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ISSUE 98 / MAY 2017


Student & Parent Charter



Student & Parent Charter


Principals realised years ago that parents are a powerful asset to their schools. Most schools have cultivated strong home/school relationships and communication procedures.


Looking in the Mirror

Recognising the importance of selfreflection and reflection on practise can help you, as a school leader.



Principal in Profile

John Burns talks about how he and his father devoted 62 years of unbroken service to Principalship in Barefield NS.



CEO Designate

Páiric Clerkin tells us of his pride at being chosen to succeed Seán Cottrell when he retires at the end of August.

Legal Diary


What is a school’s duty of care to its pupils? We are guided by several judicial decisions over many years.

Towards a Better Future





+ Leadership


IPPN and NAPD felt that the time was ripe for a thorough study to be undertaken of the contemporary education system, from pre-school to the end of post-primary school. Irish Primary Principals’ Network, Glounthaune, Co. Cork • 1890 21 22 23 • I I I I I I I

Editor-in-chief: Seán Cottrell Editor: Geraldine D’Arcy Assistant Editor: Maria Doyle Comments to: Advertising: ISSN: 1649-5888 Design: Brosna Press

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

Signposts ISSUE 98 / MAY 2017


LEADERSHIP+ LEADERSHIP+The TheProfessional ProfessionalVoice Voiceof ofPrincipals Principals


PÁIRIC CLERKIN It is a tremendous honour for me to have been chosen to succeed Seán Cottrell when he retires at the end of August. Sean’s leadership of IPPN has been inspirational. It has been my great privilege to work with him and with many of our founding members, past presidents, and the support office staff for the past eight years as a member of the Board of Directors.

Membership of IPPN has always been a source of personal pride to me. We are justifiably proud of our progress as an organisation since IPPN was established in 1999. Membership of IPPN has always been a source of personal pride to me. We are justifiably proud of our progress as an organisation since IPPN was established in 1999. Through networking we have developed a culture of sharing. We see this in action on a daily basis through our online mailing list. We experience it through our local support groups and the county net-work. This culture of sharing facilitates learning, collaboration, communication and support. The pace of change and development is continuing to place school leaders under considerable pressure. IPPN will provide on-going support for the professional needs of school leaders at primary level. I look forward to representing our 6,500 members and sharing your collective knowledge, professional experience, and aspirations with all of the stakeholders in the primary sector.


I was educated in St. Vincent’s CBS Primary and Secondary Schools, Glasnevin, and obtained my teaching degree from St. Patrick’s College. My first teaching post was in St. Francis Xavier SNS, Dublin 15. In 2001, I was appointed as the founding Principal of St. Patrick’s National School, Diswellstown in Dublin 15. I served initially as a teaching principal, and in 2003 became an administrative principal, following rapid expansion of the school. Our school is co-located with Diswellstown Community Centre. This collaboration between Fingal County Council and the DES was the first of its type and has resulted in the provision of enhanced facilities for the school and the centre. My sixteen years of experience as principal, my close collaboration with my principal colleagues in Dublin 15 and my engagement with IPPN have heightened my appreciation and understanding of the complex challenges faced by school leaders in their diverse educational settings. I have been an active member of IPPN Dublin for several years and served as chairperson from 2007 to 2010. In 2009, I was elected to the IPPN Board of Directors, and was appointed Treasurer in 2015. I have presented a number of workshops at IPPN annual conferences and delivered CPD modules at IPPN County Network meetings. I have also represented IPPN on the ‘Education Matters’ editorial team. During my tenure on the Board, I initiated a pilot project to ascertain the feasibility of remote full-time administrative support for a cluster of teaching principals of small schools, and wrote about this in Issue 90 of Leadership+. I also contributed to the IPPN publication ‘Priorities for Principal Teachers’ and the submission

to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection regarding ‘ICT in Primary Schools.’ With your help we have outlined our vision and action plan for the next four years in our strategic plan ‘IPPN 2020’. I look forward to engaging personally with school leaders nationally over the next four years as we strive to implement the plan. I look forward to promoting and developing the supports and services for principals and deputy principals, and to listening carefully to the views of our membership in relation to how best we can represent and support them.

With your help we have outlined our vision and action plan for the next four years in our strategic plan ‘IPPN 2020’. I look forward to engaging personally with school leaders nationally over the next four years as we strive to implement the plan. I want to assure you of my commitment, enthusiasm and dedication to IPPN. Together we will build on the solid foundations laid down by Seán and ensure that IPPN continues to be an inspirational organisation committed to the highest standards of peer support, professional development and representation for school leadership into the future.

May 2017


RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES No system of education is without its shortcomings. In an ideal world, schools would have fail-safe procedures and resources to deal with the undesired and the unintended. The challenge is to ensure that there are sufficient checks and balances in place to protect the rights of the ‘consumer’ (the child) but not so many that they sap the energy of the teachers and principals of the school. The recent bill put before the Joint Oireachtas Committee (JOC) for Education & Skills in relation to the proposed Parent & Student Charter has the potential to clarify good practice in relation to parent/school communication. We welcome the focus on prevention of issues and grievances. Schools currently work collaboratively with parents and pupils to promote the welfare and rights of children, and we believe many will welcome the setting out in law of Principles of Engagement with students and parents. Current procedures used to address parental complaints in schools have been agreed by management bodies and unions. However, these procedures are not underpinned by legislation and have in the past been widely interpreted, often giving rise to confusion and conflict – as witnessed by IPPN’s Leadership Support Team who have helped many schools deal with the fall-out in recent years. Principals realised years ago that parents are a powerful asset to their schools. Most schools have cultivated strong home/school relationships and

agree with his request to the DES to rename it as the ‘Student & Parent Charter’, a subtle but important emphasis.


Principals realised years ago that parents are a powerful asset to their schools. Most schools have cultivated strong home/school relationships and communication procedures. communication procedures. Our understanding of the proposed charter is that it will confirm good practice, and encourage it to be strengthened where it is not as strong as it could be, to the benefit of both the school and families. The complimentary role of the Parent & Student Charter with the School Self Evaluation model is also viewed as positive. We are in agreement with the Ombudsman for Children that the emphasis in any such charter should be on pupils and also

IPPN was not invited to participate in the development of the charter until now and are encouraged that the DES has stated at a recent JOC meeting that they will engage with IPPN to ensure that school leaders’ views are understood and taken into account in the next phase of work – in relation to the details of the implementation process. At that JOC meeting, IPPN highlighted that we have a number of concerns in relation to the charter. For example, schools would require significant assistance - training and ongoing support - in drafting individual charter documents, again owing to the potential variety of interpretations in relation to the legislation. Learning from the challenges posed by the existing complaints and grievance procedures is critical to the success of the implementation phase. Schools might welcome the development of a charter if the focus is on balancing the rights and responsibilities of parents, teachers and children alike. Societal change has increased people’s awareness of their rights, which is a good thing. However, there is a fundamental requirement to counter-balance student and parental rights with corresponding responsibilities.

2017/2018 PIMS ORDER !

Order your copy of PIMS. Sections 1–3 will only be printed for those who sucessfully order PIMS online




What is a school’s duty of care to its pupils? We are guided by several judicial decisions over many years. School principals, teachers, and boards of management tend to take this duty of care very seriously. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and no wonder given that we have over 4,000 schools and 930,000 pupils at primary and post-primary levels. Pupils can range from 4 years to 13 and upwards. It is also worth bearing in mind that pupils with varying special educational needs have different intellectual functioning levels and care needs. How should schools discharge the high standard of care that parents and pupils rightly expect?

Duty of care and negligence are corelated and an action for negligence is grounded on a breach of a duty to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances of a specific case.‘


The concept that a teacher is ‘in loco parentis’ and thus plays the role of a parental substitute is summarised aptly in Williams v Eady (1883) that ‘The schoolmaster is bound to take such care of his boys as a careful father would take of his boys.’

Dr Glendenning BL in her book Education and the Law gives an excellent summary of the law relating to the duty of care in schools and states that ‘The injury of a pupil in a school, if it is to be actionable, must comprise of four elements: 1. Duty of care 2. Breach of the duty of care an (act or omission by the teacher) 3. Causation (breach must be cause of injury) 4. Injury to the pupil.


‘Teachers are under a duty of care towards their students while they are on the school premises, whether in the classroom or in the playground during the course of the school day. It has been held, however, that no teacher can be expected to keep a continuous vigilant watch on every pupil every moment of the day unless there is some reason for the teacher to be put on alert or to have his/her suspicion aroused.’

IN FORAN V CAHERLEHEEN NATIONAL SCHOOL, 2004 A pupil claimed that he had been lining up to go back into the school building after a break when one of two boys who were fighting hit him in the face with his elbow. Judge O’Hagan


dismissed the claim, asking ‘What can a teacher do to stop that?’

IN MAHER V BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF PRESENTATION JUNIOR SCHOOL, 2004 The plaintiff, a six year-old boy received an injury to his eye in the classroom when one of his fellow classmates used a rubber band as a catapult to propel his pencil towards his face. The incident occurred in the presence of the class teacher and during a visit by another teacher to the class. Conclusions on the issue of liability (Peart J): ‘It has been said that the standard of care required in school is that of a prudent parent. The school is said to be ‘in loco parentis’. In other words, the school is expected to be no more and no less vigilant of those in its care than a prudent parent would be in his or her own home. In any normal child, if there be such a creature, there is always a certain propensity for horseplay and high spirits. Indeed, if it were not so, there might be some cause for concern. It is inevitable that in the ordinary rough and tumble that is part and parcel of the daily life of a six year-old child,

cuts and bruises will occur. I am not equating what happened to Wayne as coming within the category of unblameworthy conduct on the part of his assailant. But I am asking, albeit rhetorically, if it can be reasonably said that if a group of children are playing at home in the garden and a neighbour’s child falls while being chased by the others in a game of ‘tig‘ while the supervising parent is in the kitchen boiling a kettle, that parent has been negligent in a way that renders him/her liable in damages for the injury? I do not think such a situation can amount to negligence. Again, I ask rhetorically, is there any reason why, if the same situation occurred in school as opposed to at home, the school should be any more liable if there is supervision provided which reasonably meets the needs of the particular situation? I think not. It is perfectly understandable that a parent of an injured child should wish to seek redress for the injury on his behalf. But it must be remembered that simply because an injury takes place in a school does not mean

that the school management or any individual teacher has been negligent. Negligence must be established, and in this case I find no such evidence.’

IN MURPHY V CO WELFORD VEC, 2004 A school was found negligent in not having a teacher on yard duty when they were rostered to do so.

IN RYAN COLLINS V ABBEY CHRISTIAN BROTHERS SCHOOL, 2014 A school was found negligent in not utilising their code of behaviour sufficiently to protect the health and safety of a pupil being bullied.

CONCLUSION The duty of care owed to pupils by teachers during school time is openended and to an extent is never closed. The courts have empathised that pupils need to be protected from avoidable dangers. Equally the courts are of the view that schools are not insurers of pupils and that an unforeseeable injury cannot constitute negligence. Robust supervision rosters and a good health and safety statement are essential to ensure that schools do not leave themselves open to negligence actions.


REFLECTIONS LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals


John B Keane once told RTÉ that Foran’s dog was better at forecasting the weather correctly than Met Éireann. Walking down the street, he would anticipate rain and for no apparent reason would cross to the other side. He went as far as alleging that RTÉ had tried to kidnap the perceptive hound. The fact he was speaking on Hall’s Pictorial Weekly might suggest a tongue-in-cheek element to the story. My father would find himself at odds with those doubters of the intrinsic weather-monitoring capacity of animals. He would know what the day promised by glancing out the top window at how the cattle were positioned in relation to the hedge on the near hill. What the crows were presently doing, the leaves on the trees and the behaviour of the dog all help to complete his usually accurate analysis. By his own behaviour on Sunday mornings, along with that of his farming neighbours, he unwittingly provides his own weather gauge. Summer sun will see them chatting in a loose huddle by a low wall each Sunday. Wind, rain and the direction of each will not prevent the agricultural support group from their weekly meeting but where they stand will be a clear indicator of the direction and ferocity of the elements. The same people don’t always turn up, though there are a few omnipresent individuals. The conversation will always include farming topics, machinery, stock prices and crop progress. Other topics will usually include GAA, horses, the rugby on TV, the Eurovision Song Contest, Dancing with the Stars and Brexit. The ritual is a cameo of the scene across the country where farmers support each other each Sunday morning for a few vital minutes. These short, pleasant and often witty chats are vital in a farmer’s week. For many, the job is a solitary one, with most of the duties carried out with only the animals and the tractor radio for company. Along with Seán Cottrell, I had the extreme good fortune to visit the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association (MESPA) conference recently. We got to address the delegates on the workings of IPPN and the supports offered to principals. The element of our work which drew the most attention was the local support group network which we have established throughout the country. It is their intention to follow the same path, as the issues faced by principals are without borders. Principals’ wellbeing is high on their agenda and the results of our longitudinal study through Dr. Philip Riley of Monash University in Melbourne in 2014 bear out the difficulties faced by their principals also. When addressing the area of local support groups, I used the phrases ‘the agenda for the meeting is that there isn’t one’ and ‘ you may arrive with a problem but you can leave with a solution’. These are the cornerstones of the local


support group. Of all the meetings I attend every month, the Mid-Offaly Principals’ Support Group is the one I most look forward to. If you’re looking us up, we don’t have a website. We don’t book a room or interactive equipment. At 4pm on each second Tuesday, the lunch menu is the only paper on view. Depending on the weather we may sit outside or by one of the many big glass windows of the Tullamore Court. Some of the faces change from month to month but a few consistently turn up. We differ from the farmers in that we are consistently surrounded by people every day. Yet the job can be a lonely one. From a pointy hill, the view may be spectacular but standing at the top can be a solitary experience. Getting together with local colleagues to discuss the affairs of school and other unrelated topics can lift the burden, and the spirits of all involved. And as for the weather, Foran’s dog and his walking patterns won’t dampen the feeling of collegiality and support. The sun might even break through the clouds.

May 2017

Teaching Council

Droichead policy update TOMÁS Ó RUAIRC


About Droichead Droichead, the professional induction model for newly-qualified teachers (NQTs), is a formal welcome for NQTs into one of the most important professions in society by their experienced colleagues. Research commissioned by the Council through the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that this process can both enhance the quality of teaching and learning in schools, and support enhanced wellbeing for our new teachers.

Four days’ release time with full substitute cover is available for all PSTs wishing to engage in Droichead professional development. This is also available as a summer course for those who prefer that option Supports for Droichead The Droichead process is supported by the Department of Education and Skills (DES), through the National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT). The NIPT facilitates a programme of mentor professional development for Professional Support Team (PST) members, and supports it at school level through a national network of seconded teachers. Four days’ release time with full substitute cover is available for all PSTs wishing to engage in Droichead professional development. This is also available as a summer course for those who prefer that option. In addition, a minimum of four days’ release time is available for PSTs facilitating the Droichead process in their schools. The amount of release time can increase depending on the number of NQTs in the school. Changes The Teaching Council recently made a number of significant changes to Droichead, following its review of Droichead, in response to feedback

from stakeholders and in line with the Council’s ongoing commitment to periodic policy review. The key changes include the following:

profession generally to engage with the Council and the NIPT in order to clarify all aspects of the enhanced policy.

1. The revised policy makes explicit the nature of Droichead as a nonevaluative professional induction process. This means that neither principals, school colleagues nor external school colleagues will be engaged in the evaluation of NQTs for registration purposes. At the conclusion of the process, a joint declaration will be made by both the newly-qualified teacher and their professional support team.

The new policy will continue to provide for a shared learning bursary for schools that wish to come together as Droichead shared learning networks. Droichead networks may vary in size from two schools to networks of four or more. Each network must include at least one school that has engaged in the Droichead process and there is a maximum of €2,000 per network.

2. There is considerable flexibility in the revised policy vis-à-vis the role of principals, the way in which the model can operate in different schools, the size of the PST, and the use of an external PST member to act as a mentor where necessary.

Relevant application forms and further information about Droichead can be found in the Teacher Education section of the Teaching Council website.

Offering a Training Course in

3. It acknowledges the extended programmes of Initial Teacher Education 4. A revised and strengthened quality assurance process

‘MANAGING AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS’ Unsure of the Law? Worried about complaints and allegations?

5. It provides that JobBridge or any other similar schemes cannot be used to access the Droichead programme

Are you reporting and recording incidents correctly?

6. An extended growth phase whereby Droichead will be the route of induction for all NQTs by the 2020/2021 school year.

Then please contact us for a brochure

Next steps The revised policy is available on the Teaching Council website. The Council continues to work with the DES and other stakeholders with a view to ensuring that the necessary resources are available for the roll-out of this policy. In this light, Council will confirm the implementation date for this revised policy as soon as possible. Once the date is confirmed, key stakeholders such as IPPN will be updated, and there will be opportunities for schools and the

Dealing with challenging or aggressive parents?

Course as currently presented in various Education Centres Irish Based 4 Hours Duration in your school Caters for up to 30 staff Suitable for Teachers and SNA’s Training Manuals provided Price: €950 + Travel Expenses T: (087)3526168 W:


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals


SCHOOLS PROJECT TOMÁS Ó SLATARA IPPN PAST PRESIDENT IPPN, as stated by our president Maria Doyle in a previous article in Leadership+, recognises that ‘while one-teacher schools continue to exist, the principals must be supported, both professionally and personally’. To establish the particular professional and personal circumstances and needs of principals in one-teacher schools, a seminar was organised by IPPN in Ballinasloe on October 6th 2016 and a further meeting took place at IPPN Conference in January 2017. The priority need identified was to have a second adult present and available at all times and we welcome the staff alleviation measure for a number of one-teacher schools announced in the budget. It was clear from discussions at those meetings that there was also a significant need for collated evidence of the particular Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) issues that are associated with oneteacher schools and the on-going difficulties for principal teachers and

their Boards in complying satisfactorily with current legislative requirements. As a result of this consultation, the Board of Directors of IPPN has now contracted Shay Bannon (Shaka Educational Consultancy) to: 1. design and collate the feedback from a HSW questionnaire/survey of one-teacher schools 2. facilitate a focus group meeting of one-teacher school principals on HSW issues and concerns 3. visit a small number (2-3) of selected schools for a risk assessment and discussion on HSW matters 4. compile a report and recommendations for IPPN on the HSW issues and concerns that have been identified from the process. The proposed outcome of the process is to have a comprehensive independent HSW report with relevant

HSW data as a reference document. This report will be used as a basis for I principals and their Boards to review/update their health, safety and welfare policies and procedures I IPPN to help schools develop and share relevant HSW protocols and policies I use by IPPN at meetings with the education partners I discussion with other relevant agencies such as the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) + I Leadership articles I a workshop for smaller schools at IPPN Conference as the report and data gathered will have a value beyond just one-teacher schools. The survey element of the project is being co-ordinated by past president, Tomás Ó Slatara, with support from current president Maria Doyle and past presidents, Virginia O’Mahony and Brendan McCabe.

Aiseanna teagaisc do mhuineadh na Gaeilge MÁIRE NIC AN RÍ OIFIGEACH OIDEACHAIS Bunaíodh an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) in 2002 le tacaíocht a chur ar fáil do scoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge agus do theagasc na Gaeilge i scoileanna uile na tíre. Baineann ról na Comhairle leis an mbunoideachas agus leis an iarbhunoideachas. Tá ceithre mhórréimse oibre ann: I Comhairle a chur ar fáil don Aire Oideachais agus Scileannna agus don CNCM I Soláthar acmhainní teagaisc I Seirbhísí taca I Taighde. 8


Díreofar san alt seo ar sholáthar acmhainní teagaisc. Ceathrar atá ag obair ar fhoireann COGG. De bharr líon beag na foirne, is ar bhonn conartha a dhéanann COGG mórchuid den obair. Déantar riachtanais an chórais ó thaobh áiseanna foghlama agus teagaisc a mheas agus comhoibríonn an eagraíocht le foilsitheoirí oideachasúla le leaganacha Gaeilge de théacsleabhair agus d’áiseanna eile a chur ar fáil agus cuirtear maoiniú ar fáil dóibh. Bíonn comhthionscadail idir lámha go leanúnach le CCEA agus leis an Áisaonad i dTuaisceart Éireann, chomh maith leis an nGúm.

Ar an mBunachar Sonraí atá ar an suíomh idirlín tá cur síos ar níos mó ná 4,000 d’áiseanna teagaisc atá ar fáil do theagasc trí Ghaeilge agus do theagasc na Gaeilge. Tá cur síos ar na háiseanna sa Leabhrán Áiseanna – Oscail agus Léigh a dhéantar a uasdátú agus a sheoladh chuig gach bunscoil gach bliain. Tá Taispeántas Taistil i veain maoinithe ag COGG a thugann cuairt ar scoileanna ar fud na tíre ina bhfuil sampla d’fhormhór na n-aiseanna teagaisc. Is liosta le háireamh iad na háiseanna atá ar fáil saor in aisce ar shuíomh COGG

May 2017

SEN Resource Bundle PAT GOFF The new resource allocation model is here whether we like it or not. Appeals will be ongoing. Reviews, whatever these are, are also promised. Issues like the definition of ‘Complex Needs’ will also need further debate and clarification. We won’t be labelling pupils any more to access extra teaching resources, unless of course they require access to an SNA. However, the bottom line is that, irrespective of how the children are now classified, they will still be the ‘same children’ with the ‘same SEN needs’. The new Guidelines for Schools’ state that we should 1. Identify the needs 2. Meet the needs and 3. Monitor Progress. We should identify the needs through: Observation and assessment, Collaboration in assembling evidence and Using the Continuum of Support. (All, Some, Few). We should meet the needs through: Effective teaching and learning, Co-

Molann Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile go ndéanfaí an Ghaeilge a theagasc tríd an gCur Chuige Cumarsáideach. Tá béim ar leith ar ionchur, ar chleachtadh agus ar dhaingniú teanga sna tréimhsí ceachta ar leith.Tá sraith iontach de 50 póstaeir ildaite, tarraingteach ar rogha leathan téamaí a dearadh i gcomhar le Foinse ar fáil saor in aisce ar Chomh maith le heiseamláirí teanga agus foclóir, tá seanfhocal léirithe ar gach póstaer. Níl dabht ar bith ann ach go dtacóidh na póstaeir go mór le múineadh, cleachtadh agus forbairt na Gaeilge. Tá sraith eile póstaer dírithe ar chruinneas Gaeilge, bunaithe ar na botúin is coitianta a dhéanann daltaí, le híoslódáil ón suíomh Treoir nua maidir le múineadh na Gramadaí atá san áis Bain Súp As. Tá moltaí don mhúinteoir, sraith


operative teaching and learning within mainstream classrooms, and Differentiation within mainstream classrooms. Teaching approaches will include a combination of team-teaching initiatives, co-operative teaching, early interventions and small group or individual withdrawal. We should also target the promotion of language, literacy and numeracy skills in junior classes. We should monitor progress using the Student Support File, Support Review Record, checklists, teacher measures, observations, standardised tests, screening tests, rating scales and so on.

developing a new policy if you don’t already have one. It is intended to be a ‘live’ bundle and we would very much appreciate if you could send on to IPPN any good policy that you have on SEN so it can be shared with your fellow school leaders. In particular, schools will be updating their policy on how they allocate resources. This particular policy will be important where parents appeal to the principal on behalf of their child for extra resources. The SEN Resource Bundle can be accessed on in the Resources/Resource Bundles menu.

The ‘New Guidelines’ reinforce many of the good practices that you are already doing. Indeed, many of you have submitted policies regarding these good practices. IPPN has now assembled these policies into a new SEN Resource Bundle which you will find useful. This bundle will allow you to reflect on your existing policies and perhaps compare and contrast. It might well be a starting point for you in

ceachtanna, gníomhaíochtaí agus cluichí a fhorbróidh feasacht na bpaistí ar fhoirm na teanga le cruinneas teanga a shealbhú. Tá an-tóir ar Spreag an Ghaeilge le Spraoi, pacáiste teagaisc a chuir an PPDS le chéile i gcomhphairt le COGG in 2010 chun an Ghaeilge a fhorbairt, a spreagadh agus a shaibhriú. Tá teanga ar leith a bhaineann le cumarsáid i dtimpeallacht na scoile leagtha amach sa chomhad atá le híoslódáil, chomh maith le ceachtanna chun an teanga sin a mhúineadh. Tá nasc chuig gearrthóga físe na gCluichí Clóis a bhaineann leis an bpacáiste ann freisin. YouTube - Spreag an Ghaeilge le Spraoi - Cluichí Clóis. Tá raon gníomhaíochtaí taitneamhacha agus cluichí idirghníomhacha do bhunranganna ar Is do scoileanna Gaeltachta agus do Ghaelscoileanna a ceapadh Séideán Sí an chéad lá, ach tá mórán áiseanna ann

a shásóidh riachtanais múinteoirí i ngach scoil agus iad i mbun an Ghaeilge a theagasc. Is fiú chomh maith cuairt a thabhairt ar, agus chas le raon leathan áiseanna tacaíochta don Ghaeilge a fháil saor in aisce. Bíonn alt ag COGG gach mí san iris In Touch ag cur síos ar úsáid áiseanna teagaisc na Gaeilge. Is féidir tarraingt ar iar-chóipeanna den iris le moltaí a fháil maidir le conas na háiseanna ar leith a úsáid go héifeachtach sa rang Níl san alt seo ach blaiseadh den raon leathan áiseanna atá maoinithe ag COGG. Déan teagmhail le le breis eolais nó comhairle maidir le háiseanna ar bith a fháil. Lean COGG ar Twitter @CoggOid


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

The CSL Coaching Service ANNA MAI ROONEY DEPUTY DIRECTOR PRIMARY, CENTRE FOR SCHOOL LEADERSHIP On February 1st 2017, the Centre for School Leadership (CSL) launched a coaching service for principals. Over 200 principals have already engaged with six coaching companies nationwide. Chemistry checks have taken place to ascertain whether or not people have connected with their chosen coach. The majority of the 200 principals have passed this stage and have now started on their six sessions with professional executive coaches. These sessions are free of charge to principals and their schools, and are completely confidential. In the research, coaching is seen as the optimum tool to assist principals to face challenge, improve their practice or navigate a transition in their career. The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as ‘partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential….’ The Federation defines the coach’s role as ‘discovering, clarifying and aligning with what the client wants to achieve, encouraging the client’s self-discovery, eliciting client-generated solutions and strategies, and holding the client responsible and accountable.’ (Sharpe and Nishimura 2017) The DES has invested significantly to provide the CSL coaching service for Irish principals at both primary and post-primary level. The benefits for the Irish education system are far-reaching. In his book, ‘Coaching for Performance’ 2009, John Whitmore includes the following in his list of benefits:


Improved performance and accountability Staff development Improved learning Improved relationships Improved quality of life for the individual Better use of people, skills and resources Greater flexibility and adaptability to change More motivated staff Cultural transformation.

Principals who are currently involved in the service have spoken about ‘the power of time out just for me in my busy schedule’ Principals who are currently involved in the service have spoken about ‘the power of time out just for me in my busy schedule’, ‘the manner in which my own strengths and vision are channelled into goal setting’, ‘the opportunity to look at my school from a safe space with professional guidance’, ‘being facilitated to look at issues and challenges in a new light’ and ‘the professional approach of the coaches with their wide-ranging expertise and experience’. When you access the service, you can expect that the coaches will initially work on building a rapport with you. An atmosphere of trust is essential. Coaches will challenge your assumptions and biases and help you to

The CSL Post Graduate Diploma in School Leadership is beginning in September and is presently open for applications. Closing date is 26th May. For more information visit the CSL website and the IPPN home page 10

expand your perspective. They will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and help you to identify new behaviours which will aid you in achieving your goals. They will challenge you and hold you accountable for the execution of your actions. They also have a supportive role in helping you to maintain motivation and encouraging you to seek feedback about your behaviour and its impact. If you have not yet manged to engage with the service, go to and browse the biographies of the coaches in your region of the country. Once you choose a coach, you can then phone the coaching company listed on the website and request a ‘chemistry check’ meeting with that particular coach. Your first of six sessions will be organised by the company for you. These sessions will normally take place over the course of a year and a final meeting with the coach is organised six months after your sessions have finished. In times of limited finances and hectic schedules, opportunities like these are rare. Ná lochtaigh an rud a gheobhas tú in aisce. Make sure you access the service to reap the many benefits! References Sharpe, K. and Nishimura, J. (2017) When Mentoring Meets Coaching, Shifting the Stance in Education, Pearson Canada Inc. Toronto I Whitmore, J. (2009) Coaching for Performance, Growing Human Potential and Purpose, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London I



In the course of my work on emotional wellbeing in schools, I have read many valuable pieces of writing on the topic. Recently, a book entitled Positive Behaviours, Relationships and Emotions – the Heart of Leadership in a School by Jacinta Kitt has provided me with thoughts for consideration, one of which is the subject of this column. ‘Many people sail through life without ever questioning the way that they do things, or how what they say and do impacts on others. Consequently, they remain ignorant of the flaws and failings in how they relate to others and of the possibilities that there could be a better way to behave in relationships.’ Jacinta Kitt All of the literature on leadership speaks of the ‘Reflective Practitioner’. In the cut and thrust of daily school life, it could be maintained that there is no time to reflect or think. There seems to be always too much to do. At times of frenzied activity in my personal as well as my professional life, I constantly ask myself ‘Am I a human being or a human doing?’ It is my trigger to say ‘Stop. Breathe. Be.’ Those few minutes, rather than throwing my schedule out of sync, have the effect of focusing my mind on the now and on the next step. It provides me with the necessary clarity and focus I need to make productive progress.

may better be managed, these conflicts can be de-escalated before becoming serious. I describe this process as looking at the ‘what if’ scenarios. What if a parent comes to me as a teacher / school leader to raise concerns involving their child? What do I do? What do I say? How do I manage it? Are there any procedures about which I should be aware? What if a disagreement/conflict arises between staff members? How will I respond? What do I need to do? What preparations do I need to make? What if a child comes to me with a disclosure around child protection? What is the correct procedure? How do I speak to the child? These are some of the vital discussions to have with staff. If we don’t, it is likely that we will continue to get things wrong, miss the opportunity to develop and enhance the relationships within the school community and engage

proactively in problem-solving. Additionally, it is helpful to the process of reflection to evaluate a situation after it has happened: I I I I

What went well? What did not go well? What actions would we repeat? What actions would need to be changed or avoided?

One of the themes running through Jacinta’s book is that ‘One must never wait for things to be broken to begin the process of fixing them.’ We need more professional conversations about how we do things and how we relate to people and it is important to schedule time on a regular basis for the process to be effective.

Recognising the importance of selfreflection and reflection on practise can help you, as a school leader, to influence the culture within the school to establish reflection on practise as the norm. This may be easy to say, but how do you start a process like this? Often situations escalate to the point where resolution is difficult or even impossible. It normally centres around interpersonal conflict. These conflicts are part and parcel of everyday life, but by putting aside time to reflect on these scenarios and developing a sense of how they 11

LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Towards a Better Future A REVIEW OF THE IRISH SCHOOL SYSTEM Towards a Better Future was inspired by a review of the Finnish education system by Professor Pasi Sahlberg at a school leaders’ conference. To our knowledge, there was no publication providing a comprehensive overview and analysis covering contemporary early childhood, primary and second-level education in Ireland. In recent years, a significant range of reforms within the school system has been initiated. This has coincided with a period of economic recession, which has seriously impeded the successful implementation of the reform programme. IPPN and NAPD are well aware of the difficulties faced by school leaders, particularly in seeking to address the many demands made on them to promote desired reforms in unfavourable circumstances. In this context, IPPN and NAPD felt that the time was ripe for a thorough study to be undertaken of the contemporary education system, from pre-school to the end of post-primary school. The following terms of reference were agreed for the study: I to undertake a research-informed analysis of the Irish education system to identify the main strengths, shortcomings and opportunities for development I to focus on the analysis of early childhood, primary and postprimary education




to highlight aspects of Irish education that compare well internationally to illuminate the factors that give rise to shortcomings, again referring as appropriate to relevant research to identify what factors impede opportunities for development and to comment on approaches that might prove promising in tackling impediments.

IPPN and NAPD invited five distinguished educationalists to undertake this work - Professor John Coolahan, Professor Sheelagh Drudy, Dr. Pádraig Hogan, Professor Áine Hyland, and Dr. Séamus McGuinness. It is a true reflection of their profound commitment to education, and of their generosity of spirit, that they have conducted this considerable body of work entirely voluntarily. We are both humbled by and deeply grateful for this and thank each of them for their work and for their service to education. The authors conducted their work independently of IPPN and NAPD. The review provides a conspectus for policymakers, practitioners and participants of the comprehensive range of issues and concerns relevant to the achievement of the reform programme. We see the publication as a contribution, in line with our tradition, of cultivating enlightened awareness of educational issues, with a view towards a better future.

SYMPOSIUM AND BOOK LAUNCH, CONRAD HOTEL, 7TH MARCH 2017 Dr. John Coolahan, Emeritus Professor of Education at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, opened the symposium with the following words: I had the privilege of being present at the establishment of IPPN and NAPD and greatly admire the way they have evolved and contributed to contemporary Irish education. One thing which we all share in common here today is a pride in our educational traditions and achievements, and a commitment to its future betterment and continuous reform. This publication was an initiative of Seán Cottrell and Clive Byrne – they were looking for an independent review of the school system, where it was at and where it was going. The review would identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and it would be a research-based study bearing in mind comparative perspectives. The authors agreed with Seán and Clive the themes for consideration in early spring of last year. While individuals brought specialist interest to bear, it was very much a team effort. The authors aimed to be concise while the content of some

The Authors of the Review: Dr. John Coolahan, Dr. Sheelagh Drudy, Dr. Séamus McGuinness, Dr Áine Hyland & Dr. Pádraig Hogan, 12

May 2017

NAPD President Cathnia Ó Muircheartaigh and DES Secretary General Seán Ó Foghlú

Teresa O’Doherty, Dr. Séamus McGuinness & Dr. John Coolahan at the book launch

(L-R): Cecelia Munro and Derek West, NAPD; Alan Wall and Harold Hislop, DES and Breda Dolan, IPPN.

sections required treatment.


extended I

NATURE OF THE STUDY The study was not intended as an advocacy or sectoral approach, although it was recognised that its content might be useful to education partners in their deliberations and negotiations. One of the distinguishing features of Irish education since the early 90s has been its consultative character – transparency and dialogue. The review is in that tradition.



Irish education has been experiencing an era of great educational change. It is almost 20 years since our first comprehensive Education Act in 1998. At that time, and in succeeding years, a large range of reforms has been introduced, including: I ECCE is being mainstreamed and is undergoing major development I Since 1999, the primary school curriculum has been undergoing continual reform and adaptation in the light of experience I Junior cycle at post-primary is in the process of significant change I Both national and international forms of assessment are integrated with primary and junior cycle I The transition from post-primary school to higher education is under constant review I The way of life in schools is changing with school development planning, school self-evaluation,

collaboration and teamwork of staffs etc. IPPN and NAPD came into formal operation at the opening of the century and continue to promote and highlight school leadership issues, including the establishment of the Centre for School Leadership (CSL) The Teaching Council has come into being and the greatest reforms ever in teacher education are underway, within a lifelong learning paradigm Educational equality issues are very much to the fore from a range of perspectives, with a view to achieving greater reform, and more social justice.

This agenda for educational change was launched at the era when Ireland was called the ‘Celtic Tiger’ – economic growth rates were stunning, the population was rising and enriched by migration, and there was full employment. Then in 2008, the Irish and international economic crash hit home with devastating financial, social and employment consequences. Ireland faced bankruptcy and an era of austerity ensued. There were huge cutbacks in all areas, including a range of cutbacks in educational services. These had a direct and an indirect effect and caused great stresses and pressures, including on staff morale etc. The key challenge was whether the key aspects of the reform

movement would be kept alive. In so far as it has been, it is a great tribute to the education partners and I would here pay particular tribute to school leaders and managements. Thankfully, Ireland is in the process of recovery. The economic growth rate is on the rise, unemployment is well down and consumer morale is up. TIMELINESS This review may be coming at a timely stage, given the 2016 DES Action Plan for Education. It has sought to identify the background forces of the modern reform, to track through the progress made, identify and affirm achievements, highlight weaknesses, contextualise issues, identify trends and make suggestions for improvement, or for availing of new opportunities. It seems to be a good time to stand back and establish perspective. In its treatment, the review seeks to substantiate points made by reference to relevant Irish and international research. The review makes no claims to be exhaustive or definitive. All the authors hope for is that it may help contribute to a greater understanding of where we have come from in educational endeavour, how we are proceeding and how we might shape a better future. We hope that it will be seen as a useful contribution to contemporary educational thinking. To purchase a hard copy of the book, go to 13

LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

Deputy Principals’ Conference 2017 Our largest Deputy Principals conference since 2012 took place on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th March in Citywest Hotel, Saggart, Co. Dublin. There was a great atmosphere and excellent feedback on all aspects of the event. The early involvement of a focus group of deputy principals in designing their event along with Support Office staff is paying dividends. Attendees took advantage of opportunities to network and browse the 37 Expo stands at the largest-yet Expo at the Deputy Principals’ annual event. To start things off, two Special Interest Groups convened early on Thursday afternoon - newly-appointed DPs; and administrative DPs. Four concurrent seminars were held on Thursday afternoon: I Supports available to Deputy Principals - Pat Goff, Angela Lynch, Sarah McNamara





The Power of One : DPMeet2017 hosted by Kathleen Byrne and Ciara Brennan The Principal and Deputy Principal: A partnership in trust - Enda McGorman and Áíne Fitzpatrick Partnership Schools - Anna Mai Rooney.

At the plenary session on Thursday evening, deputy principal Orla Ní Bhriain of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh in Galway welcomed attendees. IPPN Deputy President David Ruddy and keynote speaker Declan Coyle addressed the conference. On Friday morning, two concurrent seminar sessions were held on the following topics: I Our eLearning Plan: a digital strategy for our school - Robbie O’Leary I Child protection and parental complaints - Margaret Gorman




New resource model - allocation of resources and its implementation Pat Goff School Leadership and Looking at Our School 2016 (based on the new Leadership Domains and Standards) - Deirdre Mathews and Brian Mac Giolla Phadraig, DES Inspectorate Managing stress in your role as a deputy school leader - Ann Ryan and Donal Kerins.

IPPN President Maria Doyle facilitated the plenary session on Friday afternoon and introduced keynote speaker Joe O’Connell. Presentation materials that were made available can be accessed on on the CPD & Events menu under Deputy Principals’ Conference Deputy Principals’ Conference 2017.

May 2017



As the new language curriculum rolls out across schools, a number of recent updates and resources are available for schools to explore and feedback on. PLANNING AND THE NEW LANGUAGE CURRICULUM A range of draft planning frameworks are available on These draft frameworks support your school in using their preferred style of planning. For ease of use, the Cuntas Míosúil is incorporated into the shortterm frameworks. The Learning Outcomes describe what children will learn, and the Progression Continua are designed as helpful reference points in planning appropriate language experiences for children and supporting differentiation where necessary. The Progression Steps in the continua don’t add more outcomes, rather, they help in working with the Learning Outcomes and support planning for teaching and learning so that all children can progress. The planning frameworks are presented in draft format to give the opportunity to provide feedback which will inform future planning

developments. A link for feedback is available on THE LANGUAGE CURRICULUM AND CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS The progression continua support differentiation of the learning outcomes for all children. A further breakdown of ‘milestone a’ has been created to support children with more complex needs. This ‘Early a’ milestone can support children with severe and profound needs. Children with moderate difficulties may be found between milestones ‘early a’ to ‘d’. The wide stretch of milestones reflects the wide range of children’s needs at this level. Children may be at higher or lower milestones in relation to different learning outcomes, depending on their strengths and needs. Some children with more complex needs may take considerable time to make progress in one progression milestone and/or in one progression step; this is why the Special Educational Needs ‘Pathways’ support material is provided. The SEN pathways can be used to recognise where children with more complex needs are functioning in relation to selected steps on the progression

continua. Along with the child’s IEP, the SEN pathways and progression continua offer support in planning for and sharing the next steps for children with more complex SEN. Examples of children’s learning and development are attached to the SEN pathways. These examples show how the SEN pathways work with the continua to recognise the learning and development of children with a range of needs. The SEN pathways support material is available alongside ‘Early a’ on A short survey is included to encourage feedback from schools who have explored them. Deirdre Murphy is an education officer for Language and Special Needs with the NCCA. Deirdre created the progression continua for infants to second. Deirdre has worked on the language curriculum and the expectations for learners for both English and Irish for infants to second class. For more information please

15 Latest resources

LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals – Latest resources If your school has a policy or plan that is not available on, or which would supplement available resources, we would appreciate if you would submit it for review by email to The following are the new resources available in the different sections of the website:

RESOURCES CURRICULUM & SCHOOL PLANNING I Incident Report - Minor Incident I Incident Report - Significant Incident I Incident Debriefing for Staff I Behaviour Support Plan I Whole School Geography Plan I Report - A survey of the socioeconomic profile of all primary schools in 2014 in the context of developing a new resource allocation model to support children with special educational needs. DES CIRCULARS 0028/2017 - Revision of Salaries of all staff paid directly by a recognised school or ETB with effect from 1 April 2017 I 0023/2017 - Revision of Salaries for Clerical Officers and Caretakers employed in National Schools under the 1978/79 Scheme and Clerical Officers employed in Post Primary Schools under the 1978 Scheme I 0022/2017- Revision of Salaries for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) I 0017/2017 - Staffing arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2017/18 school year I 0017/2017 - FAQs I 0016/2017 -Statutory Requirements for the Retrospective Vetting of Teaching Staff, Non-Teaching Staff and Others I 0016/2017 - FAQs I 0013/2017- Mainstream Primary Schools Special Education Teaching Allocation I 0009/2017 - Standardisation of the School Year in respect of Primary & Post-Primary Schools for the years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20. I


PLANNING PROMPTS A new prompt is uploaded each week to this section, outlining activities that schools may wish to consider at that particular time of year. This section will act as an online archive of planning prompts, which are also issued via Escéal.

SUPPORTS LEADERSHIP+ I Leadership+ Issue 97 – March 2017. E-SCÉALS A new E-scéal is uploaded each week to this section, outlining key information that is relevant to school leaders – deadlines, decisions, planning prompts, research etc. This section will act as an online archive of E-scéals.

ADVOCACY POSITION PAPERS I Special Schools I Early Years Care & Education. SUBMISSIONS Submission to the DES re. The role of religion in the school admissions process.


CPD & EVENTS PRINCIPALS’ CONFERENCE Principals’ Conference 2017 Further seminar presentation materials have been uploaded as follows: I Jim Mulkerrins DES - New SEN Resource Allocation Model I Enda McGorman and Áine Fitzpatrick - The Principal and Deputy Principal: A partnership in trust I Deirdre Mathews and Brian Mac Giolla Phadraig - DES Inspectorate School Leadership and Looking at Our School 2016 I Máire Corbett - Early Childhood Ireland - Going to Big School leaflet I Máire Nic An Rí - Acmhainní Teagaisc - Gaeilge I Denise Brett - Prevention is better than cure - Staff Underperformance. DEPUTY PRINCIPALS’ CONFERENCE Deputy Principals’ Conference 2017 I Conference Programme and Expo Guide

SEMINARS – PRESENTATIONS I Child protection and parental complaints - Margaret Gorman I Destressing For Deputy Principals Ann Ryan and Donal Kerins I The Power of One : DPMeet2017 the following presentation materials are available: G Kathleen Byrne - The Green Platform G Paul Knox - Craic sa Chlós (video) G Patrick Burke - ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go! (video) G Ciara Brennan showcased key websites including, The Literacy Shed and Mrs Brown’s Art G Maeve Callery - ‘The Hour of Code in a Junior School‘ G Marie Flanagan - ‘Giving Children a voice: One school’s experience of setting up a student council‘ G Kathleen Byrne - ‘Using the Rugby World Cup as a stimulus for poetry writing‘ I Leadership and Looking at Our School 2016 (based on the new Leadership Domains and Standards) - Deirdre Mathews and Brian Mac Giolla Phadraig I Our eLearning Plan: a digital strategy for our school - Robbie O’Leary I Principal and Deputy Principal: A partnership in trust - Enda McGorman and Áíne Fitzpatrick I Partnership Schools - Anna Mai Rooney I SEN Resource Model - allocation of resources and its implementation – Pat Goff I Supports available to Deputy Principals - Angela Lynch, Sarah McNamara, Pat Goff. Special Interest Groups I Administrative Deputy Principals.


UPDATES I April/May – School Book Grant I April/May - The Main Redeployment Panels will be published in late April 2017 with a timeline up to mid-May 2017 for schools to appoint teachers to vacancies from the panels I


KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Presentation and additional materials I Declan Coyle – The Green Platform G Presentation slides G Background to the concept of the Green Platform G A Primary Teacher’s Reflection on using the Green Platform in the classroom G Red and Green Platform responses

June - Publication of SNA allocations on the NCSE website. September 2017: Schools to confirm to their local SENOs that students allocated access to SNA support are attending

school, using the Confirmation of Attendance form, NCSE Form 6. I


The NCSE aims to respond in June 2017 to valid applications for access to SNA support received June - Capitation Grant (2nd moiety).

IPPN RESOURCES 2nd June – Final date to order your PIMS Inserts (Sections 1 – 3) on


May 2017

Schools Reconfiguration for




One statistic familiar to everyone involved in education in Ireland is that 96% of our primary schools are under religious patronage. Notwithstanding the quality of our primary schools overall, it is clear that there are many more parents seeking multidenominational education for their children than there are places in multidenominational schools.

consulting pre-school parents, and subsequently through the requirement for the existing patron to consult with local community and school interests in proposing to transfer patronage of an existing school to an alternative patron body. It is important to acknowledge the voluntary nature of these transfers, given that the current patron is in most cases the owner of the land on which the school stands.

The schools reconfiguration for diversity process has the potential to significantly increase patron diversity in our school system through the transfer of live schools. The success of the process will be dependent on constructive engagement by education stakeholders and patron bodies in pursuing the national objective of providing greater diversity of school provision in line with the choices of parents, families and school communities.

APRIL I CSL Mentor Training, Ennis I Meeting with DES re. Children First, Maynooth I Presentation to final year student teachers, Mary Immaculate College and Coláiste Mhuire Marino Institute of Education I Meeting with JMB re. Financial Support Services Unit (FSSU) for the primary sector, IPPN Support Office I Wellbeing for Teachers and Learners Group meeting, Maynooth I Working Group on Standards for School Age Childcare, DCYA offices I INTO Congress, Belfast I CSL Steering Committee meeting, Marlborough St. I Meeting with NAHT, Dublin I Facilitation training for group mentors, IPPN Support Office I IPPN Board of Directors Meeting.

MAY I Children’s Rights Alliance AGM, location I Cork Special Schools meeting, IPPN Support Office I IPPN One-teacher Schools focus group discussion on health, safety and wellbeing, Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe I CSL Shared Learning Day, Radisson Hotel, Athlone.

On 30th January last, Minister Richard Bruton announced ambitious new plans aimed at increasing the number of multi-denominational and nondenominational schools in line with the choices of families and school communities. While most new schools established under the Department’s patronage process are now multidenominational, the transfer of a substantial number of existing schools to multi-denominational patrons will be required to realise the Programme for Government commitment to increase the number of such schools to 400 by 2030. This new process for supporting transfers of schools to multidenominational patrons in response to the wishes of local families is based around principles of transparency and co-operation. Therefore, there will be a very substantial level of consultation of local communities in the process, both with the ETBs in the initial phase to establish evidence of demand by

On Your Behalf Since the last issue of Leadership+, IPPN has continued our advocacy and representative role on behalf of principals and deputy principals, through meetings, events and submissions in relation to the following: MARCH I An Coiste Comhairleach um Polasaí Oideachas Gaeltachta, DES, Clock Tower I NCCA Consultation Group on Primary Education I Moving Well, Being Well conference, Croke Park I CSL Research and Evaluation meeting, Marlborough St.

JUNE I IPPN Board of Directors meeting, Citywest, Dublin I IPPN National Council meeting, Citywest, Dublin I Group mentoring – facilitator training, IPPN Support Office.



LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

62 YEARS of Principalship JOHN BURNS I can clearly remember sitting in Rang V in Barefield NS, being taught by my late father Frank Burns (RIP), when the thought came to my mind that I would like to become a teacher. My late father was appointed Principal there in 1955 and retired in 1984. As a pupil in Barefield NS, there were only three teachers. I realised my own ambition and qualified as a teacher in 1978, teaching in various schools in Limerick and Ennis. I was appointed teaching Principal in Barefield NS in 1984 (succeeding my father) and became administrative Principal in 2002. I have first-hand experience of the educational environment and the evolving role of Principalship over many years. My father was appointed Principal by the Parish Priest at the time, an tAthair Tomás Ó Brádaigh, under whose authority he ‘ran’ the school. Fortunately, my father had a very positive relationship with an t-Athair Ó Brádaigh and the school prospered under their direction. He was a teaching Principal all his life. He had to learn the skills of principalship by himself with no support network. I can remember my father manually completing the salary forms (which the Parish Priest had to sign), registering pupils, filling in the pupils’ yearly attendances, promoting pupils, ensuring roll books were neat and accurate, daily completion of the leabhar tinnrimh, quarterly and annual checking of numbers and completing the small attendance blackboard. As with his generation of teachers, his handwriting was always impeccably presented and Gaeilge was always the vernacular. The implementation of the 1971 curriculum impacted on my father’s role as Principal. Previously, teachers worked mainly independently of each other within the school. However, he now had to commence introducing a more collaborative type teamwork culture in terms of curriculum



planning, encouraging in-service, developing a school plan, etc. I am really not sure how easy this culture change must have been for all concerned.

The implementation of the 1971 curriculum impacted on my father’s role as Principal… he now had to commence introducing a more collaborative type teamwork culture in terms of curriculum planning, encouraging in-service, developing a school plan, etc. The next major advancements in my father’s career were the publication of Circulars 16/73 and the establishment of the school Board of Management system in 1975. Now my father was responsible to the Board for managing a wide range of issues involving the day-to-day running of the school. No doubt his workload was becoming more onerous. His responsibilities were increasing. Irrespective of his Principal’s workload, his first priority was always the teaching and learning of all his pupils and consequently he had no option but to fulfil some of his Principal duties after school hours. I learned the role and duties of Principalship through observing him at his work at home. Unknowingly, he had become my mentor. I assumed the role of Principal in 1984 whilst also teaching Ranganna V-VI. During this period, many new educational initiatives and projects had to be embraced - The 1998 Education Act, the 1999 Revised Curriculum, EPSEN Act 2004, implementation of

many other legislation responsibilities, ICT, inclusion, the formation of numerous policies and much more. Concurrent with my teaching workload, I also had to co-ordinate the construction of six new pre-fabricated classrooms, undertake numerous fundraising events, conduct campaigns for three further major new extensions, develop our school GAA pitch, manage budgets, and recruit and interview numerous staff. During my time as Principal, Barefield NS grew from a 3-teacher school to our current staff of 23 teachers, 6 Special Needs Assistants and 3 ancillary staff. I oversaw the successful achievements of the above projects, which involved massive time commitments in terms of resources management, administration and the cultivation of relationships with numerous external agencies. However, my main priority was always to provide the best possible holistic education for every pupil in our school with the best possible facilities. My career as Principal to date has been a roller coaster ride of hard work and achievement. I am very fortunate to have worked with many constructive Boards of Management. The development of middle management teams with clearly-defined roles has also proved to be very beneficial as they work collaboratively to improve administration, organisation, teaching and learning within my school. I trust the moratorium will be lifted as soon as possible. The professional support provided by IPPN has proved invaluable to me on many occasions. I am also delighted to welcome the wonderful support initiatives of Tánaiste, Misneach and the new Centre for School Leadership. These support initiatives were not there in my father’s time and no doubt they are proving most beneficial to all new teachers and aspiring Principals. Needless to say, the introduction and advancement of IT has also transformed and significantly reduced my workload as Principal.

May 2017

Between my father and myself, we have devoted 62 years of unbroken service to Principalship in Barefield NS. It has been a wonderful, exciting and interesting journey for me. It has been difficult to compare my Principal’s role to that of my father’s in such few words. As society seemed to be more streamlined in my father’s

time, I consider his role as Principal to have been administrative in nature and at a much less demanding pace than current times. The diverse nature of our modern society presents more challenges and demands instant answers, with immediate access to computers, iPhones, social media, text messaging, emails, etc. ultimately providing a far more efficient service. My role involves multi-tasking, leading, facilitating, recruiting, mentoring and promoting change. This cannot be undertaken successfully without fostering the proactive involvement

and co-operation of Boards of Management, Parents’ Associations, ISM teams and, above all, staff. Between my father and myself, we have devoted 62 years of unbroken service to Principalship in Barefield NS. It has been a wonderful, exciting and interesting journey for me. I have no regrets and I look forward to many more years as Principal with the same enthusiasm as I had when I first started in 1984.

Barefield National School in the 1950s…

…and Barefield National School in 2010

Mr. Frank Burns R.I.P. & An t-athair Tomás Ó Brádaigh R.I.P. with Barefield National School Choir, 1962

Frank Burns


LEADERSHIP+ The Professional Voice of Principals

IPPN Leadership & Learning

Blended Summer Course For Deputy Principals…

IPPN is offering its first tailored summer course specifically for Deputy Principals this summer. This will be a blended course with a requirement to complete 2 days of the course online and the remaining 3 days will take place face-to-face in the Sheraton Athlone Hotel, Athlone in Westmeath. The event will run from Monday, 3rd to Friday, 7th July. Monday and Tuesday, 3rd and 4th July will be online and the remaining 3 days will be face to face in Athlone. Course content will include: I Child Protection & Parental Complaints I Shared Leadership & Management I Stress & Wellbeing I Leading Inclusive Learning I Managing an SEN team I Policies in School I Developing Personal Leadership & Empowering Staff I Positive School Environment This course will be open to current and acting teaching / administrative deputy principals.

For Principals…

IPPN is offering its first blended summer course for Principals this July in two locations – Donegal and Athlone. There is a requirement to complete 2 days of the course online and the remaining 3 days will be face to face. The event will run from Monday, 3rd July to Friday, 7th July. Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th July will be online, while the remaining three days will be face to face. The event will take place in the following two locations from the 5th to 7th July: Central Hotel, Donegal Town and Sheraton Athlone Hotel, Co. Westmeath This course will be open to current and acting teaching / administrative principals.

Book your place now on These courses are approved by Drumcondra Education Centre and qualify for 3 EPV days.

Ciall Ceannaithe IPPN online course for Newly Appointed Principals

Ciall Ceannaithe – IPPN online Summer Course – has been developed to provide a greater understanding of the innovative solutions to challenges facing Principals. A highly practical step-by-step course built on the collective wisdom and experience of seasoned Principals. The course is designed to professionally support Newly Appointed Principals through the first day, first week, first month and first year of their principalship. It is also a very suitable refresher course for experienced Principals who wish to reflect on current practice.

Modules include: ● Accessing professional supports & key resources ● Getting started in your role ● What to do… what not to do! ● Schedule priorities ● Good practice & timetabling for Teaching Principals

Course includes: ● 10 modules (20 hours of study) ● Fully interactive online lessons with audio/visual ● Discussion forum with expert moderators & facilitators ● Online reflective learning log ● Innovative technology-enhanced ● Learning

Registration: ● Registration for the course will be open in April with the course commencing in July ● Full details will be available on in the coming weeks ● Access to broadband is necessary

For further information contact Jennifer McCarthy on 20

And Finally…


You never know who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out! Warren Buffett

WHAT THE ‘P’ IN PRINCIPAL REALLY STANDS FOR! PART ONE! MAY/JUNE/SUMMER Promotion: A thrilling time of emotions and congratulations and nervous anticipation Preparation: A new office! Lots of reading, sorting, discarding and recycling resources while becoming acquainted with a new school. SEPTEMBER People: So many people contacts every day, who knew? Everyone wants to meet the new principal. And how did every marketing company get my email address so fast? With that said, getting out into the school and meeting the students and staff was my favourite time of day. OCTOBER Paperwork: This was not isolated to just this month. By October the first month of adrenaline had worn off and I realised my inboxes (of the old-fashioned kind) were jammed with all kinds of papers to read, sort, discard or recycle. Not to mention that the other newer inboxes (email, voicemail, texts) also generated additional work!

JANUARY Patience: Throughout the year, worries continued and my patience was tested. January seemed to demand even more patience. As this isn’t one of my virtues, I was very glad I had completed that ‘Crucial Conversation’ training a few years back! FEBRUARY Perseverance: I was getting the hang of this job. I believed I could do this principal role. MARCH Progressive Plans: Near the last quarter of the school year, it was time to be creative and initiate small changes that could affect the school vision for the next year. APRIL Persuasion: Never would I say that the ‘P’ in Principal stands for power! But I did realise that principals could be persuasive in terms of curriculum ideas, staff development and community partnerships.

NOVEMBER Politics: I noticed this during the middle of the school year and was so thankful that I had taken the time to walk the school and meet people during the first few months. Positive relationships were vital for good honest conversations now.

MAY Productivity: Heading to the end of the school year, we were back on track as a school community involved in so many activities. Extracurricular successes, field trips, recognising student leaders, honouring teachers, and so much data to analyse – more paperwork!

DECEMBER Positive: The letter ‘P’ was providing focus for me and my role as the school leader. I needed to remain positive and calm in the face of increasing paperwork and demands.

JUNE Pride: This word simply summed up how I felt about the school community after such a busy first year in the principal’s chair.

Andrea Taylor, Principal in Halton, Ontario. First published in OPC Register, Summer 2014 – reprinted with permission of the editor. 21


Issue 98 May 2017