25th Sept 2014 - Principals call on Department to Loosen Purse Strings

The Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), in its Pre-Budget submission to the Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, has listed a number of recommendations which the Network believe will enable the primary education system to recover from several years of cutbacks and stagnation.

Chief among these recommendations are the following:

  • Radical new emphasis on developing leadership capacity at school level with particular emphasis on coaching and mentoring
  • Provision of a defined professional development budget to support the needs of newly appointed and serving principals
  • Provision of one non-teaching day per week to enable teaching principals carry out their leadership function as well as their role as a full time class teacher
  • Exemption of all primary schools from water charges
  • Restoration of resource hours for Special Needs children’s
  • Lifting of the moratorium on middle management posts
  • Restoration of the Minor Works Grant
  • Increase in the number of Special Needs Assistants to accommodate increased enrolments 
  • Establishment of a national panel of mental health experts
  • Introduction of a ‘step down’ facility for principals who wish to return to class teaching.

IPPN President, Mr Brendan McCabe, at the launch of the submission stated, ‘leadership development is at the core of whole school improvement. An effective school without an effective leader simply does not exist. Our priority, with the assistance of the Department of Education and Skills, is to identify, develop, resource and support aspiring and serving school leaders so that the children of Ireland gain tangible benefits immediately’.

Sean Cottrell, IPPN CEO, added that ’failure to invest in school leadership could prove detrimental to Irish education in the years ahead. Every other country in the OECD has been focusing on school leadership as the key to future success - the research on best practice is clear. Principal teachers must not be loaded with administrative duties’.

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