ISSUE 65 ● NOVEMBER 2011
+ Leadership THE PROFESSIONAL VOICE OF PRINCIPALS
Save On a Rainy Day! Reflecting on the challenges of the Codes of Professional Conduct for school principals…
New Boards of Management Like general elections, which happen roughly every four years, over 3,300 schools are currently establishing a new board of management which will ‘manage’ the school until the end of 2015.
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New Boards of Management by Seán Cottrell and Gerry Murphy Like general elections, which happen roughly every four years, over 3,300 schools are currently establishing a new board of management which will ‘manage’ the school until the end of 2015. The board of management of a primary school is quite a unique entity within the public service.The concept is good – a representative sample of parents, staff, patron and community coming together, working on a voluntary basis, to manage the school that educates the children in the locality. In theory, this model should work. In practice, it doesn’t always. Several schools in disadvantaged communities, in remote rural areas and special schools report great difficulty in ‘getting a board together’.When a principal has to coerce people to take part in a board of management, something is not right with the system. IPPN’s research of 500 boards of management, covering 4000 board members, published in Primary School Governance - Challenges & Opportunities has revealed that there is a huge variety of practice from board to board, depending on the circumstances in each school. One finding jumps out from the report is that board meetings are heavily occupied with discussion about minor matters which, in other contexts, would be decided upon at a middle-management level. In stark contrast, boards don’t spend enough time engaged in the higher order matters which have a long-term impact on the school, such as future accommodation needs, mandatory policies, investment in IT infrastructure and compliance with legislation.
Challenges & Opportunities also found that an overwhelming majority of board members feel that they were underutilised and that most of the work is done by the principal and the chairperson. Principals and chairpersons are saying the same thing about their work overload. So, what can be done to reconcile these two opposing views? In our Guide to Best Practice, we gathered together the responsibilities and tasks which boards delegated to individual members and in doing so, painted a picture of what is possible. At this point some of you are saying ‘I can’t get members to fill a board, what chance do I have if I’m asking them to take on a role that carries a lot of work?’. Too many principals report that they spend their time at meetings providing training for new board members, briefing members about what has happened in school, outlining what is going to happen, explaining the intricacies of the education system, the difference between a SENO and an EWO, or between a Section 29 and a Section 24. As the research confirms, a serious national dialogue is now required to examine school governance. Like the Forum on Patronage & Pluralism, such a dialogue can only benefit schools. Primary School Governance Challenges & Opportunities may be a start to such a dialogue.
The more challenging work of the board gets left behind because it’s difficult work and often the expertise required is not available within the board. Why does this happen? It happens because the more minor matters are less challenging and often appear to be more important than they actually are. The more challenging work of the board gets left behind because it’s difficult work and often the expertise required is not available within the board. Bearing in mind the reality that new boards will be in place by 1st December, 2011, what can we do to make the best of the current governance structure? Recently, you received an e-scéal linking you to a document on ippn.ie called Boards of Management – a Guide to Best Practice. This guide gives a straight-forward overview of how boards of management should and can be both effective and efficient. It also presents sample duties that can be delegated to individual members of the board. Primary School Governance -
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Save On a Rainy Day! By Cóilin Ó Coigligh, Principal of St. Mary’s NS, Trim, Co. Meath Last Easter we took the plunge and installed a rainwater harvesting system. As a Green School we are conscious of the amount of water we use each day. We have 69 cisterns and around 560 pairs of little and big hands are washed at least once on a daily basis.We were at the time also the proud holders of a water bill which hit €30,000 before we came to an arrangement with the local council. Until about five years ago we were paying a set annual fee for water charges. Then metres were installed and, similar to many schools up and down the country, our bills then went through the roof. In April 2010 we had completed a sizeable extension to our school but were too late for the new DES water harvesting initiative. In Koroit Primary School, Victoria, Australia, where I worked in 2010, I oversaw the installation of a rainwater harvesting scheme which involved gathering water from one roof to be used to water the school garden. The government grant was about €15,000 and we were able to stretch the money and extend the scheme to cover two larger roofs which gave us enough water to cover the school toilets also.We also installed solar panels which were covered as part of the building of a new library and computer room. The school had both projects funded completely with no local contribution or fundraising involved. The schemes were open to all primary schools as a work stimulation initiative called Building the Education Revolution (BER). A total of 14.7 billion was spent on primary schools in Australia. It was one of the major factors which helped them recover from the worldwide recession. On my return to Ireland, I contacted the DES with a plan outlining green initiatives, including rainwater harvesting, the installation of a wind turbine and also solar panels. The BoM had approved all of these as cost saving measures but were hoping for
grant aid. I understood that our poor country did not have billions to invest in schools, having chosen to do so in banks instead, but I was hopeful that our projects would be supported in some small way. I eventually discovered that there is a section dealing with green initiatives but, based on their research and pilot schemes, they were not recommending any of the three as cost efficient measures.Therefore, excepting rainwater harvesting for new builds, there were no grants available. Our BoM decided to proceed on a phased basis, starting with rainwater harvesting. Having got prices from three companies, we picked our installer and they were in and out in three days over the Easter holidays.The DES was concerned about the possibility of legionellae (bacteria that leads to Legionnaires’ Disease), vandalism and tanks freezing. To overcome these concerns, we installed three 10,000 litre tanks underground. We now gather water from two large roofs. This water feeds our existing water tank so there was no need to install a second set of pipe-work. Mindful of further DES concerns about filtering, we installed a carbon filtering system followed by two ultraviolet filtering systems. Thus if we failed to notice that one system had broken down immediately, we were covered with the other two. The water initially passes through two blue carbon filters and then two long tubes which contain the UV filtering system before entering our existing water storage tank. Our drinking water still comes from the town supply. The installation cost varies depending on the amount of water you need and whether or not you go for a system to feed toilets only, which would involve a second set of pipes (more expensive). There are also cheaper over-ground systems which use large tanks or others which use small tanks on the wall that feed directly into toilet cisterns.You might also like to factor in the cost of a Local Area Network (LAN). This enables you to read the amount of rainwater you are using and access other statistics. An annual service contract costs €175. Like all schools we have sizeable annual water bills. The installation company estimated that we could save up to 80% but even taking a conservative estimate of a 50% saving in our school, the project will have paid for itself in seven years. Even if it took ten years it is still a worthwhile investment. A similar amount of money invested in a bank would only yield a PAG E 4
fraction of this amount over a seven to ten year period.We subsequently did a deal with our local authority on our outstanding water bill and used the savings to fund this project.This means that the future savings from rainwater harvesting can now be invested in a wind turbine. We are currently awaiting planning permission for this and hope to proceed at Halloween.We have estimated that this will pay for itself in approx ten years. It is great to know that we are now using ‘free’ water. It seems inevitable that our water charges are going to increase considerably into the future, especially when you consider that from Meath County council we are currently getting 1000 litres of water for only €2.60! Schools will need to look seriously at a rainwater harvesting system and other options (sink a well?) in conjunction with water conservation initiatives as a financial imperative. The future looks bleak for schools in terms of water costs but we in St Mary’s will continue to save on a rainy day.
Teacher Researchers at the Clare and Limerick Education Centres’ Research Conference 2011 By Dr. Kevin Haugh, Retired Principal, Galvone N.S. & Retired Assistant National Co-ordinator, LDS
Mr. Eddie Ward, Principal Officer, Teacher Education Section, Department of Education and Skills opened the first Clare and Limerick Education Centres’ Research Conference at the Limerick Education Centre on Saturday morning 26th March 2011. The theme of the conference was ‘Promoting Teacher Continuing Professional Development through Teacher Engagement in Research’ in which papers were delivered on ICT, Curriculum Development and School Leadership. It was a landmark event for education researchers in the mid-west region, where it provided a forum for practitioners to showcase their work and share their learning through reflective practice in a professional and collegial setting.
The organisers are publishing a journal of the research papers which is aimed at nurturing research communities throughout the teaching fraternity, whereby research findings will find their way on to the reference library of every teacher… The conference was a testament to how much teachers challenge and change their practice through peer and self critique. The teacher researchers are to be commended on their contribution to convening an education research community and sharing their findings in a public forum. We need to encourage teacher practitioners to share their experiences across the entire spectrum of the school community to ensure that models of best practice do not go unnoticed, unshared and lost to the greater audience of the teaching profession. The organisers are publishing a journal of the research papers which is aimed at nurturing research communities throughout the teaching fraternity whereby research findings will find their way on to the reference library of every teacher, gently inspiring new ways of thinking about research in their lives.
Consequently, teachers will take responsibility for their own continuing professional development by reflecting on their own practice, challenging and trying different methodologies in pursuit of excellence. It is envisaged that in those still and private moments very positive curriculum and school learning communities will be born.
Ritchie points out ‘Teachers who conduct research are engaging in ongoing, jobembedded professional learning, investigating their own questions, rather than waiting for someone to tell them what to do… It is an axiom that teacher research will not make us as sure as we would like to be, but it will help us act with a new and renewed confidence that our decisions are based on data thoughtfully collected and analysed by us and our peers. Research not only questions, it also affirms our practice in evidence-based findings and enables us to take control of our own professional lives in the awareness that rigorous learning comes from within and it is not ‘handed down from above’. This process empowers teachers to think of themselves as teacher researchers generating recognition of teaching habits that create best practice in the classroom with maximum learning outcomes for the children. Ritchie points out ‘Teachers who conduct research are engaging in ongoing, jobembedded professional learning, investigating their own questions, rather than waiting for someone to tell them what to do, empowers teachers to generate their own knowledge about ‘what works’ in teaching and learning.’ Murray Thomas (2008) suggests that ‘Teachers are not satisfied to ponder matters in a casual or cursory fashion’. Instead, they yearn to investigate issues in a systematic manner that PAG E 5
enables them to improve their practice and the quality of delivery to the pupils/students entrusted to them. Equally it qualifies them to share the outcomes of their study with fellow teachers, administrators, readers of professional books, educators who subscribe to professional journals, and the general public.These teachers wish to ‘do research’ on significant educational matters and it is intended to disseminate the outcomes of their investigations to broader audiences by publishing the deliberations of the conference.
The Clare and Limerick Education Centres 2011 Research Conference was an initial step on a research journey. Teacher practitioners unravelled the challenges and opportunities that present themselves in their chosen profession The Clare and Limerick Education Centres 2011 Research Conference was an initial step on a research journey. Teacher practitioners unravelled the challenges and opportunities that present themselves in their chosen profession as they try to do it even better tomorrow. ‘There are always vacancies: there are always roads not taken, vistas not acknowledged. The search must be ongoing; the end can never be quite known’ (Greene, p.15). We must continue to offer ‘to interpret life from our situated standpoints, try – over and over again - to begin’ (Greene, p.16). Expressions of interest in the 2012 Clare and Limerick Education Centres’ Research Conference should be made by e-mail to Joe O’Connell at email@example.com or Pat Hanrahan firstname.lastname@example.org or Kevin Haugh at email@example.com. Hard copies of the research journal are available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
IPPN’s WellPlus Programme with Vhi Healthcare Although ‘Wellness’ is a common term, few can define it. Ireland’s leading health insurer Vhi Healthcare, sees wellness as the management of chronic ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as obesity and diabetes which are among the primary causes of illness, disability and death in Ireland. Over the next school year, IPPN and Vhi Healthcare will be rolling out a comprehensive Wellness Programme called WellPlus, for all Principals and Deputy Principals, designed to help you take positive steps towards identifying health risks and make positive changes to your health and lifestyle.
Although the population is living longer, chronic conditions have reduced the quality of the extra years that have been gained. “The importance of managing lifestyle disease cannot be overstated. High blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, type-II diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer reduce the quality of life in many adults living with them and represent substantial financial costs to the individuals affected, the health and social care system as well as loss of productivity to the economy,” said Dr Bernadette Carr, Medical Director, Vhi Healthcare. Although the population is living longer, chronic conditions have reduced the quality of the extra years that have been gained. There is much evidence in Ireland and abroad over recent years to indicate that while life expectancy has increased, healthy life expectancy has not kept up. In addition, it is estimated that
lifestyle diseases cause 35 million deaths globally and this is expected to rise to over 50 million by 2030.
you can take positive steps towards identifying health risks and following that positively change your own health behaviour.
“The WellPlus Programme from Vhi Healthcare is just one of a number of initiatives which we provide to our customers to help promote the importance of wellness within the community. In the past two years we have introduced two medical screening Clinics initially focused on cardiovascular risk and Type II Diabetes risk assessment which will mean that around 24,000 screenings will have been carried out by the end of 2011.
Each participant will be sent an invitation to complete an online confidential Health Risk Assessment (HRA) via email. The HRA only takes about 20 minutes to complete and is 100% confidential.
In addition Vhi Healthcare has also introduced its hospital-in-the-home service,Vhi HomeCare - and in 2012 we have plans to introduce a community based secondary care service for children”, added Dr Carr. In Ireland, the number of adults with lifestyle diseases will increase by around 40% between now and 2020 owing to our diet and increasingly sedentary lifestyle. The risk factors which contribute to these statistics include smoking, alcohol and drug dependence, excessive stress, lack of exercise, raised cholesterol, poor diet and obesity. How WellPlus from Vhi Healthcare can help IPPN members The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 80% of heart disease stroke and Type II diabetes, and 40% of cancer could be avoided if major risk factors were eliminated. WHO recommends that countries adopt population level disease prevention programmes including management programmes that focus on individuals at high risk. Through Vhi Healthcare’s WellPlus Programme for IPPN,
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 80% of heart disease stroke and Type II diabetes, and 40% of cancer could be avoided if major risk factors were eliminated. Following completion of the HRA, you will receive your own personal, immediate health status report. This document will provide you with a Health Risk Score and information around the early identification of health risks based on your HRA responses. Depending on the level of risk highlighted in the HRA, you may be referred for follow-up services including health screening, lifestyle coaching, or employee assistance services. Complete confidentiality assured The Vhi Healthcare WellPlus Programme for IPPN is 100% confidential. IPPN will not see any individual’s health data. Similarly, Vhi Healthcare will only use this information for the provision of services and never for the provision of health insurance.
Conference 2012 Competition Winners The following principals each won a superb Conference 2012 package (conference registration with B&B accommodation) through renewal of their school’s IPPN membership by Direct Debt: ● Alma Leonard, St Clares Primary School, Cavan ● Paul Favier, Glenflesk NS, Kerry ● Margaret O’Connor, Glengurt NS, Limerick ● Brian Boyle, St. Michaels NS, Kilkenny ● Louise Lavin, SN Naomh Treasa, Roscommon PAG E 6
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Key Skills for Principals Ask, don't tell How do you spend most of your time at work: a) solving problems or b) focusing on long-term planning while supervising your self- sufficient teaching staff? If you answered "a" then the first piece of advice is this: stop solving problems.
teacher or a staff member, find out what he or she wants to achieve by asking, what would you like to have happen that isn't happening now? Or, six months from now, how will your situation be different?
Coaching your teaching staff to self-sufficiency requires that you teach them to become problemsolvers. If they rely on you for all the answers, then you are creating an energy drain for yourself and dependency for your staff.
When a teacher has a problem, ask a question to encourage critical thinking rather than providing the answer.
Instead, when a teacher has a problem, ask a question to encourage critical thinking rather than providing the answer. Training may take more time upfront, but in the end you will have developed a teacher who can solve problems and train others. Here are some common situations and suggestions for coaching questions. Setting goals: Instead of setting goals for a
Supporting organisational goals: If a teacher sets a goal that appears more self-serving than in support of the school, build awareness by asking, how will this help or hinder your job performance? Or, how would you describe the work culture? How do you fit in?
Encourage personal motivation: Contrary to popular belief, money is not the best motivator. As long as a person is making a comfortable living, then the source of motivation is more personal. Discover what that is by asking, would you tell me about a time in your life when you were performing at your peak and felt totally excited, satisfied, and proud? What was that like for you? How is that different from how you feel now? Accept accountability: For staff members who love to blame others and excuse their own behaviour, ask questions that encourage accountability such as, how have you contributed to the situation? Or, what can you do differently that will influence the outcome? Source: Fee, Susan, M.Ed., L.P.C. (July 2006). Ask, don't tell. Manager's tipsheet. Communication Tipsheet, July 2006 ed. Retrieved July 5, 2006.
Our revamped website has many new features, including MyCJFallon, a new personalised web space for teachers which provides easy access to all of our digital resources in one place. Teachers can now: G Search, filter and browse over 1,700 digital resources (including eBooks, posters, interactive games, animations, video and audio) G Add ‘favourites’ to their own personal user profile, for ease of future use in class G Launch or download resources for classroom display or personal use
preparing the future… PAG E 7
Legal Diary by David Ruddy, B.L.
Children First - National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011 All schools have received a hard copy of the new Children First Guidelines. A summary leaflet is being prepared for distribution soon.What is the difference between the 1999 guidelines and the 2011 ones? In essence, the substance and principles remain unchanged.The new guidelines bring greater clarity and reflect recommendations from recent reports such as the Roscommon one and other reviews and inspections over the last decade. Is the Children First guidance mandatory? Yes. The Government has approved the preparation of legislation which will provide for Children First National Guidance to be underpinned on a statutory basis in order to ensure compliance by all schools and organisations working with children. Is the Children First guidance the same as mandatory reporting? We will have to await the publication of the legislation. If mandatory reporting is introduced, failure to disclose information on child sexual abuse could result in such sanctions as fines and imprisonment. Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has stated ‘The days of voluntary compliance are over’. Those opposed to mandatory reporting claim it would lead to a flood of over-reporting and push overstretched services to breaking point. Mandatory reporting has been in place in Australia for decades. The intention is that the legislation to underpin the provisions in Children First will include a requirement to share relevant information and to cooperate with other services in the best interests of the child. The legislation will therefore reflect a broad-based approach, with obligations extending beyond reporting to one overall safeguarding of children considered to be at risk. What legal protections are in place for Designated Liaison Persons or members of the school staff who report suspicions of child abuse? The Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act (1998) makes a provision for the protection from civil liability of persons who have communicated child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to
designated officers of the HSE or to any member of An Garda Síochána. This means that even if a communicated suspicion of child abuse proves unfounded, a plaintiff who took an action would have to prove that the teacher /DLP who communicated the concern had not acted reasonably and in good faith in making the report.
was abused ● An account from a person who saw the child being abused ● Evidence (e.g. injury or behaviour) that is consistent with abuse and unlikely to have been caused in any other way.
What services deal with child abuse concerns? Under the 1991 Child Care Act, the HSE and An Garda Síochána are the two key agencies empowered to carry out the assessment and investigation of suspected child abuse. The HSE also provides assessment and supports families where there are welfare concerns.
‘RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT’ Section 176 of the Criminal Justice Act (2006) states that a person having authority or control over a child or an abuser who intentionally or recklessly endangers a child by causing or permitting any child to be placed or left in a situation which creates a substantial risk to the child of being a victim of serious harm or sexual abuse, or failing to take reasonable steps to protect a child from such a risk while knowing that the child is in such a situation, is guilty of an offence. The penalty for a person found guilty of this offence is a fine (no upper limit) and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.
What does a Designated Liaison Person do if they are concerned about a child? HSE Children and Family Services should always be informed when a person has reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being or is at a risk of being abused or neglected.
OBSERVATION (1) All schools should audit/revise their Child Protection Policy to incorporate the Children First guidance 2011 (2) The BoM should discuss and approve any amendments to the Child Protection Policy
What constitutes reasonable grounds for concern? ● An injury or behaviour that is consistent with abuse. If a pupil gives an innocent explanation in response to a teacher’s concerns and there are also corroborative indicators supporting the concerns then it must be reported as this may be a case of abuse. We should always be cognisant of the fact that it is a teacher’s task to report but not to investigate.
(3) The Designated Liaison Person should outline the content of the guidance to all staff
QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE A person who makes a report in good faith and in the child’s best interests may also be protected under common law by the defence of qualified privilege.
● Consistent indication, over a period of time that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect. ● Admission or indication by the perpetrator of an alleged abuse ● A specific indication from a child that s/he
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(4) The publication of legislation will bring greater clarity to the status of the new guidance. VETTING / RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES Is it timely to refer to Circular 0063/2011 ‘Recruitment Procedures – requirement for Garda Vetting’. This circular was discussed at length in the ‘Legal Diary’ in issue 60 of Leadership+ and can be accessed through the Policy & News section of the IPPN website. Applicants for all teaching positions of any
duration must be vetted prior to commencing employment unless they have already been vetted during the same or previous calendar year. As an additional safeguard, the child protectionrelated Statutory Declaration must be provided by all persons being appointed to teaching and non-teaching positions of any duration. A Statutory Declaration is regarded as valid if made in the same or previous calendar year. A Statutory Declaration must be witnessed by either a practising solicitor/commissioner for oaths/ notary public/Peace Commissioner. The Department of Education and Skills payroll section will also require all newly-appointed staff to sign a form of undertaking. In addition, the associated undertaking (which is specific to the employing BoM) must be signed by all persons prior to commencing employment of any
duration. For administrative ease, the Department’s payroll appointment forms will incorporate this undertaking. A Form of Undertaking is regarded as valid for other appointments to the same school authority if signed within the same or previous calendar year. NEW BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT New Boards of Management take office on December 1st 2011. BoMs are recognised under Section 14 & 15 of the Education Act 1998. Membership of a Board of Management affords a teacher representative an insight into the governance of schools. Principals should encourage staff to put their names forward for election. Membership should not to be seen as a burden but as a learning opportunity. Anyone aspiring to a management position in a school ought to consider the benefits of membership and
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participation on a BoM. Is there any legal liability attached to individual members of a BoM? While members of Boards have a responsibility to ensure that procedures are in place within the school to keep their pupils safe, they are not personally liable for claims against the school. Section 14(7) of the Education Act (1998) states that ‘Except as provided by this Act no action shall lie against a member of a board in respect of anything done by that member in good faith and in pursuance of this Act or any regulations made by the Minister under this Act’. This specifically protects individual members acting in good faith and in accordance with prescribed or agreed procedures from being sued.
Clarity or confusion? Reflecting on the challenges of the Codes of Professional Conduct for school principals By Paula Prendeville, teacher in Scartleigh National School, Saleen, Co. Cork Albert Camus once said “a man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world”. The discussion of ethics in teaching should be considered in the everyday interactions of teachers.The new draft Codes of Professional Conduct for Teachers (2011), published by the Teachers’ Council, seeks to “identify the professional responsibilities of teachers… it reflects the complexity and varied situations which teachers deal with, and guides professional practice”. Do the Codes offer clarity to teachers and principals regarding ‘standards of teaching, knowledge, skill and competence’(p.3)? Do the Codes go far enough in outlining to teachers how they should engage in the professional practice of teaching, or are they a cause of confusion? More experienced teachers wonder in jest how they managed before the Codes appeared on the teaching scene. Certainly the wild beast analogy, suggested by Camus, was far from the reality in schools, as ethical practices underpinned teachers’ daily interactions prior to the Codes’ inception. This article seeks to challenge principals to consider what the Codes mean to them by commencing a dialogue that identifies ethical practices, acknowledges the presence of ethical dilemmas, and considers embracing the rhetoric of ethical dilemmas in the school community. An ethical decision-making framework seeks to clarify the confusion. THE CORE VALUES Four core values are outlined in the Ethics of the Teaching Profession (p.6): Care, Respect, Trust and Integrity. The Codes explicitly informs what it means to be a teacher within each value, though implicitly, the Code presumes that everyone understands and adheres to practice that defines each value. What is not acknowledged is that the Codes are not as straightforward in practice, because when there are ethics, there are ethical dilemmas! With the best will in the world there are times when principals may be challenged in acting in everyone’s best interests. Conflicts emerge that can be both internal and external. Ethics of teaching are not taught explicitly in teacher training. Of course teachers are encouraged to develop their reflective skills, though I wonder how many student teachers would recognise and
question ethically unsound practices. Likewise, for the more experienced teacher the consideration of ethical practice, and the acknowledgement of ethical dilemmas, should form part of our interactions if we are to embrace the Codes of Professional Conduct seriously. In Sweden in the late 1990s, educational ethics for school leaders were formulated to guide principals in their ethical decision-making. Now principals are under increasing pressure to make decisions regarding the best use of resources available to them. The use of a framework may support them in making ethically sound decisions. Duignan (2006, p.127) calls for educational leaders to “lead wisely, effectively and ethically in uncertain times”. The Ethical Decision-making (Sternberg, 2009)
Unfortunately, what is not acknowledged is that the Codes are not as straightforward in practice, because when there are ethics, there are ethical dilemmas! Step 1: Recognise that there is an event to which to react For example, a breach of confidentiality occurs with a member of staff. Step 2: Define the event as having an ethical dimension A parent discloses something sensitive to a staff member and this is openly discussed in the staff room. Step 3: Decide that the ethical dimension is significant Something was disclosed in trust to this teacher. It was not appropriate for this to be openly discussed. Step 4: Take personal responsibility for generating an ethical solution
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A school principal needs to take personal responsibility in dealing with this situation effectively. Step 5: Figure out what abstract ethical rule might apply to the problem We have a responsibility to respect confidential information relating to a child. Step 6: Decide how these abstract ethical rules might apply to the problem so that they suggest a concrete solution. Perhaps this teacher viewed the staff room as a safe environment where a sensitive issue could be discussed and shared with other staff members. Step 7: Prepare for the possible repercussions of having acted in what one considers an unethical manner How should a school principal respond to this incident without undermining the teacher, and encourage them to be more ethically mindful of their actions? Step 8: Enact the ethical solution Sternberg admits that carrying out the solution to an ethical dilemma is the key part to behaving ethically, yet is the hardest to act out. Life would be easier if we ignored these types of incidents, however inaction is indirectly reinforcing unethical behaviour in a school. Openly acknowledging ethical dilemmas leads to greater transparency with regard to decisionmaking. The onus is on school principals to create a climate where discussion on ethical practice is considered. To respond to this article please email: email@example.com Duignan, P. (2006). Educational leadership-key challenges and ethical tensions.Victoria, Cambridge University Press. Sternberg, R.J. (2009). We need to teach for ethical conduct. The Educational Forum, 73 (3), 190-198. Paula Prendeville is a teacher in Scartleigh National School, Saleen, Co. Cork. She is currently completing a Masters in Educational Psychology in University College Dublin.
IPPN Sponsors and Partners – Beware the Imposters IPPN has a number of sponsors and business partners. These companies have a proven track record within the primary school sector and while delivering high quality goods and services to schools they also support IPPN as your professional body.
Unfortunately of late, through a series of calls to the Support Office, it has come to our attention that a number of companies, having realised the sales value associated with a partnership with IPPN, are now visiting and contacting schools claiming to be IPPN sponsors and business partners in order to make sales.
EACH OF OUR SPONSORS AND PARTNERS: ● are advocates of IPPN, its mission and goals ● provide genuine value to schools ● invest in IPPN to help the organisation achieve its goals ● are constantly monitored for competitiveness within their markets ● provide dedicated customer service to members.
IPPN cannot guarantee that such companies are providing quality products and additional value to schools; in fact we can almost guarantee that the opposite is true.They are effectively de-valuing our ability to negotiate special rates for the network as a group and as such we need you to take action.
Their investment in IPPN is paramount to helping us achieve our goals and we are delighted to have such high calibre sponsors associated with us.
Unless the company is listed in Leadership+ or on ippn.ie as an official sponsor or business partner they have no right to refer to a relationship with IPPN when promoting products or services. If you come across sales people who are making such claims, please inform us about it.
IPPN SPONSORS AND BUSINESS PARTNERS: SPONSORS:
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Child Protection Continuing to keep our children safe By Maria Doyle, Principal of Our Lady of Mercy PS, Waterford and a member of the IPPN Executive Committee
The protection and welfare of the children in our schools is a responsibility which we as school principals have always taken very seriously and we have traditionally implemented guidelines and procedures which are designed to ensure that the pupils in our care are afforded the protection they deserve.
Timetable a review of the existing child protection policy in your school (in consultation with the Chairperson) to ensure compliance with revised guidelines. There have been a number of important publications recently in relation to Child Protection which are essential reading for all principals. ● Children First –National Guidance for the Protection of Welfare of Children 2011(Department of Children and Youth Affairs). Each school has received one copy of this publication, but it is advisable that additional copies be purchased to ensure that all school personnel and the Parents’ Association have access to it. (See back of publication for details of where to purchase additional copies). ● Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools (DES). These revised procedures replace the 2001 guidelines and are effective immediately. ● Circular 65/2011(DES). This circular outlines the new elements of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools. How do we promote best practice in our schools following the publication of these documents? ● Ensure that all members of the school community are aware of the new publications
● Timetable a review of the existing child protection policy in your school (in consultation with the Chairperson) to ensure compliance with revised guidelines. Make sure that there is a hard copy of the existing policy in every classroom. As boards of management are currently changing, it is likely that this process will be one of the first duties of the new board. ● Implement the Stay Safe programme fully in your school. This is not optional. It may be an opportune time to review your SPHE policy ● Display the names of the DLP and DDLP in a prominent position near the main entrance to your school ● Download the following documents from www.ippn.ie – Reporting Procedures for DLP (see right) and Child Protection Guidelines Checklist for School Employees (see right). (Click on Policies and Plans and scroll down to Parents & Pupils – you will find both documents there.) Laminate these and ensure that all school personnel have copies. They contain clear step by step guidance on what to do in the event of a child protection report. ● Ensure that your record-keeping policy contains a specific reference to how child protection records are to be kept. What changes will the revised procedures bring for you as Principal? ● As DLP, you will need to acquaint yourself with the new publications as soon as possible – they become effective immediately. Ensure that all staff members, BOM and Parents’ Association have a copy of the new circular. ● Ensure that strict records are kept in relation to child protection concerns. Discuss with staff what you require from them in terms of recording, tracking and reporting. ● Your Principal’s Report to each board of management meeting must now contain PAG E 1 2
the number of child protection cases where advice was sought from HSE (even if no further action was advised) and where formal referrals were made to HSE. ● An annual review of your school’s child
An annual review of your school’s child protection policy must be undertaken by the board of management and completion of this annual review must be communicated to the Parents’ Association in writing. protection policy must be undertaken by the board of management and completion of this annual review must be communicated to the Parents’ Association in writing. ● Enquire about all available training for staff in the area of child protection and welfare. Contact the Child Abuse Prevention Programme team - www.capp.ie for advice on the Stay Safe programme and child protection training. ● Ensure that you have all important contact details for key child protection personnel to hand. ● Acquaint yourself with legislation which is relevant in relation to your role as DLP. See Legal Diary in this issue of Leadership+ by David Ruddy BL on page 8. At the Annual IPPN Conference in City West (January 26th – 28th 2012) there will be a workshop presented on Child Protection for Principals who wish further guidance and support in relation to best practice in their schools.
Child Protection Guidelines Checklist for School Employees
Reporting Procedures for DLP (Normally the Principal)
Designated Liaison Person:
● DLP receives report of child protection concern ● DLP records the report – date/time/context. Child’s registration number is used for recording purposes ● DLP makes decision on how to proceed based on information received
Deputy Designated Liaison Person:
● DLP informs Chairperson of Board of Management that initial contact is being made with Health Board If a child discloses information to you: ● Listen
● DLP makes contact with Health Board seeking advice (Do not give name of child at this point. Be very clear that you are seeking advice). Take the name of the person you spoke to and record conversation
● Do not ask leading questions ● Offer reassurance but do not promise not to tell ● Explain that other adults may need to be told - DLP
● Duty Social Worker makes recommendation. This may involve school continuing to monitor the situation. Record this decision and send written record of this decision to Health Board. Alternatively a formal referral made on standard reporting form may be recommended by Social Worker (Keep a copy on file in a secure place)
● Do not stop the child speaking ● Do not over react or comment ● Inform DLP - If you have a reasonable suspicion or reasonable grounds for concern that a child is at risk or has suffered abuse, the DLP should contact the Health Board for advice
● If Health Board not available and case warrants immediate response – Gardaí are informed
● At the earliest opportunity, record accurately what the child has said – Using the child’s own words. Record date/time and context of the disclosure. Use child’s registration number – Not child’s name
● Decision made on informing/not informing parents taking safety of the child into consideration as number one priority. A decision NOT to inform parent/s should only be made where there is a genuine concern for the safety of the child. Be transparent with parent/s and ensure that they are aware that you have a non-negotiable responsibility as DLP to act in the best interests of the child (Refer to Children First)
● Facts only ● Sketch signs of physical injury if appropriate ● Retain records for a period of 21 years in keeping with the school’s Record Keeping Policy The following should also be reported to the DLP: ● An account from a person who saw a child being abused
● If DLP decides not to contact Health Board in relation to the case – person who made original report must be informed in writing
● Injury consistent with abuse ● Dysfunctional behaviour
● Continued monitoring of child should be recommended
● Implausible explanations for injury or behaviour
● Child Protection concerns that have been reported to the Health Board should be included in the Principal’s Report to Board of Management Meeting - Child’s name is not used
● Consistent evidence over a period of time that a child is being emotionally or physically neglected Health Board Response: ● School is asked to monitor the situation
IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS ● Chairperson BoM:
● Formal report is requested , sent by DLP and on receipt case is allocated to Social Worker
● Health Board:
● Preliminary enquiry – Screening process ● Initial assessment
● Gardaí :
Possible outcomes: ● Case closed
● Local Hospital:
● Family support ● School Nurse:
● Child Protection Plan (usually following a case conference)
● CAPP (Stay Safe Programme): 01 6206346 ● J.L.O:
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IPPN Annual Principals’
CITYWEST HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTRE, DUBLIN
26th, 27th and 28th January 2012 Conference Key Note Speakers • Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice • Minister Ruairí Quinn TD, Minister for Education & Skills • Gerry Murphy – President, IPPN • Sean Cottrell – Director, IPPN Additional speakers will be announced over the coming weeks, please see www.ippn.ie for further details
Your conference Package Includes • • • • • •
2 Days substitute cover for Teaching Principals Access to all Conference Plenary sessions, professional seminars, workshops and information sessions Access to Ireland’s largest education trade Expo Comprehensive conference web pages with online registration and downloadable content Dedicated Conference 2012 App President’s Reception, Gala Dinner, and refreshments
Conference Registration Registration for Conference 2012 is available exclusively online at www.ippn.ie At the time of booking for Conference 2012 you will be asked to register for your choice of seminars, workshops, and information sessions
Continuous Professional Development Workshops and Seminars Including .. Child Protection – Dedicated training for Principals • Boards of Management - Making them work • iPods & the Smart Classroom • Managing SEN Resources • School Self-Evaluation – What you need to know... • Managing your time is half the battle • Managing Challenging Behaviour • Teaching Principals • Literacy & Numeracy • Staff Communications • Pupil Self Assessment • Book Rental Scheme
Self Care sessions for Principals from 10am Thursday Morning Stress Management Somatics | Desk Yoga | Aqua Aerobics…and much more
Get your Conference Passport stamped at the relevant stands to be in with a chance to win one of the following prizes:
• €1,000 in an EBS deposit account • 4 premium seats together in East Stand at the RaboDirect PRO12 fixture in Thomond Park - Munster V Leinster 30/31 March with 2 nights Bed and Breakfast and 1 evening meal in the 5 star Savoy Hotel, Limerick and a €300 book or gift voucher to spend in O'Mahony's Booksellers • 32 GB Apple iPad2 and Panasonic Lumix TZ10 Camera • Luxury Break in Dromoland Castle. Package includes 2 nights B&B with one evening meal for two people with one spa package and a round of golf. • 42" LCD TV and Sony e-Reader • 32" LCD tv, blu-ray player and android tablet And much more…
Expo 2012 Each year the Conference Expo presents the widest range of products and services available to the primary school sector in Ireland at one event. There is no easier way to research the products and services you need for your school and classrooms. Exhibitors are encouraged to offer special discounts for Conference Expo attendees. Plan your visit by visiting the Expo section of the Conference web pages. The 2012 Expo will see more than 130 companies exhibiting over 2 days. Products and services include: Innovative Technology • Online Learning Classroom Resources • Playground Materials Professional Development • School Programmes • Physical Education Equipment Fundraising Programmes • Teacher Resources Safe Schools • Administration Programmes
Are you planning to retire in 2011/2012? If you have made the decision to retire in the coming weeks or months of 2011/2012 we wish you every happiness and fulfilment in the future. IPPN acknowledges the importance of providing every possible support for Newly Appointed Principals and aims to contact them as soon as they are appointed. However, the greatest challenge we face is to find out the names of these Newly Appointed Principals as early as possible.
To assist the work being done in the IPPN Support Office could you please let us know of your impending retirement and also the name of the Newly Appointed Principal as soon as that decision has been made? This would be of enormous help to us and I know would be very much appreciated by the Newly Appointed Principal.
Any information that you can provide can be emailed or mailed to Jackie at the IPPN Support Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Principal in Profile: The Community National Schools – A new model of school governance which seeks to meet the needs of a changing society. By Treasa Lowe, Scoil Choilm Community National School, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 Community National Schools are a new form of school governance which were established in 2008 by the Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin. The remit given to the schools by the Minister was to provide primary school education for pupils, which would include religious education for pupils of all faiths and none during the school day in accordance with the wishes of their parents. Thus, these schools are multi-denominational and welcome pupils from a variety of faith and non-faith backgrounds. At present there are five Community National Schools in existence. These schools are currently in a pilot phase and are subject to on-going review by the Department of Education and Skills. At the moment the Community National Schools are under the temporary patronage of the Minister for Education, while awaiting the necessary legislation to be passed to allow the VEC to become patrons at primary level. The VEC are well established as patrons at second level and as educational providers throughout the country. Traditionally they have been renowned for their inclusive practices and their strong ethical belief that education is for all members of society. Their involvement in primary education is a new departure for them and one which they have embraced in relation to the Community National Schools – providing a host of educational and administrative supports. The Community National Schools have three distinguishing factors: ● They have a strong community focus across parent, pupil and staff levels of education. ● They are multi-denominational in nature – they welcome pupils of all faiths and none and are currently piloting a unique multibelief programme called Goodness me, Goodness you! ● The VEC is the patron in waiting, thus rendering them as State schools. It is the policy of the Community National School model to recognise, celebrate and respect diversity in all areas of human life. Children are encouraged to view diversity as something which reflects the community from which they are drawn. The schools endeavour to encourage the children committed to their care to have a pride in what makes them different and a belief
that difference, when respected and valued, gives strength and vibrancy to the total school community and the wider community in which they live.
It is the policy of the Community National School model to recognise, celebrate and respect diversity in all areas of human life. As a new form of school governance, the Community National Schools were established in order to try to address some of the imbalances in our education system at Primary level. Currently 94% of Primary schools in the republic of Ireland are denominational in nature. 92% of these schools are under the patronage and governance of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, for those of faith/ belief traditions other than Roman Catholic there is very little choice in our education system. The Irish Constitution affords religion a central role in Irish education. As Ireland was traditionally a Catholic country, our largely denominational education system was in keeping with our population. However, in recent times Ireland has seen a growth in immigration and a shift away from Catholicism among a sector of the population. This has led to the need for more diversity in our educational provision. Educate Together schools are established multi-denominational providers at primary level. They have an ethics/religious programme and teach children about different faiths. Faith formation in Educate Together schools takes place after school hours. The Community National Schools differ from this model by nurturing faith/belief formation for all pupils during the school day. The rationale behind this is in keeping with the revised primary school curriculum and the holistic education of pupils. Thus, the Community National Schools seek to nurture all aspects of the child – emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive. Therefore in Community National Schools children are nurtured in prayer and contemplation where this is appropriate. The multi-belief programme which the Community National Schools are following is PAG E 1 7
called Goodness me, Goodness you! This programme is an action research project which is being piloted by County Dublin VEC. The aim of the programme is to nurture children to live their lives to the full in the context of their beliefs and in keeping with the Revised Primary School Curriculum (1999). The programme is developed and based around stories which are relevant to the life experiences and age of the children. For the majority of the programme (80% of the time), the children are taught a core programme, the content of which is common to people of all faiths and belief traditions. For the remainder of the time, the children regroup into their faith/belief groups. During these specific modules the beliefs and practices appropriate to the relevant faiths are nurtured. Parents are encouraged to play an active and supportive role in the Goodness me, Goodness you! programme. The programme explores themes based on the children’s experiences. Parents can develop these themes in accordance with their own faith/belief tradition at home. This places the school in a supportive rather than a leading role in relation to the nurturing of faith. This rehabilitates the role of parents as primary educators and faith nurturers of their children, whilst serving the needs of all faith and nonfaith traditions and allowing full expression of all aspects of the child.
Celebration of all children and their identity is central to the ethos of the Community National Schools. Celebration of all children and their identity is central to the ethos of the Community National Schools. The schools seek to be welcoming places which, in keeping with the philosophy of the VEC, afford equal opportunities to all members of society. The schools aspire to provide a high standard of education where each child and member of the school community is treated with dignity and respect. In a changing society these schools seek to become focal points in the community. In accordance with the VEC, the schools provide centres of learning for all members of the school community in the belief that education is a life-long journey.
Conas do Scoil a Ghaelú sa Ghalltacht Tomás O Slatara, Príomhoide S.N. na Gráinsí, Cluain Meala
Sin é an dúshlán a chuir an t-eagarthóir Damian de Faoite orm a phlé nuair a d’iarr sé orm alt a scríobh i gcóir Leadership+. Tar éis dom labhairt le roinnt príomhoidí agus múinteoirí seo roinnt moltaí, dar liomsa, gur fiú machnamh orthu agus trial a bhaint astu. 1. Ceisteanna le plé i do scoil Tar éis dóibh ocht mbliana a chaitheamh ar scoil: 1. An bhfuil na páistí ag baint taitnimh as a bheith ag foghlaim Gaeilge? 2. An féidir le páistí labhairt ar ábhar i nGaeilge ar feadh nóiméid nó níos mó? 3. An féidir leo comhrá a dhéanamh eatarthu féin agus le múinteoir nó cuairteoir? 4. An bhfuil roinnt amhráin i nGaeilge ar eolas ag na páistí a chanfadh siad ag seisiún? 5. An féidir leo an t-Amhrán Náisiúnta a chanadh ag cluiche GAA, Sacair nó Rugbaí? 6. An féidir le gach páiste ceol gaelach a aithint agus a sheinnt? 7. An féidir le páistí cluichí gaelacha a imirt agus labhairt faoi pheileadóirí agus iománaithe cáiliúla? 8. An féidir le páistí damhsaí gaelacha a dhéanamh ar ócáidí speisialta? 9. An bhfuil meas agus suim acu sa chultúr gaelach? 10. Ceist duit féin: An bhfuil tusa ag baint taitnimh as a bheith ag múineadh Gaeilge? 2. Labhair í agus mairfidh sí Mar phríomhoide caithfidh tú an deá-shampla a thabhairt maidir le labhairt na Gaeilge mar theanga chaidrimh sa scoil. Ná bí ró-bhuartha faoi do chaighdeán Gaeilge féin. Labhair í agus tiocfaidh sí. Tá sé tábhachtach go gcloisfeadh páistí agus múinteoirí tú ag caint agus ag déanamh gnéithe áirithe d’obair na scoile trí Ghaeilge agus Béarla. Diaidh ar ndiaidh tiocfaidh siad isteach air agus tuigfidh siad go bhfuil suim agus meas agat ar an nGaeilge a chur chun cinn mar theanga labhartha sa scoil. . 3. Ceist i nGaeilge / Freagra i nGaeilge Molaim Riail na Gaeilge ‘Ceist I nGaeilge/ Freagra i nGaeilge’ a chleachtadh le páistí, múinteoirí agus SNAs maidir le gnáth chaint na scoile. Tá sé thar a bheith tábhachtach é seo
a, roimh ré, le d’fhoireann scoile agus na ceisteanna agus freagraí a chleachtadh go rialta leis na páistí agus na múinteoirí. Freisin, mholfainn ceisteanna mar seo a leanas a mhúineadh agus a chleachtadh leis na páistí chun cuidiú leo freagra a thabhairt agus comhrá a bhunú. Bain triail as ceisteanna mar seo ● Aon scéal agat? ● Cad a cheap tú faoin gcluiche idir………..? ● Cad í do thuaraim faoi X-Factor srl….. Cé atá chun tosaigh ……? ● Conas a déarfá……………..?
An bhfuil na páistí ag baint taitnimh as a bheith ag foghlaim Gaeilge? Tugann sé deis dóibh labhairt faoi na gnáth rudaí go bhfuil suim acu iontu. 4. Bain trial as ábhar eile a mhúineadh trí Ghaeilge Le blianta anuas tá an cheist curtha sna Stáitsígí Bhliantúla a sheolann gach scoil ar ais chun na Roinne maidir le hoidí scoile ag múineadh ábhair bhreise trí Ghaeilge. Dar liomsa, is fiú go mór é a thriail agus é a phlé mar rogha le do mhúinteoirí. Bain triail as treoracha agus nathanna cainte a shníomh isteach i do ranganna chorpoideachais, ealaíne agus ceardaíochta, cheoil agus ábhair eile. Téann na páistí i dtaithí ar úsáid na Gaeilge diaidh ar ndiaidh. Ná déan dearmad go dtuigeann na páistí i bhfad níos mó ná a labhraíonn siad. 5. Bain trial as an dtum oideachais Tá a lán pléite agus scríofa maidir le buntáistí agus mí-bhuntáistí a bhaineann le tum oideachais (Total Immersion). Dar liomsa, oibríonn sé agus mholfainn é a thriall. B’fhiú é a phlé le múinteoirí agus amanna a roghnú le linn an lae nach bhfuil ach Gaeilge amháin á labhairt ag páistí agus ag múinteoirí sna ranganna nó ar fud na scoile. ‘Sé an tuiscint atá agamsa ar thum oideachais ná go gcaithfidh na páistí bheith ‘beirthe nó caillte’. Níor cailleadh aon pháiste fós!!!
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Tógann sé tamall dul i dtaithí air ach tagann feabhas dochreidte ar chaighdeán Ghaeilge na bpáistí agus san iomlán baineann siad taitneamh agus tairbhe as an dúshlán. 6. Gaeilge Roinnte Cloistear go minic faoi na buntáistí a bhaineann le Léitheoireacht Roinnte (Shared Reading) agus ar an bhfeabhas a thagann ar chaighdeán léitheoireachta na bpáistí le cabhair a dtuismitheoirí nó ó pháistí níos sine sa scoil. Cén fáth nach n-oibreodh sé seo le Gaeilge agus imeachtaí gaelacha freisin. B’fhiú leathuair a chloig in aghaidh na seachtaine ón am atá leagtha amach don Ghaeilge a chur ar fáil chun deis a thabhairt do pháistí níos sine sa scoil Gaeilge Roinnte a dhéanamh le paistí níos óige, mar shampla, rang a sé le rang a dó srl. Is féidir an t-am a chaitheamh ag labhairt, léamh, scríobh, foghlaim seanfhocail, rabhlóga, amhráin, dánta, múnlaí cainte na scoile srl. Níl aon teorainn leis ach samhlaíocht an mhúinteora. 7. Eagraigh ócáidí gaelacha agus comórtais chun ár gcultúr a cheiliúradh Bíonn deiseanna ag gach scoil tallann agus éachtaí na bpáistí a cheiliúradh. Tá sé tábhachtach an deá-obair atá ar siúl sna ranganna ó lá go lá a cheiliúradh. Bain triail as roinnt de na moltaí seo a leanas: ● Lá Ghaeilge gach seachtain nó coicís ● Seachtain na Gaeilge ● Comórtas Chainte ar ábhair dhifriúla ● Comhrá Beirte ● Comórtas Scéalaíochta ● Cluichí Teanga ● Laghdú (idir 10 is 50 cents) do na siopaí áitiúla mar duais le linn SNAG ● Buachaill/Cailín na Seachtaine ● Ceolchoirm Gaelach ● Comórtas X-factor ● Rap trí Ghaeilge ● Amhráin Nua-Aoiseacha trí Ghaeilge … ● (Baineann na páistí an-taitneamh, mar shampla, as ‘Lipstick’ le Jedward agus Cailín na Gaillimhe le Steve Earle agus Sharon Shannon) ● Mana (‘Motto’) nó amhráin na scoile a chumadh
● Tráth na gCeist ● Seó Faisin / Hataí Nua-Aoiseacha le cur i láthair trí Ghaeilge ● Fístéip i nGaeilge ● Raidió na Scoile ar an Intercom ● Céilí na Scoile ● Comórtas Damhsa nó Damhsa na Scuaibe ● Seisiún Cheoil ● Comórtas Tallainne………….. Cuidíonn ócáidí agus comórtais mar seo go mór chun taitnimh a bhaint as úsáid na Gaeilge agus ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar ár gcultúr. Glaoim an ‘Hector Factor’ ar seo…………..fuinneamh, paisean agus craic i nGaeilge. Faigheann na páistí deiseanna a bheith cruthaitheach agus cuidíonn sé go mór atmaisféar gaelach a chothú sa scoil. Bainfidh na páistí taitneamh astu agus smaoineoidh siad ar na h-ócáidí sin nuair atá a lán rudaí eile dearmadta acu. Ná déan dearmad ar chuireadh a thabhairt do thuismitheoirí agus don Bhord Bainistíochta bheith páirteach sna hócáidí seo. Mar a deirtear sa Bhíobla ‘Ná ceilt do sholas faoi thor’!!!!!! 8. Leabhrán Scoile a chur le chéile Tá saibhreas cultúrtha againn gur fiú a mhúineadh do ghach páiste, mar shampla,
● ● ● ● ●
Amhráin Seanfhocail Rabhlóga Dánta Cluichí Tomhais
Bíonn deiseanna ag gach scoil tallann agus éachtaí na bpáistí a cheiliúradh. Mholfainn leabhrán na scoile de na rudaí gur mhaith libh a bheith foghlamtha ag gach páiste a chur le chéile. Mar fhoireann, roghnaigh amhráin, dánta, seanfhocail srl atá feiliúnach agus taitneamhach do na ranganna éagsúla. Bí cinnte go gcuireann tú isteach amhráin agus dánta áitiúla srl. Bí dóchasach go gcanfaidh siad amhrán nó go luafaidh siad seanfhocal ag seisiúin in Éirinn nó thar lear tar éis na scoile a fhágáil dóibh. 9. Aithnigh deiseanna chun Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn ● Fógraí ● Am Sosa / Am Rolla / Am Lóin ● Tionól an Lae nó na Seachtaine ● Nótaí abhaile ● Paidreacha….ag Comaoineach,
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Cóineartú. ● Gnásanna na Scoile (School Routines) 10. Acmhainní eile. ● Curaculam na Bunscoile: Treoirlínte do Mhúinteoirí ● Áiseanna Teagaisc Ghaeilge ó An Chomhairle um Oideachais Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta. Féach www.cogg.ie ● Spreag an Ghaeilge le Spraoi ó COGG ● Foinse san ‘Irish Independent’ Cuirfidh mé na hacmhainní seo a leanas ar fáil ar suíomh IPPN ● ● ● ● ●
Moltaí i gcóir Seachtain na Gaeilge Liosta Seanfhocal Liosta Rabhlóga Leabhrán na nAmhrán i gcóir SNAG Liosta Amhrán le múineadh do gach páiste ● Aistriúcháin ar na hamhráin ‘Lipstick’ agus ‘Galway Girl’ Bainigí taitneamh agus tairbhe as na moltaí agus bígí dóchasach gur féidir tabhairt faoin treabhadh atá le déanamh ó thaobh múineadh na Gaeilge agus ár gcultúr a cheiliúradh sa 21ú haois.
Employment of Primary Teachers – Accountability Gaps By Seán Cottrell The structure used to employ primary teachers in Ireland is unorthodox and serves as an impediment to professional accountability, especially in relation to complaints about a teacher’s competence or conduct. Primary teachers are employed by the Patron of each school - in most cases a Catholic Bishop. The contract of employment is with the Chairperson of the school’s Board of Management, who is a nominee of the Patron. A Board of Management comprises: ● 8 voluntary members: 2 appointed by the Patron, one of which is automatically Chairperson ● 2 members elected by the Parent Body ● 2 members elected by the teachers in the school, one of which is the Principal ● 2 people from the local community coopted by the 6 other Board of Management members. The Board of Management does not pay teachers’ salaries and yet it is the official legal employer, acting in proxy for the Patron. The Department of Education & Skills carries out all the normal functions of an employer, including payment, but is not the legal employer. It is also important to note that many schools in disadvantaged and isolated rural areas, and also many special schools, find it very difficult to attract volunteers onto their Board of Management.
The Board of Management does not pay teachers’ salaries and yet it is the official legal employer, acting in proxy for the Patron. BACKGROUND This triangular relationship has its origins in the Irish Constitution (1937), which states (in Section 42.2) that: The State shall provide for free primary education and shall endeavour to supplement and give reasonable aid to private and corporate educational initiative, and, when the public good requires it, provide other educational facilities or institutions with due regard, however, for the rights of parents, especially in the matter of religious and moral formation.
Central to this article is the key term ‘provide for’. This effectively means that the State recognises that national schools in the main are the property of the various Patrons, which up until recently included agents of the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland primarily. These are private institutions, which, among other activities, are engaged in the delivery of primary education. In order to fulfil this function, the State assists the Patrons by various means, the most significant being the payment of salaries and pensions for teachers and annual operational funding for schools based on the number of pupils enrolled. Ultimately, this means that where underfunding of education occurs, the State does not oblige itself to provide free primary education but instead hides behind the Patron, who is the official provider.
Central to this article is the key term ‘provide for’. This effectively means that the State recognises that national schools in the main are the property of the various Patrons… In general, this arrangement has worked well for both Church and State. The general public, and perhaps even many teachers, are unaware that the teachers are employed by the Board of Management rather than the State. Most people (reasonably) assume they are employed by whoever pays their salary. Considering that primary education is a public service activity, such a perception is understandable. However, when a problem arises, the inadequacies of the arrangement come into focus. This issue entered the public domain when Louise O’Keeffe, a former pupil of Dunderrow National School, near Kinsale in Cork, took a case in the High Court against the then Minister for Education & Science Mary Hanafin TD, for damages in relation to sexual abuse by Leo Hickey, who had been the Principal of the school. Ms O’Keeffe lost her case on the basis that the Minister was not responsible as the Minister was not the legal employer. She was subsequently unsuccessful in her appeal to the Supreme Court, where a majority ruling found in favour of the PAG E 2 0
Minister. This led to the rather shocking statement by Minister Hanafin when she publicly advised Louise O’Keeffe that she should sue the Board of Management, not the Minister. WHO IS THE EMPLOYER? An examination of any employer/employee relationship reveals a number of key features that are common in virtually all workplaces. In the case of primary teachers, the view that the Department of Education and Skills is the de facto employer is supported by the fact that it carries out virtually all of the employer functions. For example, the Department determines the following elements: 1. Legislation which underpins all primary education provision; for example, Education Act (1998), Education & Welfare Act (2000), EPSEN Act etc 2. Compliance with the Rules for National Schools (1965) 3. Compliance with Ministerial Circulars 4. Minimum entry standards for pre-service teacher training 5. Minimum graduation requirements for teachers 6. Probationary period and performance appraisal for graduate teachers 7. Pay scale for teachers and promoted allowances 8. Payment of salaries 9. Validity of teacher appointments 10. Coordination of the redeployment of teachers from schools with falling enrolments 11. Arrangement to deduct PAYE, PRSI and other levies 12. Deduction of pension contributions and the payment of pensions 13. Eligibility for retirement 14. Holiday entitlements 15. Arrangements for leave of absence, jobsharing, career breaks and other such HR terms and conditions 16. Role and responsibilities of the school Principal, Deputy Principal and holders of Posts of Responsibility 17. Curriculum which teachers must deliver 18. Time spent on curriculum areas 19. Class sizes 20. Policy in relation to children’s needs; for example those with learning difficulties, Special Educational Needs, economic disadvantage, immigrants with English language needs etc 21. In-service training
22. Inspection of teachers’ work through incidental visits and planned Whole School Evaluation. Since 2000, the Department has issued 402 ‘circulars’ which instruct Principals, teachers and Boards of Management in detail on a wide range of organisational and education policy matters. This begs the question, how can the Department continue to say it is not the employer when it micro-manages teachers and Principals to this extent? When a serious complaint is made about a teacher or Principal, Section 24 of the Education Act (1998), which was only commenced in 2009, sets out procedures the Board of Management can undertake. Section 24 does not take into account the fact that significant numbers of voluntary Boards of Management are not fit for purpose and are incapable of performing an employer-type function. Evidence to date shows that, even where Boards are fully-functioning, the challenge of disciplining and ultimately dismissing underperforming teachers and Principals proves too great. In other workplaces, including those in the private sector, performance management is regarded as a higher order management skill which is accompanied by labour law expertise and training. None of these are available to Boards of Management. Similarly, the role of the Department Inspectorate is insufficiently prescribed in the Section 24 procedures, as outlined in Circular 60/2009.The Inspectorate role is largely confined to whole-school evaluations and incidental visits.There has been a noticeable change in their role over the last decade whereby they are no longer willing to address or even advise on performance-related issues, stating that it is a matter for the Board of Management. It is broadly accepted that the capacity of a voluntary Board of Management to deal with the growing number of Human Resource and legal issues in schools is inadequate and leaves a serious governance gap.
When a serious complaint is made about a teacher or Principal, Section 24 of the Education Act (1998), which was only commenced in 2009, sets out procedures the Board of Management can undertake. PATRON AS EMPLOYER While the Department acts as the de factor employee of teacher and principals in most areas, there is of course one major exception. The Board of Management has the power to appoint and dismiss teachers and Principals, a
power the Patrons seem quite content to retain. In November 2011, members of the Boards of Management of 3,300 primary schools will be replaced as part of the ongoing 4-yearly process. It is arguable that if the volunteers who sit on these Boards fully understood the concept of vicarious liability that rests with an employer, many would decline to become a member of the Board of their school.There are serious shortcomings relating to the triangular relationship between teacher, Board of Management and Department. Having some direct and indirect experience of the nature and scale of problems arising, I believe that it is at best a weak and ineffective arrangement. At worst, it is a system which is deeply flawed and deliberately designed to enable the Department of Education & Skills to centrally control the operational and staffing costs to the State of primary schools while devolving employer responsibility to each school in isolation. Research shows that between 25 and 33% of the operational costs of schools has to be fundraised from parental after-tax income. Effectively each Board of Management is like a mini HSE, providing a buffer between the State and its school communities. SUSTAINABILITY A number of events currently coincide which collectively may have a serious impact on the sustainability of this current model of teacher employment: 1. The publication of the Murphy, Ryan, Ferns and Cloyne Reports, which outline clerical sexual abuse of children and the failure of Catholic Bishops to follow correct child protection procedures, raises serious questions about the appropriateness of some bishops being the employer of Principals and teachers in schools. 2. The Forum on Patronage and Pluralism established by Minister Ruairi Quinn TD involves, for the first time ever, consultation with all stakeholders to determine a means by which pluralism and diversity can be accommodated in the Irish education system. 3. Until now, the issue of patronage and ownership of schools did not present a major obstacle as various groups seeking inclusion in the education system were accommodated through provision of their own schools e.g. Gaelscoileanna, Educate Together, Islamic Foundation. However, this model of addressing diversity only created choice between schools for parents by failing to tackle the core issue of inclusion within schools. Furthermore, it is no longer economically sustainable to continue to build schools for an ever increasing number of diverse groups. 4. Louise O’Keeffe is currently taking her case to the European Court of Justice. If they find in her favour, the ruling will have radical implications for the employer/employee regime in Irish schools. 5. The Irish Human Rights Commission is raising the stakes in its pursuit of the UN PAG E 2 1
Convention of Children’s Rights, which stipulates the rights of a child to primary education without distinction based on colour, sex, language, religion... More suitable and successful models exist elsewhere. In countries such as New Zealand and Finland, which are frequently acknowledged for their excellence in primary education, the system operates without any form of patronage i.e. the role of the state is to legislate for education, pay teachers’ salaries, provide operational funding and determine national policy and curriculum. Each school has a Board of Management, which is empowered and trained in its various functions. There is no intermediate tier of administration between the school and the state.
The Equal Status Act determines nine grounds under which Irish citizens are protected from discrimination. PATRONAGE AS A BARRIER TO INCLUSION The Equal Status Act determines nine grounds under which Irish citizens are protected from discrimination. However, schools are allowed to discriminate in favour of a particular religion to protect the school’s ethos, when employing teachers and enrolling children. Throughout the last three decades, the State’s policy on inclusion was in fact no more than a continued fragmentation along faith and cultural lines. Regrettably, our approach to diversity up to now is leading to diversity between schools rather than within schools. Given Ireland’s long history of sectarianism and prejudice between religious groups, Ireland must become a beacon of good practice to the rest of the world illustrating the enormous dividend to society in terms of peace and prosperity, when difference is meaningfully embraced. Primary Schools have been exemplary in the manner in which they have included children with physical and intellectual disabilities, children from the Traveller community and children from all corners of the world with extensive language learning needs. In any society wishing to educate its children, it would be reasonable to expect that enrolment would be organised on the basis of what we all have in common rather than what makes us different. Schools are the ideal places that embrace all humanity, majorities and minorities, with equal status and respect. This article was written for and included in the report on child abuse in Irish statefunded institutions and in the community commissioned by Amnesty International Ireland - In Plain Sight - Responding to the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports which is available to read/download from www.amnesty.ie.
www.ippn.ie – Latest resources SUPPORTS & SERVICES DES CIRCULARS ● 0065/2011 - Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools/ Nósanna Imeachta maidir le Caomhnú Leanaí i mBunscoileanna agus i Scoileanna Iarbhunscoile ● 0064/2011 - Election of new Boards of Management of Primary Schools/ Toghadh Bord Bainistíochta Nua ar Bhunscoileanna ● 0062/2011 - Travel Pass Scheme 2012 (Tax Saver Commuter Tickets) ● 0061/2011 - Important Public Health Alert 2011 – Measles/ Fógra Tábhachtach faoi Shláinte an Phobail 2011 - An Bhruitíneach ● 0053/2011 - Limited alleviation of moratorium on filling of Posts of Responsibility for 2011/12 school year/ Maolú teoranta ar an lánchosc ar Phoist Fhreagrachta a líonadh don scoilbhliain 2011/12 ● 0050/2011 - Home Tuition Scheme 2011/2012/ An Scéim Teagasc Baile 2011/2012.
POLICIES & PLANS BOARD OF MANAGEMENT ● BoM 2011 - A Guide to Best Practice. ADMINISTRATION ● Primary Grants Calendar 2011/2012. PARENTS & PUPILS All child protection-related information is now gathered in one place - under Parents & Pupils ● Children First - National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children ● Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools ● Child Protection Guidelines Checklist for School Employees ● Child Protection – presentation by Maria Doyle ● HSE Duty Referral Form ● Reporting Procedures for DLP.
RECRUITMENT TEACHERS ● Interview questions for learning support, resource and language support teaching roles. SNAs ● SNA Appointment Form 2011/2012.
CPD PRINCIPALS’ PROFESSIONAL BRIEFING DAY ● Children First - National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children – Maria Doyle ● Establishing a Board of Management – Brendan McCabe ● NEWB – Clare Ryan ● Managing SEN on fewer resources – Pat Goff ● Wellness Programme for Principals – Mary Johnston,Vhi.
SCHOOL POLICIES ● Credit Card Policy..
On your behalf Since the last issue of Leadership+, IPPN met with the DES, education agencies and other bodies in relation to the following: September: 1. Breda Naughton, DES in relation to submission on patronage and pluralism 2. NCSE Consultative Forum on resource allocation for special educational needs 3. DEIS Advisory Group on the Education Research Centre’s evaluation of the DEIS programme 4. DES – cross-sectoral consultation on Teacher Induction 5. Incredible Years Programme – alternative
behaviour management programme 6. Invited guests – a. Amnesty International Ireland launch of In Plain Sight report on child abuse b. INTO Principals and Deputy Principals Consultative Conference. October: 1. NEWB re. review of reporting dates for absences and categorisation of same 2. The European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) meeting on ‘Leadership and Governance of schools: European approaches’ 3. Invited guests –
a. NABMSE Conference ‘Self Defence for Boards of Management’ b. Gaelscoileanna conference c. NAPD Conference 4. Irish Deaf Society ‘Improving Services for Deaf People’ 5. Public Sector Reform Seminar. IPPN Events 6. Principals’ Professional Briefing Day in Athlone 7. IPPN presentations at Misneach in Ennis, Portlaoise, Monaghan and Kilkenny 8. Pre-retirement seminars 9. County Network Autumn Meetings.
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TextaParent.ie: Now accessible on smart phones We are pleased to announce that you can now send messages from your TextaParent.ie account using your 3G or 4G smart phone, iPad, iPhone or iPod. The development of this service means schools will find it easier than ever to maintain contact with parents, particularly at those times when access to a PC or laptop is not possible. For example, urgent messages can be easily sent during school tours and at times of bad weather when schools are closed. TextaParent.ie is easy to use on smart phones and does not require any subscription or upgrade to your TextaParent.ie account. You will automatically be re-directed to the mobile version of the site when you log on to www.TextaParent.ie from a smart phone. Once you log in to your account, the site will ask you which user you are. From there you will be asked which groups you wish to send your message to - you can choose from your pre-existing groups.
You can then type your message. A summary of the number of characters, number of recipients and number of units required will appear below the message. Then simply press send and your message will be sent as normal.
This service means schools will find it easier than ever to maintain contact with parents, particularly at those times when access to a PC or laptop is not possible such as school tours and at times of bad weather. TextaParent.ie for smart phones was designed to allow the sending of messages at those unexpected
and inconvenient times such as emergency closure and school tour when access to a pc is not possible. It is not possible to do the following on the smart phone version of TextaParent.ie ● ● ● ● ● ●
Creation of a new user Editing of the school profile Creation of a new contact or group Scheduling of messages Purchase of text units online Viewing of Reports (full reports, including messages sent from mobile.TextaParent.ie version, are available on TextaParent.ie).
For a fully detailed user guide go to the resources section of TextaParent.ie. for additional queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org Please note: TextaParent.ie can be used on the following 3G/4G platforms – iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android,Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry.
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Principal Advice Complaints, Conflict and Communication By Angela Lynch, Principal Advice Manager As a principal, you deal with many complaints. Some have the capacity to create conflict. Some develop legs and take on a life of their own. Most drain your energy and take up much time – time which you had hoped to devote to the teaching and learning in the school. Let’s look at complaints in a different light. A complaint presents us with an opportunity. It can be viewed as a gift. Responding well to a complaint creates loyalty on the part of the complainant, if well handled and gives us an opportunity to display the values of the school community. If you had cause for complaint in a restaurant you may decide, rather than addressing it directly, never to go there again. The restaurant has lost a customer, without ever having had the opportunity to deal with your complaint. On the other hand, if your complaint had been well handled, you will be far more likely to visit again and also to tell your friends how well you were treated. The creation of a school climate where complaints are seen to be welcomed and responded to in a positive manner is fundamental to success in this area. Everyone in the school community, Board of Management, staff and parents need to be familiar with and support the Complaints Procedure. (The procedure included with this article was reproduced from the CPSMA Handbook P.318 Appendix 50). All need to clearly understand the procedures and follow them closely. This is not intended to make people feel that they are being pushed through a set of procedures which apply to everyone.Anyone making a complaint really needs to feel that they are being dealt with as an individual. So what do people need when they make a complaint? They need: ● To be listened to ● To be understood ● To have their feelings of hurt, anger or frustration acknowledged ● To have the complaint taken seriously ● To have the complaint dealt with as a matter of urgency (putting it on the long finger tends to escalate the problem) ● Above all else, to be treated with respect. They may also want an apology for perceived hurt, or some other form of satisfaction, but dealing with the complaint properly at the outset will generally influence these expectations of the
outcome, as it will influence the outcome itself. Approaches to dealing with complaints Every person, no matter who they are, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect What does respect mean? It means that the person is accepted for who and what they are, even if we don’t agree with them. We need, as a school community, to examine our interpersonal relationships. How can we create a climate of respect? How does the language we use in our everyday dealings reflect our respect for each other? What practical steps can we take to promote respect? These questions need to be asked at: ● Board of Management meetings ● Staff meetings ● Parents’ Association meetings ● Meetings with the parent body ● School planning meetings ● School assemblies ● Classroom conversations with children. As a school leader, the principal will be the one who initiates these conversations and who will keep the focus on the development of a school climate, where respect for all is the hallmark of the school. In terms of dealing with complaints, the principal has the opportunity to demonstrate the school’s ability to deal effectively with any issue brought by a parent. Consider the following: ● Be calm.When a person remains calm, they are far more likely to take correct and appropriate action. One is unlikely to react with perhaps an inappropriate comment. ● Approach the meeting with the intention of listening to and understanding the concerns of the complainant ● Create a safe atmosphere by paying attention to where the meeting takes place and the seating arrangements. Sitting behind a desk can often be seen as creating distance and also as a possible defensive position. ● Indicate that you may take notes during the meeting if necessary, but keep these to a minimum ● Listen attentively and carefully, often making eye contact with the person ● Ask questions when necessary to clarify any area.This, of course does not mean an inquisition!
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● Remember that while you are actively listening, you ensure that you do not let your thoughts wander or attempt to start working out a solution. Active listening is part of the solution. ● Sum up and reflect the issue to the person. This allows them to see that you understand their concerns and their upset. ● Tell them what you intend to do next.This may mean speaking to a teacher, a child or another parent. ● Assure them of your intention to follow up on the issue and tell them that you will inform them of progress. Put a timescale on this. ● Thank them for their attendance and for bringing this matter to your attention. ● Follow up on the complaint and ensure that the final outcome is clearly understood by all parties. All need to understand that the matter is now finished and will not be revisited on any future occasion. Throughout the whole process, pay attention to the language you use as this has the capacity to influence the thinking and feelings of those with whom you speak. Complaints Procedure Advice 1. The earliest stages of dealing with complaints are the most effective 2. Ensure that all parties understand the procedures and the process 3. Complaints are best resolved at the earliest possible stage of the procedure 4. Escalating complaints too soon tends to push people into more entrenched positions of conflict 5. Arrangements need to be put in place to communicate the Complaints Procedure to: ● Parent Body ● Parents’ Association ● Staff ● Board of Management ● Children. Communication is always easier and more effective before a problem arises. Therefore by highlighting clearly how to make a complaint and how that complaint is handled makes the process more likely to work effectively when the need arises. Good communication is the key. The message we are communicating is that respect, trust and the focus on working together to solve our problems are the positive intent of this school.
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Key Skills for Principals Thinking like a leader Leadership is the ability to inspire people's confidence and support to attain school goals. A leader's job is to capture the cooperation of people who do much of the work in an organisation. Leadership deals with bringing about change and inspiring, motivating and influencing others. Management, by comparison, deals more with keeping work under control and maintaining stability. Effective leaders are good principals, and effective principals are also good leaders. Leadership comes in many styles, depending on personality, background and the school culture. Most successful leaders share certain traits in the way they think, so thinking like a leader is one key to becoming a leader. Here are a few suggestions to help you start: ● Trust your intuition. Effective leaders use hunches and intuition based on experience to weigh options, in addition to analytical and data-driven techniques. ● Look for the big picture. Understanding the broad implications of actions is crucial. ● Think strategically. Leaders consider actions in terms of how they help the school adapt and in terms of long-range implications. ● Be a systems thinker. Systems thinkers try to predict how changing one part of a system (or school) affects other parts of the system, immediately and in the future. ● Be a big thinker. Spend time with people who will help you develop a positive, broad outlook, because they rise above petty problems to look at long-range goals. ● Ask tough questions. Make people stop and think about why they're doing or not doing something. Difficult questions (e.g. 'What's the purpose?' or 'What will the impact be?') compel people to think about the effectiveness of their activities. ● Pay attention to your staffs' emotions, needs and strengths. In The Leadership Advantage, Warren Bennis (founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business), cites Richard Donkin's list of the seven most important leadership qualities as being 1. technical competence – business literacy and knowledge; 2. conceptual skill – abstract and strategic thinking; 3. track record – history of achieving results; 4. people skills – the ability to communicate, motivate and delegate; 5. taste – ability to identify and cultivate talent; 6. judgment – making difficult decisions quickly with imperfect data; and 7. character – qualities that define who we are.
TIPS Key tip 1 A thorough understanding of the teaching profession is a prerequisite for leadership. Immerse yourself in your profession by reading journals and newspapers, or by doing research online. Get plenty of experience in the area. Talk to other principal and listen to their experiences. Key tip 2 Putting aside distracting problems before you enter an important decision-making situation will increase your focus. Fewer distractions mean that you can tap into your intuition, strategic thinking and big thinking more effectively. Key tip 3 Writing a list of consequences will help you develop your systems-thinking skills.Write all the possible implications of a major action you'll take this month. List how the action (such as hiring an outstanding entry-level worker) will affect you, the teaching staff and the entire school. Key tip 4 Self-interested thinking keeps you from being a big thinker.Your value to the school will grow if you start thinking more about its goals and a little less about your own. Key tip 5 Challenging your plan of action will help prepare you to answer tough questions. Ask yourself the following questions: 'What have I missed?' 'What else should I have thought about?' 'What could possibly go wrong with my plan?' BIG THINKING Intuition, big thinking, tough questions and insight are all important leadership traits, and understanding their finer points will help you to develop them.
provocative questions, such as 'What are the assumptions behind this plan?' or 'If we do that, how will we handle any problems that result?' Ask your tough questions after a meeting's warm-up phase is over; people respond better to tough questions after they've begun moving toward serious thinking. You might lose the potential benefit of a tough question if it's asked before people are ready to focus. INSIGHT Developing penetrating thinking requires intense listening and concentration. Search for incongruities and underlying meanings Penetrating insights can enhance your leadership effectiveness in another way: You might discover aspects of yourself that need improvement. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Why should I bother studying leadership? Aren't leaders born, not made? Some people have genetic tendencies that make it easier for them to become leaders. Inheriting good problem-solving ability and high energy make it easier to become a leader. However, to become an effective leader you need to develop those natural tendencies. Also, many things effective leaders do, such as giving feedback and praise, are definitely learnt behaviours. Good leadership skills require considerable study and practice. If intuition's so important for leadership thinking, why bother being well-informed and studying? The more facts and tidbits of information you have, the sharper your intuition is likely to be. Since intuition is the rapid application of past experience and knowledge, it makes sense to experience and learn all you can. That's why managers from all over the world spend big money studying failed products. They're building their store of knowledge. On the playing field, great athletes are said to have great instincts, but more likely, they've made themselves students of the game.
Organise staff meetings regularly. Discussing current issues with all the staff will help you appreciate how your work affects them. Imagine yourself wearing different teaching hats. If you're concerned about the quality of the school’s teaching and educational provision, imagine yourself wearing a parenting hat. Tomorrow you may notice that your school’s budget needs revising, so don your finance hat. Next Monday, you might notice several teachers are struggling to balance family and work demands.
Where do I find the time to think big when I spend 85 per cent of my day in the classroom, teaching my pupils, correcting homework and supervising lunchtimes? Remember, it's the big thinkers who get the big positions and a lot of responsibility. Find five minutes a day to think big, even if it means waiting by the school gate just before entering the school. One or two big thoughts a year will help you become recognised for your strategic thinking.
TOUGH QUESTIONS Asking tough questions adds to your stature as a leader, because many people expect a leader to ask
Reference Bennis, W. (1999). The leadership advantage. Leader to Leader,12(Spring 1999 edn). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
And Finally… PARAPROSDOKIAN A figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. The following are some good examples:
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Whe no on blame as it was With no one to quite a mix e m sters beca po ed of es liv The ping tics. time and develo e th ng ssi pa f O itching galore bitching and tw d an ng hi itc as ng once more There w king and checki ec ch re ng ki ec ashing of teeth And ch ir pulling and gn ha g, lin ai red relief. w as There w d there in stark ne ai m re ' ST ON'T PO But 'PLEASE D and again uttered as time m d an ed bl um in vain. They m turned out to be ps m te at in g lo Their addiction e is an edposts rs cu ul df ea dr a What awful fr iction. wn it can cause do ks ea br it n le they love Cos whe lives of the peop e th d an s ct di mes to shove. For the ad ct when push co di ad an 's ct di of DTs Cos an ad rienced a dose pe ex rs ze. ste po y Man e started to snee felt ill and som d an k oo sh an rs a great pl While othe ld turkey'is not Sudden onset 'co an and man om w fect on each ef y ht ig m a s tals in flitters And ha ing, her poor pe m oo bl ed pp e jitters. Arha sto with a case of th t se be as w e Justm
● I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness. ● Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. ● I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car. ● Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. ● The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list. ● Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. ● If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong. ● We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public. ● War does not determine who is right – only who is left. ● Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. ● Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
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