ISSUE 30 • JANUARY 2006
A Phríomhoide agus a Phríomhoide Thánaistigh, This is a special issue of Leadership Plus which sets out the direct financial benefits enjoyed by schools where the Principal and Deputy Principal are members of IPPN. Given that Principals and their Deputies are key decision makers in schools it is of little surprise to discover that school suppliers are keen to show their goodwill to IPPN. Consequently, the businesses listed in this issue of Leadership Plus have put together particularly attractive packages, following negotiation with IPPN, bringing you and your school excellent quality of service at a significantly reduced cost. Key amongst these services are: ScoilTel – reduced cost landline telephone service for schools Mobile+ - reduced cost mobile telephone calls for schools Azzurri – high quality low cost sports equipment and leisurewear In addition, IPPN has developed several efficient solutions to age old challenges in response to members needs. Amongst these are: Text-a-parent - a means of instantly communicating with parents Text-a-sub –an efficient and time saving way of finding substitute teachers Educationposts.ie – free on-line advertising for all teacher vacancies Primary Education Management Manual (PEMM) – the only one stop shop with all the factual information you need to know about school management.
Finally, we can be very proud of the professional supports and services offered by school leaders to each other through IPPN. These include: Confidential Advisory Service IPPN web site – up to date professional information and supports Topic specific mailing lists for professional discussion County Network Meetings Leadership Plus - Professional Association Newsletter E-scéal – electronic newsletter for professional guidance and support Seminars/workshops with national and international experts Joint IPPN/LDS mentoring programme for Newly Appointed Principals Text message alerts – for up to date information Annual Principals’ Conference Annual Deputy Principals’ Conference My school pays my IPPN membership fee. Therefore ‘What’s in it for my school?’ is a fair question for any member to ask when joining a Professional Association. The table below illustrates the direct financial benefits to schools arising from IPPN membership and shows clearly that the actual savings exceed the annual membership fee by a considerable amount.
4 Teacher School Existing Tel: Existing Mobile: Sports Kit/Equipment Existing Photocopying
€450 €600 €750 €400
ScoilTel: Mobile+: Azzurri: Textaparent.ie
Total Savings: (Based on survey of four 4 Teacher schools)
This issue of Leadership + contains further detailed information on the various services and supports and the relevant contact details. Bain taitneamh agus tairbhe astu. Is sinne le meas Seán Cottrell & Tomás O’Slatara
12 Teacher School €300 €300 €450 €250
Saving Saving Saving Saving
€150 €300 €300 €150 €900
Existing Tel: Existing Mobile: Sports Kit/Equipment Existing Photocopying
€1,150 €900 €1,500 €1,000
ScoilTel: Mobile+: Azzurri: Textaparent.ie
€800 €450 €950 €550
€350 €450 €550 €450
Saving Saving Saving Saving
Total Savings: (Based on survey of four 12 Teacher schools)
Look Back at the 1970’s........................................7 Legal Diary .................................................................6 Opinion .....................................................................11 Employing Ancillary Staff ...................................13
Eight Signs of Leadership Potential....................................................................15
President: Tomás Ó Slatara firstname.lastname@example.org Director: Seán Cottrell email@example.com Editor: Larry Fleming firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Editor: Virginia O’Mahony Advertising: Nicole Walsh email@example.com
Irish Primary Principals’ Network Glounthaune, Co Cork e: firstname.lastname@example.org l: 1890 21 22 23 t: 353 21 452 4925 f: 353 21 435 5648 w: www.ippn.ie
The opinions expressed in Leadership Plus do not necessarily reflect the official policy or views of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network
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Reducing Administrative Burden on Schools ..................................................2 Diary of Meetings November.............................3 IPPN Questionnaire on Autistic Provision .....4
Administrative Burden In her address to the annual IPPN Conference in City West last year, the Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin TD, acknowledged the administrative overload being placed on Principals in schools. She promised she would examine certain areas, particularly in relation to how the duplication of information being requested by various bodies from Principals could be lessened. The lack of consultation and co-operation within and between agencies in maintaining and sharing information on schools is a major contributing factor to the duplication which increases the administrative burden on schools. The same information is often being requested from schools by multiple sources in the Departments of Health and Education. Much of the information required is already available within these Departments and IPPN believes greater emphasis must be placed on retrieving this information from the appropriate agencies and presenting it for verification to schools rather than continuously expecting schools to furnish it from scratch. The lack of a centralised pupil data base and other standardised computerised tools is a key source of frustration to Principals. Regular school documentation such as Report cards, Enrolment forms, Accident report forms, Absences, Roll Books, Attendance books, Transfer to post-primary cards etc, should all be set up in a standard integrated tool sets linked to be centralised pupil database.
Roles and Responsibilities A lack of clarity of the role and responsibilities of various parties involved in the running of a school, particularly the Board of Management and the In-School Management team causes significant pressure to fall on the shoulders of the Principal. In-school Management must be reviewed regularly and revised to meet the
changing needs of a school as must the duties of the ISM team members.
In-school Management must be reviewed regularly and revised to meet the changing needs of a school as must the duties of the ISM team members. Board of Management members, voluntary and unpaid as they largely are, cannot be expected to devote significant amounts of personal time to administration. A new process needs to be considered which reflects a schools needs and provides adequate support to the Board of Management and the Principal to enable them to focus on school governance rather than data entry.
Proposed Solutions to Administrative Burden A critical review of the structures of Boards of Management is crucial. Radical changes are necessary to ensure that governance is more effective and efficient. The requirements of the chairperson of the Board to sign off on all DES forms should also be removed. Health Service Executive activities in schools should be streamlined whereby all administration, parental contacts etc, that currently fall on the school are dealt with by Health Executive staff. The administrative burden could be spread through defining clearer roles and responsibilities as well as accountability for the Deputy Principal and ISM team members. Special Duties posts should also be created in schools which have an above average level of children with Special Needs. This post holder would deal with SEN applications, liaise with NEPS and the SENO and monitor the provision of resources. PAGE 2
The burden of preparation for sacraments has traditionally fallen on the schools. This burden should be placed on the parents and the Church with the school playing a supporting role.
Uses of Modern Technology One of the most significant projects that needs to be undertaken is the creation of a National Schools Database holding all of the information about each school in the country that is regularly requested by all the sections in the DES and other agencies and bodies. This central system would record pupil and staff records as well as statistical information facilitating quarterly returns, grant applications, resource requests, building projects etc, to name but a few. Allied to the above is the need for a National Pupil Database, holding all the information about each pupil attending each school with each childâ€™s PPS number ensuring data integrity and facilitating effortless cross/referencing. The provision of electronic roll books, integrated with the national pupil database to minimise data duplication, should also be given serious consideration. Indeed, all forms needing to be completed by schools ,should be available electronically including grant application forms, building project forms etc.
Departmental Support From the Principals perspective the extcessive levels of bureaucracy relating to schools must be drastically reduced. Some solutions could include: Extending the payment system to include all staff employed in school. Dedicated phone, fax and e-mail query lines to deal with specific issues (e.g. Summer Work Schemes), adequately staffed by fully qualified personnel. If a query needs follow up, ownership of that
query should remain with a single DES staff person. All Queries should be logged and categorised with phone lines open when needed the most i.e. at least 9am5:30pm Monday â€“ Friday. When new curricular initiatives, policies and plans are being implemented it is essential that appropriate supports and services are planned and provided in advance, communicated in plain language and duplications removed. Impact assessments should be carried out for each change to determine supports needed by schools and the time impact the proposed change will have on schools. Standard content-rich templates suitable for the majority of schools must be provided. Schools should be enabled to cluster together to avail of additional resources. All information requests and deadlines must be set well before the end of the school year to ensure schools can schedule and complete work by the time the school closes in June and no later. No circulars or other documents requiring any work should be sent to schools after June 1st each year. In relation to Special Needs Provision, the process for appointing Special Needs
Assistants needs to be reviewed and simplified as does the processes for applying for SEN resources equipment and facilities.
Boards of Management Purchasing for a school can be extremely time consuming as well as energy sapping. Boards should be in a position to sign off on a process of expenditure rather than on each individual expense. Some of the new IPPN initiatives outlined in this issue should be of enormous benefit. Boards also need to be directed to allocate work to the Principal only where the specifics of the task cannot be completed by another Board member. The burden needs to be shared irrespective of the voluntary nature of the role. In many schools Principals act as Treasurer and Recording Secretaries often without secretarial support and no remuneration. Other procedures to reduce the administrative burden which need to be explored include the centralised purchasing of educational materials through a single purchasing system, the banning of unsolicited calls and mail and additional release time at small school level. IPPN is currently working on a detailed submission on practical measures to reduce the administrative burden on schools for presentation to the DES in the near future.
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IPPN Questionnaire on
Autistic Provision Compiled by IPPN Special Needs Sub-Committee of: Ursula Cotter Dónal Ó’Múrchu Liam Twomey Pat Goff Peter Creedon
Background In the past eight years the educational provision for pupils with special needs has changed radically. Two of the main reasons for this were the judgements in the high profile O’Donoghue and Sinnott court cases and recent legislation. The Education Act 1998 is an Act which makes provision, in the interest of the common good, for the education of every person in the state, including any person with a disability or with other special educational needs. The Education Welfare Act 2000 further reinforced the entitlement of every child in the state to a certain minimum level of education. The Equal Status Acts 2000 & 2004, which promote equality of opportunity, require the reasonable accommodation of all people with disabilities. The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 is an Act to make further provision for the education of people with Special Education Needs in an inclusive environment where possible. This Act also establishes the National Council for Special Education, confers certain functions on Health Boards with regard to the education of people with special needs and also allows for an appeal to be made when necessary. The Disability Act 2005 is an act to enable provision to be made for the assessment of health and education needs occasioned to persons with disabilities by their disabilities.
The Equal Status Acts 2000 & 2004, which promote equality of opportunity, require the reasonable accommodation of all people with disabilities. Regarding pecial Classes for Autistic children in mainstream schools, the Department of Education & Science originally had a policy of providing a teacher and two Special Needs Assistants for every six pupils. Many other court cases followed the O’Donoghue and Sinnott judgements and this resulted in the DES providing extra resources. At last years IPPN’s conference this differing provision was discussed. It was agreed to survey Principals to ascertain the current situation in schools, the levels of support and the areas of major concern.
This was an excellent return and gives a good overall view of the current level of provision. 80% were from co-educational schools and the divide between urban and rural was evenly split. Of the respondents, 16 were from special schools, 46 had between one and three special classes for Autistic children attached to mainstream schools, and the remainder were schools that had autistic pupils in mainstream classes. The special classes catered for pupils with Higher Functioning Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Autism with Mild Learning Disability, Autism with Moderate General Learning Disability and Autism with Severe General Learning Disability. The size of schools varied from two- teacher schools right up to the very large schools. Six of the schools were ‘Primarily ABA’, 14 were ‘Primarily TEACCH’, while the majority had an ‘Eclectic Approach’.
Findings A digital copy of this report can be found on www.ippn.ie. Listed below are just some of the key findings Staffing The chart below refers to teaching staff in Special Classes. 53% of teachers are temporary, 46% qualified in the Irish system, 18% were Montessori trained.
The high level of temporary teachers has major implications for the continuity of education provision. The high level of temporary teachers has major implications for the continuity of education provision. If the school manages to access training for these teachers, there is real difficulty in retaining them if they are appointed to temporary positions.
Permanent (Irish Qualified) Permanent (Trained Abroad) Temporary (Irish Qualified) Temporary (Trained Abroad) Permanent (Montessori Trained)
Temporary (Montessori Trained)
A Questionnaire was prepared by IPPN and circulated to the relevant school Principals. In total 210 principals responded to the questionnaire. PAPAGE 4
Training It is important to note that 70% of all Principals had to skip the question on training, because they, or their staff, had not received any training. The lack of training even for those with special classes raises serious issues. Type of Teaching General Course on Autism TEACCH ABA Lovaas Programming Sensory Integration Challenging Behaviour Task Analysis Using Pep-R Developing IEP’s Communication Skills P.E.C.S. 1st Aid Handling & Lifting
Principal 47% 14% 16% 2% 7% 32% 7% 12% 46% 18% 39% 25% 19%
Teacher 63% 30% 32% 0% 16% 49% 16% 12% 46% 18% 39% 25% 19%
SNA 40% 11% 21% 0% 9% 32% 5% 2% 14% 9% 25% 28% 26%
Levels of Support The lack of support that schools receive from other professionals or agencies is quite frightening. This lack of support and the huge increase in workload for Principals is primarily responsible for half of the Principals stating that they would not set up a special class for autism in their school again. Physiotherapist Occupational Therapist Speech Therapist Psychiatrist Psychologist Behaviour Specialist Music Therapist Play Therapist Nurse
None 90% 64% 56% 89% 80% 89% 82% 93% 80%
Daily 0% 0% 2% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 18%
Weekly 10% 36% 43% 11% 20% 11% 18% 7% 2%
How Special Class for Autistic Children has impacted on Principal’s Workload (1 to 10 with1 having the greatest impact) Non-Educational Tasks Paperwork req. by DES Conflicting demands on teaching principals & Sp. Classes Lack of Resources People Management Unplanned Interruptions Maintaining full teaching and non teaching staff Inactive or ineffective BOM’s Arranging meetings with therapists, parents, etc
1 23% 15% 20%
2 13% 21% 5%
3 13% 10% 5%
4 13% 8% 5%
5 21% 13% 0%
6 8% 13% 10%
7 8 5% 0% 10% 3% 0% 20%
9 5% 5% 20%
10 0% 3% 15%
33% 31% 13% 16%
13% 21% 10% 9%
10% 18% 23% 9%
5% 5% 13% 12%
18% 5% 15% 9%
10% 3% 13% 9%
0% 10% 5% 12%
8% 0% 5% 9%
0% 5% 0% 6%
3% 3% 3% 6%
13% 13% 3%
18% 12% 12% 12%
It is worth noting that the greatest causes for increased workload for principals were lack of resources, people management, Non-Educational tasks, and conflicting demands on Teaching Principals and Sp. Classes. Also 60% - 70% of a Principal’s time was needed during the set-up period. This has major consequences for the rest of the school.
Recommendations of Questionnaire The supports that Principals identified in the questionnaire highlight the main requirements that schools need if setting up a Special Class for Autism. These are listed below under six main headings. 1. Accommodation: (a) Permanent classroom (b) Time-out room (c) Multi-sensory room (d) Multi-purpose room, especially for therapists, parents meetings, etc. (e) Outdoor play area & play equipment continues on page 7
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IPPN Questionnaire on Autistic Provision
Looking Back at the 1970’S
Continued from page 4
The 1970’s were watershed years in Irish history. At the beginning of the decade we could not foresee the changes that would end our complacency. Tipperary would not figure in an All-Ireland final after 1971. (Question 1: Name the defeated team) We were still the land of Saints and Scholars, mostly poor scholars. The average class size was fifty pupils. But a new curriculum would solve all problems. So teachers armed themselves with An Curaclam Nua, Leabhar 1 agus Leabhar 2, purchased acres of black nylon, reams of sandpaper, all at their own expence – "grant" was a word unknown in the educational lexicon – and proceeded towards a bright new world. (Ceist 2: Cén t-ainm a bhí ar na cardboard cutout figures?) After all Dana had just won the Eurovision Song Contest ( Question 3: What was the song?); mini skirts were in fashion along with trouser suits, bell bottoms, platform shoes and leg warmers. Punk was down the road. This was the decade of four Presidents and three Popes and a minimum bus fare of 2 pennies, the era of "burn the bra" and rising fuel prices.
3. Resources: (a) Annual budget for outside consultants (b) Annual budget for educational resources as the extra capitation grant for pupils with Autism does not cover the extra cleaning, lighting and basic maintenance in these rooms 4. Supports – outreach services (a) Inter disciplinary team to support each school (b) Regular psychological service (c) Regular support of Speech & Language Therapist (d) Regular support of Occupational Therapist (e) Access to Play Therapist and Music Therapist 5. Advice Centre – Inservice (a) Advice centre to provide support and a central bank of resources (b) Survey schools to ascertain training needs of teachers & SNAs (c) Provide training courses to meet these needs 6. Administration (a) All schools with special units to have an Administrative Pprincipal (b) All new units to have a lead-in period where the staff receive some training prior to pupils starting (c) Liaison persons in Dept .of Education & Science and Dept. of Health.
Comment There is an enormous amount of good work going on in schools around the country in the provision of services to pupils with Autism. In fairness to the DES, their Special Education Department are reviewing this provision in an attempt to standardise it across the country. The Department of Health need to do likewise. A fully co-ordinated and integrated approach between Departments is now urgently needed. Otherwise it will be the Principal who is left constantly trying to access services. This time could be much better spent in teaching. 49% of Principals surveyed stated that they would not wish to set up a special class for Autism again, such was their negative experience. This figure will rise unless a co-ordinated approach is adopted. A more positive outcome will result if some of the recommendations above become policy for the relevant Departments.
I began my teaching career in 1971. That was the year that Alan Shepard, Allen Rosa and Edgar Mitchell walked on the moon. Intel introduced the microprocessor. Sean Lemass died. The Irish Womens’ Liberation Movement defied the law by importing contraceptives from Belfast. Colour televisions were becoming the norm but we still had only one channel on which you could watch "Mannix", "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" or "Hawaii Five O". Rod Stewart had a hit with "Maggie May", John Lennon composed "Imagine" and Gilbert O ‘Sullivan was "Alone Again Naturally". "Diamonds Are forever" and "The French Connection" were filling the cinemas but the censor banned "A Clockwork Orange" lest we be affected by the mindless violence portrayed. Internment without trial was introduced in the North of Ireland 1972 did not get off to a good start. Bloody Sunday saw thirteen civilians shot dead in Derry. In February the British Embassy in Dublin was burned to the ground. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed at the Munich Olympics. In America, five gentlemen were arrested for breaking into the Democrats’ headquarters in the Watergate Towers complex. In Ireland we were singing "American Pie" (Question 4: Who composed the song?) and dancing to "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues. We watched "The Godfather" in our local cinema. (Question 5: Who won an Oscar for best use of cotton wool?). But the censor would not allow our morals to be corrupted by "Last Tango in Paris". Kilkenny beat Cork and Offaly defeated Kerry with the famous last minute Darby goal. 1973 In spite of the censor above we joined the EEC and took our place among the powerful nations of the earth. (Question 6: What do the initials stand for?) Erskine Childers became President of Ireland. The report of the Committee for the Status of Women recommended an end to sex discrimination in employment. A power- sharing executive was created in the North of Ireland but was opposed by the Unionists. In the general election, Fianna Fail lost power after a sixteen year run. Elvis divorced Priscella. "Midnight Train to Georgia" was a hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips. "The Exorcist" terrified cinemagoers. Circular 16/73 terrified Principals. Limerick beat Kilkenny and Cork defeated Galway.
1975 The year that Boards of Management were established in National Schools. Also the year of the disposable razor, the skateboard, "The Rocky Horror Show" and the beginning of world recession as OPEC increased oil prices by 10%. Kilkenny beat Galway for two in a row and Kerry beat Dublin. (Question 8: What was different about the All Ireland finals?) 1976 Concord began regular transatlantic flights. (Question 9:Which Chinese leader went to his eternal reward?) OPEC turns the screw with price increases of between 5 and 10%. A good year for films with "All the President’s Men"; "Network" and "Taxi Driver". Farah Fawcett-Major became a pin-up (Question 10: Which TV show featured her good self along with two other ladies?) A peanut farmer became the President of the USA (Question 11: Who was he?). The Drimoleague NS dispute erupted in this year. Cork beat Wexford in the hurling final. This was the first of three in a row. Dublin defeated Kerry. 1977 Not a good year for entertainers with the passing of Charlie Chaplin (Question 12: What character did he play in his silent films?); Groucho Marx; Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley. Betty Williams and Mairéad Corrigan shared the Nobel Peace Prize. "Star Wars" attracted huge crowds to cinemas around the world. Cork again beat Wexford while Dublin defeated Armagh. 1978 Three popes made the headlines. Pope Paul VI passed away and was succeeded by Pope John Paul I who succumbed to illness and died in his sleep. The first Polish Pope was elected. The world was further plunged into recession as OPEC increased prices by 14%. Bjorn Borg and Martina Navratilova were top earners on the tennis circuit. The first test tube baby was born in England. "We are the Champions" by Queen applied to Cork as they achieved their three in a row when they beat Kilkenny. Kerry defeated Dublin and denied them their three in a row. 1979 Forever remembered as the year of Pope John Paul’s visit to this country. In Britain, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister and OPEC turned the last screw when prices were increased by 50%. But the lights were dimming in more ways than one as a new decade was born. "Apocalypse Now" was one of the hit films of the year while Michael Jackson scored with "Off the Wall". Kilkenny played in their seventh All-Ireland since ’71 and won. Kerry took two in a row at Dublin’s expense. Pat Meagher, Youghalarra NS, Nenagh Oh! And the answers: 1. Kilkenny 2. Deilbhíní 3. All Kinds of Everything 4. Don Mc.Lean 5. Marlon Brando 6. European Econonic Community 7. Waterloo 8. First 70 minute finals 9. Mao Tse-Tung 10. Charlie’s Angels 11. Jimmy Carter 12. The Tramp.
2. Staffing: (a) Teaching positions should be permanent (b) Improved pupil teacher ratio for classes integrating or enrolling an Autistic/Special Needs pupil (c) Pupil Teacher ratio should be as recommended by Task Force; 4:1 (d) SNA ratio should be 1:1 in most cases (e) Supply panel to cover sick days, EPV days and training days. (f) Home School Community Liaison Teacher
1974 President Childers died and was replaced by Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh. Loyalist bombs in Dublin and Monaghan killed thirty-three people. President Nixon resigned. "The Godfather Part 2", "Chinatown" and "The Great Gatsby" entertained cinema audiences. Two highlights of the year: Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest (Question 7: What was the song?); and the string bikini became fashionable. Kilkenny beat Limerick while Dublin defeated Galway. Dublin would go on to contest each final for the remaining years of this decade.
Fairness of Procedures and due process are essential ingredients in any Code of Discipline
M. A Minor by A M his mother and next friend for judical review and in the matter of Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 as amended and in the matter of a decision dated 15 April 2003 by the Principal and Board of Governers of Good Shepherd Primary School. HIGH COURT (QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION) BELFAST SYNOPIS The Principal of the primary school in Dunmurry Belfast decided to suspend the applicant, an 11 year old boy from school for 5 days following an investigation of an incident when a number of pupils handled a packet of cannabis resin brought into school by another pupil. In his letter informing the parents and the Board of Management, the Principal stated that the pupil was suspended on the grounds of knowingly handling and promoting cannabis resin. The decision to suspend was made on the day following the incident. The Principal did not inform or consult with the parents before the suspension in relation to his proposed action or in relation to his investigation or its outcome and the pupil and his parents were not given an opportunity to challenge any of the material which the Principal purported to take into account in arriving at his decision. All four pupils involved in the investigation were suspended for 5 days without differentiation although one of the pupils had actually brought the cannabis into the school. The school now accepted that the pupil had not knowingly "promoted the drug". The pupil challenged the decision on the grounds that the procedure followed was unfair. The Principal contended that the suspension was not punitive but instead it was made to facilitate further investigation and consideration of the expulsion. In
the event it was decided not to expel the pupil who returned to school after the suspension.
FACTS According to the affidavit of M's mother, M told her about the incident at the school on April 14th 2003. His version of events was that a pupil called P had brought a drug into the school in his schoolbag. The child P went to his special needs class and a pupil other than M went to P's bag and showed everyone in the class the drug in the bag. When P returned to class he asked another pupil to hide the drug and the pupil threw the drug into the bushes as the class left for swimming. While the class was at swimming another pupil told a teacher about the drug. The pupil who had hidden the drug was unwilling to state where he had put it but M persuaded him to reveal its whereabouts and he alleged that the teacher had praised him for doing so. M told his mother that the Principal had accused him of having the drug up his sleeve and of asking a number of pupils to sniff it but he denies that. The Principal made a decision to suspend M and three other pupils from the school for a period of 5 days from 15 – 29 April 2003. Part of this period was during the Easter vacation. M was in fact off school for 3 days before the Easter Holidays as part of his suspension. The Principal sent a letter to M's parents. The contents of this letter were significant in the application and so far as material it reads as follows: "I am very sorry to have to inform you that I am suspending your son M from the school for a period of 5 school days from 15 – 29 April 2003 inclusive for the following reason: 1. Knowingly handling and promoting yesterday, 14 April while on school property, an illegal substance, suspected to be cannabis resin. I would like you to understand that M will remain in your care while suspended and the school accepts no responsibility for him during this time. School work can be collected for him from Mr. Mc Guinness before or after school each day. It is your responsibility to collect his work PAGE 8
and return it to the teacher for marking. During this period of suspension M should not be on school premises at any time. Following the period of suspension, I would like to meet you and M in my office on Wednesday morning 30 April at 9.00am when we will discuss arrangements for allowing M back to school. I am required by regulation to notify the Chairman of the Board of Management. I regret very much having to take this action but you will understand that a serious incident such as this cannot be overlooked. It is my earnest hope that M will make a positive contribution to his education upon his return." The Principal states that he was informed of the possible existence of an illegal substance suspected to be cannabis resin in the school on April 14 th 2003. According to the school's Drug Education Policy, a suspected drug related incident is described as including: Suspect drugs found on school premises. A pupil suspected of being in possession of drugs A pupil found to be under the influence of drugs. In its disciplinary procedure, sanctions are provided for cases related to illegal drugs. Should any pupil found to be knowingly in procession of illegal drugs while in school, immediate disciplinary action would be taken. Parents would be informed and summoned to the school. Police authorities according to the law would be notified and the pupil would be recommended for expulsion. It is not apparent from the Principal's affidavit whether parents and pupils were informed of the terms of the school's policy in this regard. The Principal stated that having conducted a preliminary investigation, he concluded that M and another three pupils had breached the school's drug policy and he was therefore obliged to deal with the
matter in accordance with the disciplinary procedure which concluded the provision recommending expulsion.
THE CODE OF DISCIPLINE According to the Code of Discipline the letter sent to the parent must include reasons for the suspension, the period of the suspension and a request to the parent to contact the school immediately to attend a meeting with the Principal to discuss the pupil's misbehaviour. In exceptional circumstances and because of the grave nature or gross extent of any misbehaviour, a Principal may suspend a pupil immediately. Before suspending or expelling a pupil it is stated to be good practice to consider fully the circumstances which led to the behaviour and whether any effective alternative approach to suspension is possible and apply the minimal period of suspension that is appropriate in the circumstances which led to the behaviour. Factors to be taken into account include the age of the pupil, the degree of severity of the behaviour and whether the incident was perpetrated by the pupil on his own or as part of a group.
PARENT'S / BOY'S DEFENCE The boy's case was that in the circumstances, the suspension of the applicant was unfairly carried out. It is contended that M was never afforded a fair hearing in respect of the decision to suspend. The decision to suspend was clearly punitive and the Principal was quite wrong in suggesting that he did not regard it as punitive. Either the principal misconceived the proper function and effect of a suspension (if he really believed it was not punitive) or that his suggestion that they believed it was not punitive was simply wrong. The conclusion was arrived at as the result of an unfair procedure because M and his parents were not given an opportunity to know or challenge what the others were asserting in relation to M's alleged involvement in the incident. In relation to the Principal's contention that the suspension was to facilitate an investigation to be undertaken, there was nothing to suggest any further investigation in to the facts and the parents were not involved in relation to the factual situation. There was no indication to M or his parents that the finding was anything other than definitive. Key circumstances in the present case were the following: 1. M was being accused of involvement in a very serious breach of school discipline involving illegal drugs in the school. 2. The Principal concluded that the boy not merely touched the drugs which M had not brought into the school, but he knowingly handled them as drugs and that he was, by his actions intentionally promoting drugs within the school. 3. The plaintiff was at the time 11 years of age. 4. The Principal conducted some kind of investigation including speaking to M which led him to conclude that M and another three pupils were so seriously in breach of the school's drug policy that the circumstances prima facie justified expulsion. 5. The Principal did not call in M's parents to consult with them or give them an opportunity to express any views or raise any questions relevant to the investigation before he reached his conclusion to suspend M. 6. M being aged 11 could not be expected to understand or appreciate all the implications of
the situation once the Principal began to conclude that the situation called for suspension and probably expulsion. The principal should have understood that. Nor would M be alive to what should be done to ensure that there was a fair and proper investigation. The parents would have been the appropriate responsible adults in relation to M who could have more adequately ensured that M's interests were protected. There does not appear to be any reason why between 14 th and 15th April he would not have had the opportunity to involve the parents, explain the situation to them and seek their views and comments in relation to the material evidence and in relation to the allegations being made against M. There may be cases of urgency where fairness would not be breached by immediate expulsion. 7. The Principal did not apparently consider the case as one that called for an exceptional immediate suspension since the incident occurred on 14 th April and the decision to suspend was not made until the 15th April.
requires Boards of Managements to publish a Code of Discipline. The Code of Discipline can be published in the school journal and in the school information booklet. It is futile to produce a Code of Discipline at the last moment in advance of a serious sanction like suspension. All parents should have knowledge of the content of the code and the ultimate sanctions in a worst case scenario long before such a situation ever develops. Schools may request parents to sign a Code of Discipline as part of the admission process to a school. This is stipulated in Section 23(4) of the Education Welfare Act 2000. Section 23 of the Act deals with the Code of Behaviour. The following Sub Sections deserves careful consideration;
SECTION 23 EDUCATION (WELFARE) ACT 2000 Sub Section (2) A Code of Behaviour shall specifyThe standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school The measures that may be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards
8. The Code of Discipline made it clear that suspension is a severe sanction and it must be regarded as punitive in nature.
The procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned
9. Suspension should be for the minimum period appropriate in the circumstances and the decision maker must accordingly consider what is the shortest period appropriate in all the circumstances. Alternatives need to be explored before a decision to suspend is made.
The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student and
10. Where a number of pupils are allegedly involved the decision maker must consider what is appropriate in each case. It would not necessarily be logical to conclude that each of the pupils must be treated in the same way.
JUDGEMENT 1. The decision of the Principal to suspend the boy on the grounds of knowingly handling and promoting drugs stood on the boy's record. 2. The Principal's argument that the suspension should be reviewed as punitive and that it was of a provisional nature was fallacious. Suspension is a severe sanction and the decision to suspend must be made in that light. Moreover, looking at the matter objectively, the Principal had purported to make a definitive finding that the pupil had knowingly handled and promoted cannabis resin and he had informed the applicant, his parents and the relevant authorities of that decision. The decision could not be viewed as merely provisional. 3. The procedure followed was unfair. In the circumstances, there was time available to involve and consult the parents of the applicant who was too young to protect his own interests or to know how to consider or challenge the evidence against him.
Under Section 23 of the Education Welfare Act 2000 all schools are required to have a Code of Discipline to include an Anti Bullying Policy. OBSERVATION Fairness of procedures and due process are essential ingredients in any Code of Discipline. Under Section 23 of the Education Welfare Act 2000 all schools are required to have a Code of Discipline to include an Anti Bullying Policy. Section 15 of the Education Act 1998 PAGE 9
The procedures to be followed relating to notification of a child's absence from school (3) A Code of Behaviour shall be prepared in accordance with such guidelines as may, (following consultation by the National Education Welfare Board, with National Associations or Parents, recognized School Management Organizations and Trade Unions and Staff Associations representing teachers), be issued by the Board. (4) The Principal of a recognized school shall, before registering a child as a student at that school provide the parents of such child, with a copy of the Code of Behaviour in respect of the school and may, as a condition of so registering such child, require his or her parents to confirm in writing that the Code of Behaviour so provided, is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child. (5) The Principal of a recognized school, shall on a request being made by a student registered at the school or a parent of such a student, provide the student or parent, as the case may be, with a copy of the Code of Behaviour in respect of the school concerned.
CONCLUSION I have highlighted the above case to put an emphasis on the importance of due process and fair procedures in relation to the imposition of sanctions and in particular, suspensions. The fact that I had to use a Northern Ireland Case illustrates the fact that there is a dearth of case law in this jurisdiction. The last major case in the Primary Sector was that of Murtagh V BOM of St Emer's NS 1991 High Court & Supreme Court. In that case, the parents of a pupil challenged the right of a Board of Management to hand down a 3 day suspension. Both courts were satisfied that the school in question was entitled to enforce discipline in the manner in which it did. Significantly the courts were satisfied that due process and fairness of procedures were adhered to.
OPINION Principals and Remuneration While remuneration is not always a priority for Principals, at times of confusion and frustration, it can become a real issue. The situation in Special Schools is particularly significant. For many years, Principals have struggled with the multiplicity of differing professions who are employed in these schools. Think of it, full time teachers, part time teachers, care staff, SNAs (when there were no SNAs in mainstream schools), psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, nurses, secretaries, caretakers, bus escorts etc. all to be managed. This entails at the simplest level, time tabling, monitoring, finding space and providing and maintaining materials. In the more complicated sense, it means marrying many professions so that each profession contributes to the best possible level for the good of the children. Now this is by no means simple. We all have our weak points. We all need to be nurtured and we all need to feel that we are a vital cog in the developmental wheel. This onerous task falls to the Principal. Let me outline some of the situations which can arise. Managing class teachers is the simplest part of the duties. They know what they should be doing and are 'tied' to the classroom. For the part-time teachers, it is necessary to negotiate their time tables with the class teachers and to ensure that a space is available for each one. With the SNAs, some will be assigned to one classroom, some may not be so assigned. It falls to the Principal to train and give school specific in-service, to include them in decisions about school life, to ally the different SNAs to teachers
Publishing Early Panels Last year, because the Panels did not clear, many Principals, in the Dublin and Cork Diocese for example, found themselves facing into the beginning of the school year without new staff in place. This meant a very messy start to the new term. It also meant that interview commitments prevented some Principals from getting away for a holiday and much needed rest in August. The Dept of Education know NOW exactly what jobs will be suppressed in
so that the relationship is good for the children, at the same time making sure that a pattern which is concreted does not set in. For other professions, much arranging has to be carried out so that the most needy children get the optimum services. This requires frequent meetings and negotiations as at times need is judged differently. It often requires diplomacy of a high level to maintain good relations and prevent misunderstandings and recriminations.
www.textaparent.ie Would you like to be able to send a brief message to the parent in your school at short notice? Unpredictable events e.g. enforced school closure no heating etc Last minute timetable change e.g. cancellation of sports day
As well as these internal issues, there is the issue of parents to consider. It will be clear that parents of children with special needs require more intense services than mainstream parents.
Timetable change e.g. a reminder of early closing for staff meeting
All this costs the Principal time, talent and temerity. Neither the skills, stress or strategies are acknowledged as the management of the school is estimated on the permanent full time teaching staff only, excluding specialist staff. The other staff can be up to five times in number - for example my own situation is that I have 10 recognised teachers but 44 staff in total and this indeed is not the worst case scenario.
For large schools – reminding staff about a particular event.
It has always been a contention of Special Schools that because they are in a minority, the specific issues which arise are not of consequence to either Unions or Authorities. Is it not time that the above situation was recognised and dealt with as a matter of urgency? Maighread Ni Ghallchobhair, O.P. Benincasa Special School, Blackrock
the Summer. Given that information from the Dept., can each Diocese not publish the Panels a lot earlier and so leave a situation where new staff for September can be interviewed and appointed in June? If all Principals were to make it known through IPPN that they are unwilling to sit on interview panels during the months of July and August it might help concentrate minds. Your thoughts?? Brendan Mc Cabe, Kells, Co. Meath
Happy announcement e.g. victory in sports final
How can I use textaparent to send messages to the parents in our school? Arrange for the collection of the parents’ mobile telephone numbers Log on to www.textaparent.ie Register your contact details Send cheque to IPPN to purchase "credit" for the cost of the text messages When your cheque is received, a text message will be sent to you informing that your account has been set up and is ready for use Follow the on-screen instructions which enables you to type your short message & specify the mobile telephone numbers to which the message will be sent
“School is a place where young people go to watch old people work.” Jim Collins, Good to Great
Primary Education Management Manual An essential resource for every Principal, the Primary Education Management Manual, published by Thompson Roundhall, is written by leading experts and practicing Principals and edited by IPPN’s legal advisor, Principal & Barrister, Mr. David Ruddy. The manual is a unique resource bringing together all the essential Legislation, DES Circulars, Policies and initiatives in a single publication and is available in loose leaf binder and/or CD. In order to make it user friendly it is cross referenced and fully indexed facilitating easy access to information on any chosen topic. Because of ongoing legislative and policy changes, the manual is in loose-leaf format enabling an annual update with replacement pages. In the current climate of constant educational change, IPPN strongly recommend that every Principal/Deputy Principal has a copy of this manual.
Exhibitors and Advertisers at IPPN Conference 2006 – CityWest February 2nd to 4th We thank the businesses listed hereunder for their support in staging our Annual Conference. We ask that you give these businesses an opportunity to tender for your custom when buying the relevant goods and services in future.
ABC School Supply Centre AGC Sales & Distribution (Maxamec) All Play Agencies Allianz Azzurri Cable & Wireless Celuplast Ltd. CI Structures Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd Forfás - Discover Primary Science Drake Educational Associates Findel Education Folens Publishers Foras na Gaeilge Forbes Furniture Gaelscoileanna Teo G Morgan & Sons Ltd Gael Linn Headstart Ireland Ltd. T/A Futurekids Ireland HP Irish Business Systems Ltd. Ilkem Real Estate Images Ltd Jaggo Ltd Léargas Learning Horizons Lets Go Summer Schools MadForTrad Ltd NEWB O'Brien Press Outside the Box Learning Resources Polyflor Prim-Ed Publishing Ireland Profexcel Scholastic Irl. Screen Flex Ltd Shaw Scientific Sigma Telecom Sing with Mike Project Singing Made Easy Solfá Learning SOS Group The Educational Company Toomey Audio Visual Unique Diary Productions VHI Wexford Book Festival PAGE 12
Helping to strengthen IPPN Please consider your own schools expenditure on various goods and services. Which companies benefit commercially from your custom? Is it a case that some of your current suppliers operate on a regional or national basis? On seeing this issue of Leadership+ they may well consider it an advantage to advertise with IPPN thus benefiting from the competitive advertising rates and the exceptional level of National coverage this publication provides them with to the decision makers in schools. Anyone wishing to enquire about advertising or exhibiting at IPPN conference should email email@example.com
www.textasub.ie The fastest way to find a substitute teacher for your school. Simply log on and upload the contact details of the school, the nature of the vacant class and the minimum duration for which the sub is required. This information is then automatically sent by text message to all substitute teachers who have registered their mobile phone numbers with www.textasub.ie Hundreds of teachers, in all counties, registered to receive textasub notifications Only the substitute teachers that are available will receive your text message. The Principal / DP can offer a school, home or mobile number to receive a call from subs The Principal / DP then chooses from the most suitably experienced / qualified teachers that reply. This service is totally free!
Employing Ancillary Staff A step-by-step guide to the recruitment of Special Needs Assistants was outlined in the issue 26 of Leadership Plus. Much of the process can be replicated in the requirements for the employment of Caretakers/Secretaries. An increasing number of schools are employing Ancillary staff as the daily workload steadily mounts. This is happening despite the fact that the Ancillary grants from the DES are totally inadequate to cover all the costs. An increasing number of schools are resorting to fundraising to enable them to retain the services of ancillary personnel so vital to the efficient management of the modern day school. Organising the recruitment of such personnel invariably falls upon the shoulders of the Principal, working with the Chairperson and the Board of Management. A brief outline of the recruitment process is detailed below:
Pre-Advertising When the school authorities are satisfied that the creation of the ancillary post is necessary for the smooth running of the school, a number of immediate issues need to be addressed as follows: Finance: Is the school BOM in a financial position to afford such an appointment? It is up to the BOM to determine the rate of pay and method of payment. Full time SNAs are paid directly by the DES but caretakers and secretaries are paid by the BOM from the Ancillary Services grant provided by the DES. Status and Position: Will the post to be full-time post or part-time post? Will the payments be made on an hourly basis? In the case of a school cleaner the BOM may decide to make the appointment on a contract basis. Will the post be of a permanent or a temporary nature? What is the job description?
Advertising and Interviewing The post should be advertised in a local paper or notice board with the name of the school, a brief description of the requirements of the post and a closing date for applications. An interview board should be selected and ideally should meet before the interview process to shortlist the candidates and set the criteria for the interview. Included in the invitation to interview should be details of appropriate duties, conditions of employment and any other information relating to the post. It is advisable to hold a formal interview for all positions.
Sample advertisement for a School Secretary could read as follows: No Name National School Ballyhenry Roll No 6666 Requires a full time (part time) secretary for Sept 1st Must be computer literate. Previous experience an asset. Apply in writing to the Chairperson BOM, No Name NS Ballyhenry before 29th July The greatest weighting in the interview process should be given to experience and skills. Sample Report Template to the Board of Management Interviews took place on 1.
for the position of , 2.
candidates were interviewed.
. The interviewers were & 3.
failed to turn up for interview.
indicated that they would not attend. The Interview Board recommends Signed:
for the position beginning
Chairperson, Interview Board
A Sample Template Contract for Caretaker/Secretary I ________ P Ahave G Ediscussed 1 2 and understand the conditions, duties and responsibilities of The position as caretaker as assigned to me. I am willing to carry out these duties. Signed: _________________ Employee Signed: _________ Chairperson Signed: ___________ Principal Date: _________ Terms of Employment 1. The position of caretaker is initially for one year. 2. Following this probationary year, the post will become permanent if the Board of Management is satisfied with the performance of the Caretaker. 3. The Caretaker shall work under the direction of the Principal, subject to the authority of the Board of Management. 4. The Caretaker shall work a __hour week, the hours to be determined by the Board of Management, (or the position of the Caretaker is part time post, subject to review - name the number of hours) 5. Annual leave is _ days in addition to National holidays but not Church Holydays. This leave will be taken when the school in not in operation. Duties 1. Opening and closing the school premises. 2. General cleaning and upkeep of the school - this includes ................................. etc. 3. Maintenance of the grounds - this includes............... 4. Ordering and monitoring the use of cleaning materials. 5. Meeting with representative of maintenance companies such as plumbers, electricians etc. 6. Ensuring that the school environment is safe for the school population -furnitur^, chemicals etc. Safely stored. 7. This list does not preclude other duties to be determined by the Board of Management as appropriate. 8. Duties will be performed in accordance with daily instructions. Sick Leave No sick pay will be allowed during the first three months employment. Subsequently full pay may be allowed during sick leave up to the following limits: • After three months continuous service, sick pay at full rate for up to nine weeks in any period of twelve month's service. • After six month's continuous service, sick pay at full rate for up to nine weeks in any period of twelve months service. • After twelve month's continuous service, sick pay at full rate up to thirteen weeks in any period of twelve month's service. Medical certificates must be furnished to the Board of Management in all cases of continuous absence by the third day of absence at the latest. As a general rule, sick leave will not be allowed for a longer period than one week on any one certificate. When sick leave extends from Friday to Monday inclusive a medical certificate must be furnished. The granting of sick leave will be subject to the following conditions in particular: • That the absence is properly certified • That there is no evidence of permanent disability for service Once sick pay has ceased owing to the expiration of the maximum limit, it cannot be restored during the same absence. Unpaid sick leave does not count as service qualifying for further paid sick leave. Uncertified Sick Leave Sick leave for single day or two-day absences, not exceeding seven days in any period of twelve months, may be granted without a medical certificate. However, should the number of days absent without medical certificate in any period of twelve months, reckoning backwards from the date of the last absence, exceed seven days in the aggregate, any subsequent absence must be certified until the balance is restored. Payment during sick leave will be full salary provided that the following is adhered to: If a caretaker is absent on sick leave for more than three consecutive days, they must immediately complete a form of Disability Benefit (available from a G.P.) This should be forwarded to the Principal, who then forwards it to the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.
The claim must be submitted to reach the DSCF-A within seven days of the start of the illness; hence there is an urgency to submit the claim form to ensure continued payment of their full salary. PAGE 13
Eight Signs of Leadership Potential This piece is adapted from an article written by Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express. The most gifted athletes rarely make good coaches. The best violinist will not necessarily make the best conductor. Nor will the best teacher necessarily make the best Head of Department. So it is critical to distinguish between the skill of performance and the skill of leading the performance, which are two entirely different skills. It is also important to determine whether a person is capable of learning leadership. The natural leader will stand out. The trick is to identify those who are capable of learning leadership over time. Here are several traits to help identify whether someone is capable of learning to lead. 1. Do I see a constructive spirit of discontent? Some people would call this criticism, but there's a big difference in being constructively discontent and being critical. If somebody says, "There's got to be a better way to do this," I see if there's leadership potential by asking, "Have you ever thought about what that better way might be?" If they says no, they are being critical, not constructive. But if they say yes, they’re challenged by a constructive spirit of discontent. That's the itch which is always in the leader. People locked in the status quo are not leaders. I ask of a potential leader, does this person believe there is always a better way to do something? 2. Do they offer practical ideas? Highly original people are often not good leaders because they are unable to judge their output. They need somebody else to say, "This will work" or "This won't." Not
everybody with practical ideas is a leader, of course, but leaders seem to be able to identify which ideas are practical and which are not.
3. Is anybody listening? Potential leaders have a "holding court" quality about them. When they speak, people listen. Other people may talk a great deal, but nobody listens to them. They are making a speech, not giving leadership. I take notice of people to whom others listen.
4. Does anyone respect them? Peer respect doesn't reveal ability, but it can show character and personality. Trammell Crow, one of the world's most successful real estate brokers, said that he looks for people whose associates want them to succeed. He said, "It's tough enough to succeed when everybody wants you to succeed. People who don't want you to succeed are like weights in your running shoes." It isn't important that people like you. It's important that they respect you. They may like you but not follow you. If they respect you, they'll follow you, even if perhaps they don't like you. A good indicator of leadership potential is past experience. Has the person demonstrated leader skills in some area outside the setting in which you usually see them? But suppose someone you're considering for a leadership position doesn't have a track record? How can you spot potential in an emerging leader? Here are four more questions I ask myself when assessing future leaders. You may also wish to ask these questions of people who know the potential leader well in a variety of settings. 5. Can they create or catch vision? When I talk to
people about the future, I want their eyes to light up. I want them to ask the right questions about what I'm talking about. A person who doesn't feel the thrill of challenge is not a potential leader.
6. Do they show a willingness to take responsibility? Some people equate responsibility and worry. They want to be able to drop their responsibility when they walk out the door and not carry it home. That is understandable, but it is not a trait of potential leaders. Carrying responsibility does not intimidate the leader, because the joy of accomplishment, the feeling of contributing to other people, is what leadership is all about. 7. Do they finish the job? A completion factor is essential. The person who grabs hold of a problem and won't let go, like a dog with a bone, has leadership potential. This quality is critical in leaders, for there will be times when nothing but one's iron will says, "Keep going." With potential leaders, when their work comes in it is always complete. The half- cooked meal is not good enough.
8. Are they tough-minded? No one can lead without being criticized or without facing discouragement. A potential leader needs a mental toughness. I don't want a mean leader. I want a tough-minded leader, who sees things as they are, and will pay the price. Leadership creates a certain separation from one's peers. The separation comes from carrying responsibility that only you can carry.
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Going to the IPPN Conference? Then why not sign up there. Simply meet us at the Sigma Telecom stand with the following identification and you will become a Mobile+ customer on site: • A copy of your passport or drivers license • Proof of address (utility Bill) • Utility Bill in the schools name
View the Website: www.primaryscience.ie for your ideal SESE Science Curriculum resource. Find Activities, registered Teachers Area, Awards of Science Excellence, and online science questions answered by Molly Cool and her friend Spidey plus much, much more!
Expressions of Interest taken NOW Expressions of interest taken now for 2006-2007 Discover Primary Science Programme: Full registration later in the year.
Discover Logs Discover logs are currently being compiled by participating schools with every science activity and exploration that they undertake.
Applications for Awards Applications for Awards of Science Excellence will be sought 1st â€“ 15th May 2006 for registered schools as well as those wishing to retain their previously attained awards.