Principals to call for ‘New Approaches’ to the teaching of Irish and PE in Schools

 
 
Principals to call for ‘New Approaches’ to the teaching of Irish and PE in Schools
 
National Strategy for Emotional Wellbeing also mooted
 
One hundred years of failure in achieving fluency in Irish, the importance of Physical Education in supporting positive emotional wellbeing, the place of Religion in schools and the crisis in securing substitute teachers are just some of the issues which will be discussed when 1,100 principal teachers gather in City West next Thursday and Friday, (January 28th/29th) for the annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network. (IPPN) which this year is entitled ‘One Hundred Years of Leadership’
 
The IPPN Conference is one of the biggest gatherings of school leaders in Europe with one third of all primary principals in the 26 counties attending. Education minister Jan O’ Sullivan will address attendees on the Thursday evening, January 28th and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be in attendance the following afternoon.
 
Established in February 2000, IPPN is the professional organisation that represents the professional needs of 6,600 principals and deputy principals nationwide.
 
Gaeilge-100 Years of Failure
The teaching of Irish and the structure of the Gaeilge curriculum continues to ensure that most children leave primary school without fluency in the language.
 
A very recent IPPN survey reveals that seven in every ten primary principals believe that a radical overhaul of the curriculum is required and over half of them believe children leave school having failed to attain the basic curricular objectives.
 
In his address to attendees, Mr Sean Cottrell, CEO of IPPN will outline his suggestions relating to a new strategy for the teaching of Irish in schools. He will propose that the curriculum be divided into 2 components-conversational Irish and academic Irish with primary schools focusing on the nurturing of fluency and second level schools presenting Irish as an optional academic subject.
 
Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
Three in every four principals in Ireland do not feel sufficiently trained to identify mental health issues in children, which according to recent IPPN survey statistics, result mainly from family issues, neglect, depression and mental health factors. Principals themselves are suffering from stress directly related to work overload and isolation.
 
IPPN will propose an Emotional Wellbeing Strategy for schools that will place wellbeing at the heart of school communities and which can subsequently be developed into a National Plan for Wellbeing in Schools.
 
Physical Education in Schools
The time available for Physical Education in schools is closely linked to emotional wellbeing. A staggering 92% of principal teachers believe that the time allocated to this area of the curriculum should be increased.
 
IPPN will propose the development of ’physical literacy’ where schools are enabled to focus on the holistic development of the child and will also call for a doubling of the time allocated to the teaching of PE in primary schools.
 
Moratorium on new School Initiatives
IPPN President, Maria Doyle, will call for the pause button to be pressed on the current rate and pace of new initiatives being foisted on schools that have been stripped of middle-management structures since 2009. This vacuum has led to half of school principals indicating that they would step down from the role if proper seniority structures were put in place.
 
Religion in Schools
The recent announcement of a proposed new religion programme for schools by Minister O’ Sullivan and her subsequent announcement of the repeal of a rule relating to the primacy of religious instruction in schools has struck a chord with principals with 8 out of every 10 indicating that they would favour a reduction in the time allocated to religious instruction in schools.
 
Crisis in Securing Substitute Teachers
The acute shortage in finding trained substitute teachers has seen almost 9 out of 10 schools experiencing difficulty in securing a substitute teacher at short notice in this school year. This has led to some schools having no choice but to hire graduates or retired teachers, a practice the Department itself frowns upon.
 
 
Reducing Pupil-Teacher Ratio to 20:1
The Labour Party’s election promise to reduce average class size to 20:1 over the lifetime of the next government will also come under the microscope particularly in relation to the other areas in education that will inevitably lose funding if this objective is to be realised.
 
Education Expo
The IPPN Conference also boasts the largest Education Expo in Ireland with over 125 companies displaying their resources at a one stop shop for school leaders.
 
 
Notes to Editor:
 
?Established in February 2000, IPPN is the professional organisation that represents the professional needs of 6,600 primary principals and deputy principals nationwide.
?IPPN Annual Principal Conference also boasts the largest Education Expo in Ireland with over 125 companies displaying their resources, making it a one stop shop for school leaders.
 

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