from stakeholders in respect of the draft circular, a circular will issue to schools in mid to late April. Schools can expect to receive notification of their allocation in May. It is intended to offer information sessions for schools in June. SUPPORTS FOR SCHOOL LEADERS The DES acknowledges that the revised model constitutes a change of practice for school leaders. It is intended that training will be made available to all school leaders during the 2020/21 school year. INFORMATION FOR PARENTS The DES has confirmed that an information leaflet for parents will be drafted.

November 2019



from €239

Enjoy an overnight stay, a full Irish breakfast, dinner in The Woodlock Brasserie plus free entry to our Leisure Centre and 20m swimming pool.

TAYTO PARK ZOO PACKAGE PACKAGE 1 night B&B including 1 dinner

2 nights’ B&B including 1 dinner

Plus A family Tayto Park ticket *

Plus A family pass to Dublin Zoo *

From €301

From €437

All packages include: • Free access to kids’ activities on selected dates

• • • • citywesthotel.com

Full Access to 10,000m2 Leisure Centre No Booking Fee Free Parking Complimentary Wi-Fi

BOOK NOW T: +353 1 401 0500 E: info@citywesthotel.com

LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Is early mobile phone ownership shaping child development?


Children today are growing up as part of a mobile generation and are in constant contact with their peers, creating new norms around communication and behaviour. Increasingly, they are getting access to mobile phones, and phone ownership is now occurring at a time when their literacy and numeracy skills are developing. The ubiquity of mobile phone technology allows it to have a potentially unprecedented impact on children’s development. It can cross seamlessly into school and home settings; it is difficult for parents and teachers to supervise and monitor usage, as the mobile phone accompanies the child throughout the day; and, consequently, the frequency of engagement with mobile phone technology is likely to be far higher than for other forms of technology.

The ubiquity of mobile phone technology allows it to have a potentially unprecedented impact on children’s development. In two papers, we examined if early phone ownership has costs in terms of children’s development. We used data on 8,500 children from the Growing Up in Ireland study to examine whether there is an association between early mobile ownership (by nine years of age) and academic development and socio-emotional development as children move into adolescence (at thirteen years). To examine academic development, we used reading and maths tests scores at the two age points. To look at socio-emotional development, we examined how children felt about themselves (their self-concept) in areas like physical appearance, anxiety, behaviour and popularity. We also examined the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), a measure of psychological adjustment reported by parents for each child. SDQ includes ratings 14

across areas like emotional symptoms, conduct, hyperactivity, and peer relationships.

reduce both sleep duration and sleep quality, which is also likely to impact on children’s development.

Overall, 40 per cent of nine year olds (in 2007/08) stated that they owned a mobile phone. Children’s access to mobile phones is influenced by their family and school characteristics, with more highly educated parents and higher income families less likely to provide a phone at this young age. Children attending DEIS schools are more likely to have phones, all else being equal. Therefore, we took account of these other characteristics of children who received phones in looking at how early ownership shaped their academic and socio-emotional development.

In both reading and maths, children who reported owning a phone by the age of nine fared less well in terms of their academic development as they move into adolescence.

In both reading and maths, children who reported owning a phone by the age of nine fared less well in terms of their academic development as they move into adolescence. The negative association with academic outcomes persisted across socio-economic groups. On the overall measures of self-concept and psychological adjustment, we found no relationship between early mobile phone ownership and children’s socio-emotional development. However, there was evidence that girls who received phones earlier fared less well in terms of their behavioural adjustment and their academic self-concept. These findings suggest that girls may be aware of a negative impact of mobile phone usage on their cognitive development, but boys may not. The results may also reflect differences in the way in which girls and boys use mobile phones, and a potentially more detrimental impact of excessive or problematic mobile phone use on girls’ wellbeing. More generally, earlier research has suggested that mobile phone use may impact negatively through cognitive overload, increased distraction, and altering memory and learning patterns. Furthermore, studies have shown that phones can

The challenge for schools is how to maximise the potential of digital technologies for learning, while mitigating any negative effects from access, particularly for children during the primary school years. The Minister for Education and Skills asked schools to consult with parents and students in making decisions on the place of smart phones and personal devices in schools. This process is important and, hopefully, evidence like this will support schools in making these decisions. We are grateful for funding from the ESRI Programme of Research in Communications, which is in turn is funded by contributions from Ireland’s Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Commission on Communications Regulation (ComReg). To find out more about this topic, see www.esri.ie, select ‘Publications’ and search for ‘mobile phone‘. If you would like to contact the authors about this article, please email Professor McCoy at selina.mccoy@esri.ie. LINK LINK


I am not

Good Enough ANGELA LYNCH IPPN LEADERSHIP SUPPORT MANAGER If you think or feel that you are not good enough, then you are absolutely right. Personally, I am not good enough at science to be a nuclear physicist. I am not good enough at maths to be the head of the Central Bank. I am not good enough at music to be in an orchestra or at art to be a famous painter. The list goes on and on. I am good enough to be a loyal friend, a loving mother, a caring sister, a mentor, a coach and a school leader. I’m not good enough for most things but I am good enough to be good. I am good enough to be kind. If you do not feel good enough for the role you hold, this can have serious consequences for your emotional, physical and social health. However, you may not be looking at the whole picture and are focusing on the flawed part. Each one of us is flawed. No one is perfect. You cannot be human and perfect at the same time. I’ve had conversations with so many people over the years, in states of

shame, anger, anxiety or depression, where it is difficult for them to accept love, particularly self-love and understanding. They try to be perfect and always feel that they fall short. I have been in that place too. We strive for perfection and when we fall short, we feel less than worthless. Rather than focusing on perfection, focus on progress. It’s not easy to talk about yourself, or to discover yourself for that matter. It takes strength and courage to discover your positive traits, to develop self-awareness. It is also difficult to accept that being good enough is enough – and that we should not strive to be perfect. How can you halt the tirade of the inner critic who is trying to convince you that you must be perfect? The mind needs convincing. This can be achieved simply by repetition. In the film The Help, the maid repeats to one of her young charges the following mantra – ‘You is smart. You is kind. You is important.’ Every day and every chance she gets, she says this to the little girl and gets

her to repeat it. Imagine the impact this could have on the child. Imagine the impact the repetition of this message could have on you. For school leaders who are doing their level best to improve the lives of children, my hope is that you give yourself permission to not only do random acts of kindness for others during the course of your day, but to include random acts of kindness for yourself. It might be to build in time to eat and enjoy your food or to close your eyes for a few minutes to focus attention on your breath. You owe this, and much more, to yourself. There is more right with you than there is wrong with you. ‘You may never be good enough for some people, but you will always be the best for those who deserve you.’ Anon

Wild Teaching

Wild Teac


Cross-cur ricular Les sons Outdo for Agora ors phobic Tea chers

Cross-curricular Lessons Outdoors for Agoraphobic Teachers

Paul O’Donn


by Paul O’Donnell n One

cross-curricular lesson plan for every week of the school year




the sky and to look at lesson season and Then take month and and rainfall. to name the the pupils temperature direction, Start by getting speed and clouds, wind describe the below: your pick from



During the

re Walk

Go on a Natu


world where living in a us. naturally to classroom outside the Bringing children observe the outdoors walk to on a nature them to it. actively connects a lesson have of each science also  At the start (though it can nature walk, 10-minute seen below). in itself, as be a lesson

Have a silent sound walk

n Matching

sets of native Irish living things

Make pictures with leaves,

twigs and stones


planning notes included



environme Living things, and care awareness the wider world Myself and


Before leaving

n €10 n To

including postage & packaging

life, Plant and animal nt environme caring for the


Oral language,


the classro

are though they that even the pupils the classroom. 1. Remind apply as in same rules outside, the as and footwear, e clothing 2. Wear appropriat

necessary. if going nt permission manageme by your school’s 3. Get school grounds. Abide outside school safety polices. health and

nt, environme re The local natural and atmosphe weather, climate ding,

ating, understan Communic using exploring and


Collect items listed in a hunt

Play tag or the can


Make a fairy


Have a woollies & wellies walk

Make mud


Walk barefoot

of Collect sets on a items or go maths trail

rent Find5diffe types of birds

Sketch a tree and its roots Make bark rubbings Hug a tree

Put a sheet and under a tree tree shake the

Collect and press s wildflower

After the lesson

write in their hands and and to wash their they learned, Get the pupils s five things allows. diaries or scrapbookof items found, if time samples and photos to stick in be researched items can Unnamed

ct.com and

tatreeproje h/ • www.adop learthed.ie/pdf/intoucf (first www.schoo eb2012.pd

Trees_JanF magazine) ZoomInOn the INTO Intouch year. published in a tree for a focusing on for ideas when Your Own Device


a Bring to download • Have Get the pupils nature walk. to their


Wild Explorers the app Persil or school iPads. own devices

viewers, camera pencil, bug notepad and 4. Bring a bags, if required. or collection for pictures four to work of three or class into groups 5. Split the tasks. together on or more by trying one for 5-40 minutes 6. Stay out at a time. of these tasks 9


order a copy please email heritage@meathcoco.ie

Meath County Council Logo: The aspect ratio of this logo may not be changed. The colors may not be changed from: Dark Blue: CMYK - 100, 51, 0, 69 RGB - 0, 34, 77

n Text

compliments of the author. Published by Meath County Council with support from The Heritage Council

n Feedback


Web Links

ntal care

Environme ntal

nts, environme Natural environme and care awareness

Sketch wildflower

Sketch clouds

Dig holes


Leave bread birds crumbs for

Find 5 minibeasts

and change. watch it grow the year and and bark. outside for fruit, seeds of the year. Adopt a tree the course leaves, flowers, the tree over Observe the and sketch ns in a notebook Record observatio

Strand Unit


Build tall stone stacks

Take photos

Links Curriculum


n All

Make a skeleton with sticks

Make leaf rubbings

are no longer comes • We going outside

welcome to

Saffron: CMYK - 0, 27, 76, 0 RGB - 249, 191, 71

@Donegalpaul9 Enquiries to: info@meathcoco.ie


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Mentoring Programme for

Newly-appointed Principals

JACKIE O’REILLY IPPN MEMBER SUPPORTS & SERVICES One-to-one and Group Mentoring is available to newly-appointed principals who take part in the PDST Misneach Programme. When newly-appointed principals apply to participate in Misneach, their application forms are automatically shared with the Centre for School Leadership (CSL). Then, on completion of the mentoring modules in Misneach 1, the newly-appointed principals are contacted with the names of their oneto-one Mentors. If a principal is unable to attend Misneach 1, or is appointed after it has taken place, she/he can attend CSL Mentoring Information Sessions available countrywide and scheduled on the CSL website from early September. This is a formal mentoring relationship which usually commences in September, or as soon as the school leader is appointed, and continues until June of the following year. Oneto-one mentoring consists of a twohour meeting with a Mentor once a month, as well as a brief fortnightly contact. GROUP MENTORING IPPN will provide new principals with the opportunity to engage in Group

Mentoring for their second year in the role. The completion of one-toone mentoring is mandatory. Then, the new school leader may move to group mentoring. Group Mentoring meetings take place approximately four to five times a year. They consist of groups of usually four to eight school leaders in their second year of leadership. These meetings are facilitated by specially-trained Group Mentors, who are experienced school leaders.





■■ ■■


Feedback and evaluations from mentees during the past year have been very positive. Mentees expressed their appreciation of the service and how it gave them renewed confidence, space and time for reflection, with specific goals and plans to address various aspects of their work. Training also benefits Mentors in dealing with other group situations, such as staff meetings, parent council meetings, and so on. If you wish to volunteer to assist new school leaders in your area, we would love to hear from you.


‘networks’ with other principals in the normal course of his/her work has a ‘common sense’ approach and a practical nature can give some of their time, either on the telephone or in person, to a newly-appointed school leader is professionally approachable while being discreet and confidential is a good listener  has a sense of professional and personal generosity is competent and conversant in the areas of HR and conflict resolution  has been proactive in relation to their own professional development.

If you are in a position to mentor a newly-appointed school leader, please email the CSL Office at office@ cslireland.ie and you will be placed on a list for the next round of training in the autumn. If you are in a position to mentor a group of Year 2 school leaders, please email Jackie at the IPPN National Support Office at jackie.oreilly@ippn.ie.

A suitable Mentor is one who: ■■ has five or more years’ experience as a principal 

IPPN Board Member Shane O’Donnell

Shane is a native of Roscommon town and graduated from St. Patrick’s College in 1988. He completed a post-graduate diploma in Educational Leadership in 2004. He taught in various DEIS Band 1 schools in Dublin before becoming teaching principal of Glenealy NS, Co. Wicklow in 2006. He spent six years in Wicklow before returning to his home county in 2012. He is currently teaching principal of Scoil Bhríde, Fourmilehouse, Roscommon. Shane spent five years as an IPPN National Council 16

member before joining the IPPN Board of Directors in February 2019. Shane is a firm believer in the value of small schools and the key position that they occupy in rural Ireland. He recognises that small schools face many challenges but believes that with proper support they can have a viable future. He hopes to bring the voice of the small school to the Board of Directors.

April 2020

Total Inclusion School Visit - Portugal Pat Goff and Damian White visited a school in Estoril, close to Lisbon, on the day before they attended a European School Heads Association(ESHA) meeting. The school is in a suburban area and operates on the model of Total Inclusion. On the basis of the debate currently happening in Ireland following the NCSE Conference in Croke Park, we decided to use the opportunity to see how a school operating under Total Inclusion conditions actually works, as Portugal is the only country thus far in Europe, along with the Canadian province of New Brunswick, to introduce the practice. The school, Escola A.H. Oliveira Marquis, is a very pleasant place to visit. Paula Carrido, the Principal, was most accommodating. We spent almost the full day in the school, experiencing what a normal day is like in a Total Inclusion school in Portugal. Interestingly, while we were there, Paula attended a meeting in her local municipality, to which she brought a list of pupils and their needs so that she could make the case to get ‘Assistants’ (the equivalent of our SNA). We found class sizes to be similar to those in Ireland, but an effort was made to keep classes smaller where the needs were most complex - a lower pupil teacher ratio applies where there are complex special needs. There were pressure on places, which invariably meant the numbers crept up slightly. The school has its own occupational therapist who takes children in groups or as individuals and works through programmes with them. She is very experienced and has come up with ingenious ways to overcome problems. Many schools only have access to an OT. Other services, including educational psychological support and speech therapy, were available on a number of days per week from a local centre supplying the needs of a cluster of schools. The school we visited had the most access to the services because it serves the greatest number of children. We had a very interesting talk with a number of staff and compared our two systems. They told us that the ethos of their school was total inclusion before it actually became mandatory and that children came from areas outside their catchment area to the school as a result. They were very happy working in the school and the atmosphere reflected that. They all said that they could do with more help in the school as there are big challenges catering for the needs of certain children with complex needs.

the class, including spoon-feeding those who could not help themselves. Teachers had their own lunch when they could.  The school was kitted out with many additional resources necessary for children with complex special needs. In addition to a beautiful sensory room, there was a small gymnasium, ball pools, a library area and a kitchen/cafeteria. There were swings and hoists, washing and shower areas and rests areas. Very clever use was made of nooks and crannies for play areas. There was a room that catered for six children – usually of the most complex needs - with two teachers assigned. The children would spend some time in a mainstream class and much more time in this room (similar to a special class here using partial integration). There was one pupil who joins classes by video link and also has a number of pupils and a teacher visit every week. A group of children with complex special needs visits an equestrian centre nearby, where those handling the horses are trained to deal with children with special needs. CONCLUSION In conclusion, we visited a school which caters very well for all children on their roll, regardless of their ability or condition. Many of the children with special needs were similar in profile to those attending Irish schools, supported by an SNA in either mainstream or special class settings. Those with complex special needs were similar to children one would expect to meet in an Irish Special School.   To equip Irish schools to the standard we saw, with full psychological support, regular access to other essential services, as well as the physical infrastructure, specialised equipment, food catering infrastructure and personnel, would come at a cost which we don’t believe the Department of Education and Skills here could contemplate. Any less than the support we saw in this school would see the school struggle to properly meet the needs of all pupils. Therefore, it is our belief that, while it may represent an ideal the DES may be working towards, we are a very long way off being ready for Total Inclusion in Ireland.

The principal showed us the lengthy and complex paperwork pertaining to each child with special needs which must be completed each year for grants to be obtained. Extra supports are not provided by the municipal authorities when there are changes to enrolment during the school year. FACILITIES All children in the school received two meals per day in the cafeteria, including a hot dinner. We did not see all of the staff in the staff room together at any stage. Teachers were involved in feeding or helping to feed the children in

Damian White and Pat Goff with principal Paula Carrido and teachers of Escola A.H. Oliveira Marquis 17


Highlighted below are a few examples of IPPN’s advocacy and representative work on behalf of principals and deputy principals, through meetings, events and submissions, since the last issue of Leadership+:

FEBRUARY PRIMARY EDUCATION FORUM The Forum is looking at small schools and considering a draft DCU proposal in collaboration with IPPN, INTO, CPSMA, CIPSMA. Other meetings attended/hosted: ■■ Céim: Standards for initial Teacher Education, including school placement ■■ ■■


NTRIS Pilot Oversight Group Meeting DES Workshop on Developing a Teacher Demand and Supply Model for Ireland 2020 – 2036: A Technical Report

INTO Equality Conference








Careers Talk in DCU



NCCA Leading Out Seminar




Assistant Secretary General re Model of Frontloading of SNAs (See Brian O’Doherty article on page 12) Centre for School Leadership Strategic Plan 2021-2025 Kick off meeting CSL Cluster Advisory Group Meeting.


The specific challenges of teaching principals Leadership and management capacity Special education needs – SNA front-loading model, full inclusion and special schools Governance Funding and resourcing of primary education, especially the inequity between primary and post-primary in relation to basic running costs IPPN P-I-E-W Model.

There was also a discussion about the recruitment and retention of school leaders, and teacher supply. Other meetings attended/hosted: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Briefing, An Taoiseach’s Office



Clare Education Centre


DES Athlone re. Sub Seeker


IPPN Board of Directors, Athlone


IPPN National Council, Athlone


MARCH DES AND INSPECTORATE, MARLBOROUGH ST IPPN CEO Páiric Clerkin presented on the key challenges facing primary school leaders, including

Sustainability of the role and work overload



DCYA re. school completion programme


CPSMA Conference


NTRIS Pilot Oversight Group




ILSA Spring Conference Education Buildings Ireland Conference DES Inspectorate new school leaders event All-Island Physical Literacy Forum, Dublin.

School Visits IPPN President Damian White met with the following school leaders in recent months: ■■ Bernadette Dwyer, principal of Cúlfadda NS, Co. Sligo and National Council member ■■




Máire Treasa Ní Dhálaigh, príomhoide Gaelscóil Raifteirí, Co. Mhaigh Eó Siobhán Verdon, principal of St. Michael’s Junior Boys NS Louise Tobin, principal of St. Joseph’s NS , Tipperary Paula Carrido, principal of Escola A.H. Oliveira Marquis, Estoril, Portugal – see article on page x.

National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals - Symposium on Sustainable Leadership NCCA briefing on the Draft Primary Curriculum Framework

Congratulations to Louise Brennan (Portlaoise) winner of the academic award for the primary teacher with the highest grade on the Maynooth University Future Leaders Programme - receiving her award from IPPN CEO Páiric Clerkin


At the launch of the book “Irish Speakers and Schooling in the Gaeltacht- 1900 to the Present’ were from left to right-Chief Inspector Dr Harold Hislop, coauthors Dr Tom O’Donoghue and Dr Teresa O’Doherty, IPPN President Damian White and INTO President Feargal Brougham

IPPN President visits Louise Tobin of St. Joseph’s NS , Tipperary

IPPN President Damian White is presented with a copy of The Fiddler of Dooney in honour of his visit to Cúlfadda NS, Co. Sligo. Also in the photo is principal and IPPN National Council member Bernadette Dwyer.

IPPN President Damian White with Anne Hartnett, Principal, St Paul’s Special School, Montenotte, Cork during a visit to the school.

Siobhán Verdon , St. Michael’s Junior Boys NS with IPPN President Damian White

Uachtaráin IPPN Damian De Faoite le Máire Treasa Ní Dhálaigh, príomhoide Gaelscóil Raifteirí, Co. Mhaigh Eó 19

LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Left to their own devices Trends in ICT at primary school level DR EEMER EIVERS


In this issue, we look at the chapters 3 and 4 of the report, contrasting ICT resources in school with those in the home. Future issues of Leadership+ will summarise usage of ICT in the classroom and at home as well as findings and recommendations. Large international studies such as TIMSS and PIRLS ask questions about ICT resources in school as well as in the home. These studies, combined with information from successive National Assessments, allow comparison of resource availability here and in other countries, as well as looking at trends over time. What becomes apparent is that in Ireland there have been sizeable improvements in home access to devices and broadband connectivity, and Irish homes are at least as digitally connected as the international norm. This contrasts sharply with the situation in primary schools.

primary schools. Internationally, one-to-one access rose from just under 7% to just over 10% of pupils between 2015 and 2016, whereas in Ireland access remained unchanged at 2.5% of pupils (Figure 1). 80





70 60 50 40

AVAILABILITY OF COMPUTERS Since the question was first included in the 2004 National Assessments, a large majority of Irish pupils have said they have home access to computers. Since 2009, pupil reports in a number of studies show that home access to a computer is almost universal in Ireland (about 96% have access) and that access here is higher than the international average. Also, most Irish pupils can now access multiple types of digital devices at home. PIRLS in 2016 revealed that fewer than a half a percent of Irish pupils’ homes had no digital devices, compared to international averages of almost 5%. Most commonly, Irish pupils had 4 to 6 digital devices in the house. However, over 10% of pupils had at least 11 devices, higher than corresponding international averages. TIMSS 2015 also showed that Irish pupils were far more likely than the international average to have their own device at home (80% versus 66%). Of the 47 countries that participated in TIMSS 2015, only five had higher percentages of pupils with access to their own device. The gradual increase to almost universal access at home contrasts with school access. The National Assessments have tracked the overall pupil to computer ratio since 2004. While the ratio improved between 2004 and 2009, by the 2014 study the average ratio had more or less reverted to that found in 2004 (approximately 15 pupils for every device). Ireland’s two most recent National Assessments looked at pupil access in the classroom. In 2009, more than 75% of pupils had classroom access to a computer, but by 2014 this had fallen to just over two thirds of pupils. Related data from PIRLS and TIMSS show that the percentages of Irish pupils with no access to computers in reading or maths lessons has steadily increased since 2011, from 44% to 60% in 2015 and 62% in 2016. In fact, Ireland switched from having fewer pupils than the international average with no access to having more pupils than average with no access. In contrast to the situation at home (80% with their own device), non-shared access to devices was very rare in Irish 20

30 20 10






Figure 1: Percentages of pupils with their own device at home and access to an individual device at school, TIMSS 2015

Perhaps reflecting the lack of improvement in access, TIMSS and PIRLS show that between 2011 and 2016, there was a marked increase in Irish principals reporting that lack of computer technology for teaching and learning hampered instruction in their school. In 2011, roughly one-third of Irish pupils’ principals expressed this view, rising to 43% in 2015 and almost half (48%) in 2016. While dissatisfaction was below the international study averages in 2011, by 2016 Irish principals were more dissatisfied than the PIRLS average (Figure 2). 50





43 40


40 35





Figure 2: Percentage of pupils whose principals felt instruction is some or a lot hampered by inadequacy of ICT

eBOOKS Ebooks are a relatively recent phenomenon and are less common in Irish schools and homes than the international average. The results of the 2014 National Assessments show that, on average, pupils had access between 15 and 17 ebooks in their school. However, there were very large differences in access between schools and roughly four in five pupils were in schools without any ebooks.

April 2020

Similarly, PIRLS 2016 data show that only 19% of Irish pupils were in schools where they could access digital books, well below the international average of 41% (Figure 3). Some high access countries included Denmark, Sweden, and Kazakhstan, where over three-quarters of pupils could access digital books in school. PIRLS 2016 also showed that a majority of Irish pupils and their parents could access a device at home for reading ebooks. Nonetheless, home access for both pupils and parents was slightly lower in Ireland than the PIRLS average (Figure 3). This contrasts with Irish home access to printed books, which is consistently above international averages across cycles of PIRLS and TIMSS. That aside, Irish pupils had much higher levels of access to a device for reading ebooks at home than they had in school. 80 70


71 64


64 59

60 50


40 30 19

20 10 0



Pupil School


Figure 3: Percentages of pupils and parents with home access to a device for reading ebooks, and pupil access in school, PIRLS 2016

ANCILLARY RESOURCES One area in which Irish principals’ views have become more positive is regarding the adequacy of audio-visual resources (e.g., interactive whiteboards and data projectors) in their school. The numbers of principals dissatisfied with such resources has dropped since first assessed in 2011, and by 2016, only 16% of Irish pupils were in schools where the principal felt that inadequate audio-visual resources at least somewhat affected instruction, much lower than the PIRLS average 36%. The positive shift can be attributed to the very large increases in access to interactive whiteboards and digital projectors found between the National Assessments in 2009 and in 2014 (Figure 4). For example, in-class access to digital projectors more than trebled (from 20% to 71%) among Second class pupils and more than doubled among Sixth class pupils. This reflects a key element of the 2009/10 funding for primary schools, which required that funds first be spent on a computer and digital projector for each teacher, with interactive whiteboards featuring as one of the subsequent priority purchases from any remaining funds. Interactive Whiteboards 100


Digital Projectors 87





30 23


Throughout Left to their own devices, Ireland is compared to a set of “comparison countries”. These are a subset of nine countries that are of most interest to an Irish audience (e.g. England, Northern Ireland, Finland). Looking just at Ireland and our comparison countries, Ireland is the only country where at least one in ten pupils is in a school where shortage of software for reading and for mathematics is perceived to hamper instruction a lot. As the 2016 and 2017 IPPN membership surveys found that language and mathematics were the two areas where digital software was most likely to be used to support the curriculum, it is worrying that so many Irish principals felt there were major issues with software in these two key areas. INTERNET ACCESS Of course, the quality of software that can be accessed may in part be related to connectivity issues – a well-known problem in many Irish primary schools. In the 2018 IPPN membership survey, 34% of IPPN members reported that their school did not have a reliable and adequate internet connection, and 12% reported that their school still had a dial-up connection. Indeed, data more recently published (by journalist Sean McCárthaigh) showed that 57% of Irish primary schools had expected download speeds lower than the minimum required levels for private households. In contrast, trends collated from the National Assessments and PIRLS and TIMSS show home access has steeply increased since information was first collected in 2004. Then, the National Assessments found close to half of Irish pupils had internet access at home. By 2009, this had increased to at least three-quarters of pupils with broadband internet access. The increase in access to broadband between the 2009 and 2014 National Assessments was smaller (rising to 88% of Sixth class pupils). However, similar data from PIRLS and TIMSS show that basic internet access continued to increase in Irish homes, from 90% of pupils in 2011 to 95% in 2016. Finally, Irish home access to internet remained above international study averages in the 2011, 2015 and 2016 cycles. However, access in Ireland still remains slightly below the almost universal availability in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Northern Ireland. You can access the full publication on www.ippn.ie/Advocacy/ Publications. LINK

40 20

Satisfaction with other types of resources did not show the same positive changes. For example, in 2011, well over onethird of Irish pupils’ principals felt that inadequate software for reading and mathematics instruction was at least somewhat of a problem, broadly in line with international study averages. However, the percentages increased for the subsequent study cycles. In TIMSS 2015, 44% of Irish pupils were in schools where the principal believed that lack of software for mathematics instruction hampered instruction, and in PIRLS 2016, 43% were in schools where the principal felt issues with reading instruction software hampered instruction.




2nd Class



6th Class


Eemer is currently on a career break from the Educational Research Centre, where she is Research Fellow. This report was written in a personal capacity for IPPN.

Figure 4: Percentages of pupils whose classrooms had interactive whiteboards and projectors, NA 2009 and 2014 21

LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Leadership in retrospection MÁIRÉAD UÍ FHLOINN IAR PHRÍOMHOIDE, GAELSCOIL MHAINISTIR NA CORANN, CO. CORK Having retired last September, the pace of my life has slowed a little and now I have time, as Welsh poet William Henry Davies said, to ‘stand and stare’. I have been thinking about the past 16 years and my role in an ever-changing educational landscape. During my tenure, the school population grew from just over 100 pupils to over 500 pupils and from a teaching staff of six to 26. I questioned my leadership skills many times during those 16 years, as I’m sure my staff did, particularly in times of drama and crisis. The term ‘Príomhoide’ was a guiding light to me, as I saw my role firstly as an ‘oide’ (teacher) and then as ‘príomh’ (first/main). I saw myself as first among equals. Perhaps I can be described as a ‘democratic leader’, who relies on consensus-building and providing opportunities for others to take the lead. I was involved in appointing all but two of my staff, and consciously surrounded myself with people with varied skill sets that would benefit the children and the school as a whole. As the leader, I had the authority to utilise these talents in the best way possible for the benefit of the school community. A leadership role is never static. Objectives might change. Each decision involves a learning curve. You review the performance of those you are leading as well as your own. You evaluate how you react to situations. Soon, you realise that you should respond, not react. Reaction is immediate, a response is thought out. Not all leaders learn this valuable lesson. We have seen the leader of a powerful nation react by tweeting something ridiculous, or sacking staff who express an alternate opinion. This ‘bureaucratic’ style of leadership, where rules are stringently enforced by a leader who sees his/her decisions as absolute, has led to some disastrous consequences for mankind. Bureaucratic principals do not lead healthy schools.


A good leader is intuitive, able to read people and knows how to respond in a particular situation. Most importantly, a good leader is a good communicator. John F. Kennedy in his inauguration speech swept away many people’s fears that he was too young and inexperienced for the job. He put people at ease and encouraged them to follow his lead with his inspiring, historic words: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.’ Martin Luther King had the same impact when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and mesmerised over 200,000 people with his ‘I have a dream’ speech. My communication skills did not come close to the prowess of those leaders, but my years in Toastmasters International were of enormous help to me in my leadership role - the skills I developed there stood me in good stead over the years. My local GAA team, Fr O’Neill’s, recently reached the intermediate AllIreland Final. What an honour it was for the whole community to support them in Croke Park! No matter how skilful the team was, they would not have achieved their success without having a good leader. A leader in this situation needs to be a good coach to ensure that the team are receptive to change, to improving their skill set, to achieving their full potential. A principal has to

be a coach - challenging, motivating and praising. I hope that the children in my school had trust and faith in me as I provided opportunities for each of them to have their ‘golden moment’ and motivated them to achieve their true potential. We all aspire to being an ‘altruistic leader’, who inspires and serves others. Mother Teresa, Nano Nagle and Greta Thunberg are examples of people whose style of leadership creates a positive culture with high moral values. When I attended Mary Immaculate many years ago, we were told that we had to have a vocation for teaching. Now, teaching is seen more as a profession. However, I believe that the most dedicated teachers have that vocational aspect - I’ve seen it in many of the teachers with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. As leaders we have to be true to ourselves, believe in ourselves, own up to our mistakes, be resilient, be able to dust ourselves down and continue on. I will finish with a quote that I have tried to live by: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.’

April 2020

Did you know? RESOURCE BUNDLES Resource Bundles are ‘a one-stopshop’, where you will find the answers and supporting documentation relating to the most common queries members have in their schools. Resource Bundles are produced in an easy-touse e-publication format, which can be viewed online or downloaded ready to be shared or printed. The following are the Resource Bundles that are currently available. The Leadership Support Team has a number of new Resource Bundles under development and we will notify members about them here in Leadership+, as well as on www.ippn.ie. To access these Resource Bundles, go to www.ippn. ie and select Resources, then select Resource Bundles and page down to find the one you want to view. Absences & Leave Provides an up-to-date reference source of all DES approved leave types and a brief synopsis of the relevant circular, whether or not the leave type is substitutable and guidelines on how to log the leave type on OLCS. Beart Acmhainní um Chosaint Leanaí An fheidhm atá ag an mBeart Acmhainní seo ná achoimre a thabhairt ar na riachtanais reachtúla atá ar scoileanna um Chosaint Leanaí agus An tAcht um Thús Áite do Leanaí 2015 i bhfeidhm ina iomláine ó 17 Nollaig 2017. Child Protection Outlines the statutory requirements for schools in relation to Child Protection in light of the full commencement of the Children First Act 2015 on 17th Dec 2017. It was updated in April 2019.

Communication Provides guidance in relation to the principles of effective communication, home-school communication, handling complaints, dealing with conflict, staff team building, chairing meetings and giving feedback. Data Protection Clearly outlines the statutory requirements for schools in relation to Data Protection in light of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, (GDPR). Distributed Leadership: Recruiting and Appointing: Deputy Principal (Internal) & Assistant Principals The process for Appointment of Deputy Principals (Internal Appointment) is the same as the process for the Appointment of Assistant Principals. This will remain so until the school year 2022/2023 when all Deputy Principal Positions will be open to both internal and external candidates. Where there is open competition, the process is the same as that used to appoint Principals and is dealt with in a separate Resource Bundle. Parental Separation Implications for the School Aims to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the school and to answer the most frequently asked questions that we receive in the IPPN National Support Office PIEW - Empowering School Leaders through Prioritising Provides an overview of the PIEW model which allows school leaders to control and manage the flow

of initiatives, structure workload, prioritise initiatives and enable the school leader to manage the expectations of others – empowering you to say “No” politely. Recruiting and Appointing Deputy Principal - Open Competition Outlines the process for the appointment of deputy principals where there are both internal and external candidates (open competition). Recruitment & Appointment Offers a step-by-step guide to following the recruitment process as well as answering the most frequently asked questions SEN Brings together many of the SEN policies that are on the IPPN website and those included in the new Guidelines to Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools. SNA Absences & Leave General principles relating to absences and leave of SNAs as well as a detailed reference source of all DES approved leave types and a brief synopsis of the relevant circular, whether or not the leave type is substitutable and guidelines on how to log the leave type on OLCS. Supervision & Duty of Care Examines the most frequently-asked questions that IPPN’s Principal Advice Panel receives and provides best practice guidance. LINK


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Towards a Better Future



CHAPTER 3: Early Childhood Education

A BACKWARD LOOK Prior to the 1990s, early childhood care and education (ECCE) did not receive significant attention in Ireland. Very little research on early childhood education had taken place and the significance and complexity of early education issues were underestimated. In the late 90s, the OECD, UNESCO, and the EU Council of Ministers of Education signalled that early childhood education should be a serious policy concern. Ireland, as a member of these bodies, also signalled a new approach at this time. A cluster of initiatives and reports followed the Programme for Government of 1997, including ■■ the National Forum for Early Childhood Education, which resulted in the first-ever White Paper on early childhood education – Ready to Learn (Government of Ireland, 1999) ■■ The Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education (CECDE) (2002-2008) ■■ NCCA report Towards a Framework for Early Learning (2003a) ■■ OECD report Thematic Review of Early Childhood Education and Care Policy in Ireland (2004) ■■ The National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) report Early Childhood Care and Education (2005) ■■ The Early Years Education Policy Unit was set up in 2006, colocated, at the time, between the DES and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children. Contemporaneously, there was a sequence of important developments on children and childcare, including the establishment of the National Childcare Strategy, 1991, the National Children’s Strategy, 2000, The 24

Children’s Act, 2009, the Children’s Ombudsman, 2003, and the Minister for Children, 2005. This work collectively formed a framework of reference for the sector. Among a range of elements addressed was the need for co-ordination of effort; research; standards, quality and training; resourcing; database; curricular guidelines; priority needs of minority groups; and conditions of work for ECCE personnel. However, the implementation of policy proposals and the concrete realisation of the plans on the ground were slow to happen.

In the late 90s, the OECD, UNESCO, and the EU Council of Ministers of Education signalled that early childhood education should be a serious policy concern. Ireland, as a member of these bodies, also signalled a new approach at this time. A DEVELOPING ECCE CONTEXT It is heartening to note the implementation in recent years of a range of policies, which hold out much promise for early childhood education. Curriculum In the area of curriculum, the CECDE produced Síolta in 2006, which broke new ground. In 2009, the NCCA published Aistear, drawing on a wide consultation process and best international practice in curricular design for ECCE. This curricular work has been refined further and incorporated in the NCCA’s Aistear

/ Síolta Practice Guide, published in 2015. This is a resource of major value to practitioners in early childhood care and education, but is challenging for staff with qualification levels of less than NFQ Level 7. The DES is in the process of organising improvements on the primary school curriculum of 1999, concentrating on the early years at first and on language teaching in Irish and English and in Mathematics teaching as a priority area. There is close liaison between the DES and the NCCA with a view to incorporating best early childhood curricular practice in the new design. There had been a dysfunction between the integrated approach of Aistear and the more subject-focussed infant school curriculum. The final drafts of the Primary Language Curriculum, available in Irish and English, are attractive, well-illustrated and colourful, and contain much guidance on learning outcomes for teachers. They include data on learning outcomes, progression criteria, support materials and examples developed by teachers and children. However, the continuing existence of very large numbers of pupils in many reception classes in infant schools is a serious impediment to good practice. Extended Provision of State Aid for ECCE The government introduced the free pre-school year in 2010, the first universal state-funded provision of ECCE in Ireland for children in the year prior to attending primary school. Its popularity was immediately evident when 95% of those eligible chose to participate in the scheme. The providing services are required to adopt the Aistear / Síolta curricular approaches. From September 2016, children from age three to five-anda-half [could] avail of an average of 61 weeks of ECCE provision in pre-

April 2020

schools prior to enrolment in primary schools. This has resulted in a total of 128,000 children benefiting from the scheme. The Better Start initiative, established in 2014 by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), in conjunction with the DES, [brought] an integrated national approach to developing quality in ECCE for children from birth to six years. This service involves early years’ specialists working directly in a mentoring capacity with ECCE services, using the Aistear / Síolta Practice Guide as a core approach in their work. Favourable staff provision is also maintained in DEIS schools, Early Start, and schools in the Giving Children an Even Break schemes.

There have been significant reforms in teacher education under a co-operative partnership between the DES and the Teaching Council. Teacher education as a lifelong process involving initial, induction and continuing professional elements is now established. The budget for 2017 allocated an extra €121.5m. to the early years’ sector, bringing the overall allocation to €466m. Such improvements go some way to easing pressure on the early childhood sector, but need to be sustained.

Teacher Education for Early Childhood Education There have been significant reforms in teacher education under a co-operative partnership between the DES and the Teaching Council. Teacher education as a lifelong process involving initial, induction and continuing professional elements is now established. Initial teacher education (ITE) courses have been extended and reconceptualised. A Workforce Development Plan aims to assist and standardise training for staff in early child education and care centres. The minimum grade required is grade 5 of the National Framework of Qualifications standards, but strong efforts need to be made to help staff attain higher grades. The commitments for the support of early years’ education in the 2016 DES Action Plan for Education are important. The commitment for pre-school staff to be enrolled on a National Level 6 Programme is significant. However, there is a need for a much higher proportion of staff to be at grades 7 and 8. It is also the case that personnel in many ECCE settings experience unsatisfactory working conditions and inadequate pay. The NCCA, in conjunction with the regional education centres, have been providing courses for teachers with a key focus on Aistear methodology. Some Master in Education courses have incorporated specialist strands on ECCE, increasing the pool of expertise within schools. Inspection A major new development occurred in 2015 with the establishment of a specialist core of ECCE inspectors within the DES. Those recruited to this Early Years Inspectorate have very high levels of expertise and experience. A key focus is to Towards a affirm good practice and make BE TTER recommendations for improvement. FUTURE A with Review ofthe They work in association Irish the School System Tusla pre-school inspectors, focussing About the Authors on the quality of the educational service provided, while Tusla has responsibility for the health, safety and quality aspects. The Inspectorate has prepared a Quality Regulatory Framework [issued] in 2017 to provide guidance on the expectations set out in the Revised Regulations.

A major new development occurred in 2015 with the establishment of a specialist core of ECCE inspectors within the DES. Those recruited to this Early Years Inspectorate have very high levels of expertise and experience. be addressed. The percentage of GDP allocated to the sector needs to be raised from the current 0.1% towards the OECD average allocation of 0.8% (OECD, 2016, p. 310). Improved training is a matter of urgent importance, as is improved remuneration and working conditions. There is a need for much greater co-ordination and co-operation among organisations in the sector so that provision is more cohesive and unified. Work is afoot to improve the harmonisation of effort between pre-schools and the infant sector of primary schools, and this needs to be further developed. The efforts to reform the infant section of the primary school curriculum need to be promoted further, with greater attention to the large size of infant classes in many primary schools. There is a need for synchronising the subject-based primary curriculum with the Aistear / Síolta approach of ECCE. The National Early Years Strategy provides a good opportunity for locating on-going reform initiatives on ECCE within a broad national plan. To download an electronic version of the publication, go to www.ippn.ie – Advocacy – Publications. To purchase a hard copy, go to www.otb.ie and put ‘towards a better future’ in the search box.

Towards a Better Future -A

Dr. John Coolahan is Emeritus Professor of Education at the National University of Ireland Maynoot h.

Dr. Sheelagh Drudy is Emeritus Professor of Education and former Head of the School of Education at UCD.

Review of the Irish School

Dr. Pádraig Hogan is Senior Lecturer in Education at the National University of Ireland, Maynoot h.

Dr Áine Hyland is Emeritus Professor of Educatio n and former Vice-President of Universit y College Cork, Ireland.


Dr. Séamus McGuinn ess is a former Senior Lecturer in the School of Educatio n, Trinity College, Dublin.

ISBN 978-0-9555050-5-8


LOOKING AHEAD ECCE requires sustained policy attention and support. The traditional under-financing of the sector needs to


Concern has been expressed that children with disabilities have tended to be neglected in the provision of early childhood education. A major new initiative in September 2016 was the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), which seeks to allow children with disabilities to engage fully in ECCE. A new higher education programme, LINC, was set up in 2016 to train up to 900 preschool staff each year to work as Inclusion Co-ordinators in the ECCE setting. Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Charter and Guidelines were published to assist in promoting good practice. Focused attention has been given to the needs of children such as those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. This progressive move has implications for professional training

and appropriate resources to ensure satisfactory implementation of policy.

Towards a

BETTER FUTURE A Review of the Irish School System

John Coolahan | Sheela gh Drudy Pádraig Hogan | Áine Hyland Séamus McGuinness

Published by the Irish Primary Principals’ Network National Association and the of Principals and Deputy Principals




LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals



KAREN DEVINE DIRECTOR OF CARRICK-ON-SHANNON EDUCATION CENTRE Instructional Leadership (IL) is a professional development programme to enhance learning and teaching repertoires in our schools developed by Professor Barrie Bennett, author of Graphic Intelligence, Classroom Management and Beyond Monet. Professor Bennett has written and lectured extensively on the theme of teacher learning focused on instructional practices - how teachers acquire an instructional repertoire, how they extend it, integrate it, and what effects this practice has on student learning. Research indicates that a teacher’s ‘instructional repertoire’ is one of the single biggest predictors of a student’s performance. WHY INVESTIGATE INSTRUCTIONAL INTELLIGENCE? The IL Programme generally aims to facilitate the growth of a teacher’s instructional intelligence. Instructional Intelligence means reflecting on our teaching ‘intelligently’ which creates a scaffold for professional dialogue around teachers’ teaching and students’ learning, placing the student, more actively engaged, at the heart of that learning. AIMS OF THE INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME The programme endeavours to initiate and facilitate systemic change, across all levels of education focusing on teaching and learning, by specifically aiming to: ■■ Encourage teachers to consciously reflect on and modify their instructional actions so as to maximise individual student learning ■■ Facilitate the conscious and deliberate utilisation of teacher skills, tactics and strategies ■■ Foster an awareness of how a teacher’s actions can impact on student learning – motivation, novelty, authenticity, accountability and safety ■■ Reacquaint teachers with the extent to which learning is affected 26


by diverse learning styles, multiple intelligences, ‘at risk environment’ Enhance classroom management.

PILOT PROJECT AT PRIMARY LEVEL IL is now an established programme at post primary level in Ireland, having been in place since 2008. It is now being piloted at primary level in five Education Centres: Cork, Donegal, Kilkenny, Limerick and Carrick-onShannon. During the last academic year, these five Education Centres collaborated with Education and Training Board Ireland (ETBI) in training primary facilitators in IL under the tutorage of Barrie Bennett and the ETBI Instructional Leadership team. The rationale for this initiative is to provide a tangible bridge between what is happening at primary level and recent Junior Cycle developments at post primary, equipping teachers, and in turn students, with the language and skills needed to not just bridge that gap but also to lay a solid foundation for effective teaching and learning. ROLL OUT OF THE PILOT PROJECT In July 2019, an IL summer course was hosted in Cork, Donegal and Kilkenny Education Centres. A DES Inspection carried out on the summer course highlighted the deep reflective engagement with course content and the enabling of participants to contribute insightful opinions and experiences from their own classroom practice. It also commended the clear pathways provided to link the theoretical aspects of instructional leadership with practical everyday classroom implementation. The report noted that the national priorities of school self-evaluation (SSE), STEM Education and the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy were addressed in the learning outcomes and forms part of participants’ timetabled learning experiences.

The learner’s experience during the course was excellent. The course presenters succeeded in creating a relaxed atmosphere with very high levels of engagement and participation. A broad range of methodologies, including collaborative tasks and challenging topics for whole-group discussion, were used to stimulate participation and response. Participant feedback indicated that they gained a range of skills, tactics and strategies that will enhance the teaching and learning in their own classrooms across all subject areas and developed a common language, which supports meaningful professional dialogue and professional reflection. Participant and DES feedback highlighted the benefits of exposure to this highly engaging CPD at both individual and whole school level. The Summer Course will run again in July 2020 in all five Education Centres. GET IN TOUCH Contact details for the directors of the five participating Education Centres are as follows: ■■ Carrick-on-Shannon - Karen Devine director@carrickedcentre.ie ■■ Cork - Niamh Ní Mhaoláin director@cesc.ie ■■ Donegal - Jacqui Dillon - director@ donegaledcentre.ie ■■ Limerick - Carmel O’Doherty carmel@lec.ie ■■ Kilkenny - John O’Sullivan director@eckilkenny.ie Read more at https://www. instructionalleadership.ie/index.php and https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ education/a-teaching-revolutionthat-makes-the-classes-comealive-1.2488446 LINK LINK

Keep an eye on ippn.ie and your E-scéal for notification of event registration


short-term substitute service l To date, 1875 teachers have registered for the service, 795 substitute positions have been filled

NEW! Text mes

sage now sent to teacher wit h the substitu te position ‘o ffer’

l Accessed via your EducationPosts.ie dashboard l Free service to teachers l Profile to include availability, qualifications and experience l Validation of Teaching Council Registration Number l Calendar view to update availability for the next 5 days

l Substitute teachers select up to 6 counties they are willing to sub in l Mobile compatible l Teachers can sub in primary and post-primary schools l Teachers receive sub offers directly on the site and via email

Contact us on subs@educationposts.ie Follow us on social media for regular updates


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals



MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH ON WELLBEING Paula Kinnarney (Assistant Professor in the Department of Education) and Dr Jolanta Burke offered IPPN the opportunity to participate in research in relation to school leaders’ wellbeing. They have undertaken a research project at post-primary level with NAPD. Among other aspects, this research will look at: ■■ How engaged school leaders are at work ■■ How they regulate their mood and its impact on life situations ■■ How they are supported at work and at home ■■ The level of meaning and accomplishment they feel they have ■■ Their physical health ■■ Their ‘stress mindset’ ■■ Passion at work (for work!) ■■ The level of ‘languishing’.

The research is based on a questionnaire which is designed to take about 7-10 minutes. We need to aim for a high response rate – 20-30% of school leaders for the research to be considered valid. It will provide evidence-based interventions and recommendations, which can be targeted according to the particular results. For example, some respondents may need particular supports in relation to stress. CORK – ASD SPECIAL CLASSES IPPN has supported the Cork Principals’ Group for ASD Special Classes with a piece of research in relation to the various issues relating to the management of special classes. The survey looked at the following issues: ■■ Profile – number and type of special classes, number of pupils ■■ Benefits of special classes to school community

■■ ■■

■■ ■■



Waiting lists and placement Integration and reverse integration with mainstream classes Opening new classes/resourcing Supports/interventions sought/ provided Training/supports for behaviours of concern Priority for NCSE action.

35 school leaders completed the survey and we are currently analysing the responses with the group to determine the key findings and agree the next steps. FUTURE RESEARCH PRIORITIES We are currently undertaking an organisation review and working on the IPPN strategic plan for the period 2021 – 2025. These processes will inform and shape our research priorities and approach in the coming years. We will communicate these to you in a future issue of Leadership+.

www.ippn.ie Latest resources If your school has a policy or plan that is not available on ippn.ie, or which would supplement available resources, we would appreciate if you would submit it for review by email to rachel.hallahan@ ippn.ie.

Gaeltacht school recognition scheme: Ongoing implementation of the Scheme (2020 - 2021) ■■

The following are the new resources available in the different sections of the website:


DES CIRCULARS ■■ 0012/2020 - Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022: Invitation to primary schools in Gaeltacht language-planning areas to consider joining the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme (February 2020 - August 2021) ■■


0010/2020 - Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022: Primary schools and special schools in Gaeltacht language-planning areas participating in the




0009/2020 - Graduate Certificate in the Education of Pupils with Autism Spectrum (AS) for teachers working with Pupils on the AS in Special Schools, Special Classes or as Special Education Teachers in mainstream Primary and Post-Primary Schools, 2020/2021 0008/2020 - Post-Graduate Diploma Programme of Continuing Professional Development for Special Education Teachers, 2020/2021 0007/2020 - Commencement of certain Sections of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 0005/2020 - Standardisation of the School Year in respect of

Primary & Post-Primary Schools for the years 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 ■■

0003/2020 - Teacher Fee Refund Scheme 2019

PLANNING PROMPTS A new prompt is uploaded each week to this section, and each one is relevant to the time of year.


PARTNER PRINCIPALS ■■ Letter to BoM ■■ Letter to Principals ■■ Leadership Article Issue 105 LEADERSHIP+ 2019/2020 ■■ Issue 112 - February 2020 E-SCÉALS A new E-scéal is uploaded each week to this section.

And Finally…



usions l c n o c o t Jumping ake m s y a w l a doesn’t gs n i d n a l y p for hap ymous



Teacher: ”You copied from Johnny’s exam paper, didn’t you?” Student: ”How did you know?” Teacher: Johnny’s paper says “I don’t know” and you put, “Me neither!” Teacher: ”You know you can’t sleep in my class!” Student: ”Maybe if you were just a little quieter, I could…” Teacher: “Name two pronouns.” Student: “Who, me?” Source: Riddlster.co

d e s u s y a w l a e h y h w When asked is h e k a m o t d o o w d e storm-damag y l t n e r a p p a s iu r a iv d a violins, Str n e t a e b r e h t a e w e s u replied, ‘Beca .’ ic s u m t s e t e e w s e h wood makes t


The quality & morale of teachers is absolutely central to the well-being of students and their learning.

Prof. Andy Hargreaves

ALLIANZ - YOUR LOCAL SERVICE & SUPPORT We have a Local Personal Service for all Schools insured directly with Allianz - Your Local Allianz Representative is always available and ready to assist you. CONTACTING YOUR INSURER MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THE FIRST THING ON YOUR MIND, BUT REST ASSURED WE ARE HERE TO HELP. HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE AREAS WE CAN ASSIST YOUR SCHOOL

An incident or an injury that may lead to a claim

You receive a Solicitors letter

Your School is applying for a development grant

You have a safety concern or would like some assistance with a risk assessment

You would like some guidance as a new Principal

Your school has completed a new extension or has a Sums Insured query

There has been significant damage to the school property such as fire, storm, flood etc.

YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES CONTACT DETAILS Shane Mooney ACII – West 087 – 9190428 Shane.Mooney@allianz.ie

Martin Sinnott ACII – South East 087 – 6862329 Martin.Sinnott@allianz.ie

Mairead Mullins ACII – North West 087 – 2485065 Mairead.Mullins@allianz.ie

Martin McKeogh, ACII, BBS (Hon) – South 087 9203992 Martin.McKeogh@allianz.ie

Noel O’Loughlin ACII – South West 087 – 2588943 Noel.O’Loughlin@allianz.ie

Alan Carroll CIP – North East 087 – 9566721 Alan.Carroll@allianz.ie

If your School are insured through an insurance intermediary, please contact them for assistance


Allianz plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Standard acceptance criteria apply. Calls may be recorded.

Profile for Irish Primary Principals’ Network

Leadership+ Issue 113 April 2020  

Leadership+ Issue 113 April 2020  

Profile for ippn