Sustainable Leadership

Sustainable Leadership Project Update - June 2023

Current Reality webThe importance of school leadership as an influence on and key determinant of pupil learning has been clearly established. The equation is simple – effective school leadership leads to school effectiveness which, in turn, leads to better outcomes for children. It is, therefore, a priority that school leaders should be empowered and supported to deliver that effective leadership in our schools, thereby maintaining their focus on what is most closely aligned with their core purpose – leading teaching and learning.

IPPN published a research-based report on Sustainable Leadership in November 2022, entitled Primary School Leadership: The Case for Urgent Action – A Roadmap to Sustainable Leadership. This report explores the context and current reality in which school leadership is practised and experienced in Irish primary schools. We mapped and charted the expansion of the role by detailing the tasks and responsibilities that are ascribed to school leaders within Department circulars, policy guidelines and relevant education legislation. We then cross referenced those tasks and responsibilities within the quality framework for leadership and management, as detailed in the Looking at our Schools (2016) policy document. We identified which of the four domains of that quality framework into which each of the tasks and responsibilities falls.

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Phase 2 of Irish Principal & Deputy Principal Health & Wellbeing research


Phase 2 of the Irish Principal and Deputy Principal Health and Wellbeing research will take place from 20 February to 7 April, 2023. This research is being conducted in response to concerns that the increasing complexity and workload demands of school leadership roles is impacting on the health and wellbeing of Irish school leaders.

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Primary School Leadership: The Case for Urgent Action - A Roadmap to Sustainability

CoverWe are delighted to share with you a copy of IPPN’s research publication Primary School Leadership: The Case for Urgent Action - A Roadmap to Sustainability. This report is the culmination of over two years of research and consultation exploring the current reality and sustainability of primary leadership and six related themes:

  1. Effective School Leadership & Core Purpose
  2. Preparation for Leadership
  3. Recruitment
  4. Time and Space to Lead
  5. Sharing and Supporting Leadership
  6. Governance.

Each of these chapters sets out recommendations - or a roadmap to sustainability - for that aspect of school leadership.

In formulating this report, IPPN has consulted with thousands of members, with the IPPN Board of Directors and with ‘critical friends’ of IPPN who are deeply committed to, and working in, the Irish primary education sector. We sincerely thank those members who provided input to the Deakin University research commissioned by IPPN and NAPD on the health and wellbeing of school leaders, and to the IPPN consultation survey on the sustainability of your leadership role. Thanks also to the hundreds of members who participated in focus groups, which looked at each of the themes in detail; these discussions were invaluable in ensuring that the ‘current reality’ captured all the key issues, and in surfacing potential solutions to be considered in respect of the recommendations.

The report was launched this afternoon at the IPPN Annual Principals’ Conference in Killarney. Minister Foley and her officials have also received a copy of the report and we expect the Minister to comment on it during her input tomorrow morning.

We will be working with the Secretary General, the Minister and their officials, as well as our fellow education partners to progress the recommendations contained in the report in the coming months, and will keep members informed of progress.

We would encourage you to share this report with your management team and your Board of Management.

Click here to access the report

Sustainable Leadership and Deakin Research project updates in Leadership+

IPPN President Brian O'Doherty is leading our Sustainable Leadership project and has provided regular updates in Leadership+ on its progress, as follows:

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Issue 126 (February 2023) - A Roadmap to Sustainability - Next Steps

Issue 125 (December 2022) - Sustainable Leadership: The Case for Urgent Action

Issue 121 (February 2022) - IPPN/Deakin University School Leaders' Health and Wellbeing Research Project

Issue 118 (May/June 2021)  - Overview of the project and its aims




IPPN & NAPD Research Project Launch

IPPN Sponsors