29th November 2017 - An Update on the Progress of the Centre for School Leadership (CSL)


There are now 400 (300 primary and 100 post-primary) fully trained CSL mentors in various parts of Ireland and a further 118 principals are currently training on the CSL programme. Last year, there were 138 mentoring relationships formed. The 93 at primary level were confined to the Leinster area and there were 45 post-primary mentoring relationships countrywide. Currently, there are 52 post-primary mentoring relationships organised and 191 primary mentoring relationships, as access to a CSL mentor is now available to newly appointed primary principals all over Ireland.



Principals who have completed their first year accessing the formal CSL mentoring service have since moved into a group mentoring support for the second year of their principalship. This service is being provided by IPPN and NAPD, and currently, there are 14 primary group mentoring groups in the Leinster area and …… post-primary mentoring groups countrywide. Group mentoring will be available to all principals on the second year of their role form September 2018.



Fitzpatrick’s Consultants have been employed by the Department of Education and Skills to conduct an evaluation on the pilot phase of CSL. In their interim report, they have stated that mentees reported high levels of satisfaction with the programme. Some 98% of new principals stated that it was critical for their professional learning and that the most highly rated aspect of the mentoring relationship was the trustworthiness of the mentor.


The coaching service was launched at the end of January 2017 and over 320 principals have engaged in the service to date. Currently, 67% of those accessing the service are in primary schools, with 33% in post-primary schools. In addition, 67% of these principals are female and 33% are male.  Informal feedback to the CSL team suggests that principals are finding the service extremely helpful and some have described it as one of the most effective and most appreciated services ever provided for principals by the Department of Education and Skills. The main issues arising at the coaching sessions are stress and home/work balance, dealing with staff issues and building relationships and time management.  In recent weeks, Fitzpatrick’s Consultants have anonymously surveyed those accessing the coaching service about their experiences and we look forward to the publication of those results in 2018.

PDSL –Aspiring Leaders’ Programme

In September, the new PDSL was launched and 240 teachers from all over the country have embarked on this programme which is run in six locations around the country. This is a part-time programme involving blended learning which takes place over 18 months and incorporates a small element of work experience. Initial reactions to the programme are very positive and it is hoped that a further 240 places will be advertised in February for the next academic year. Details will be on our website in the New Year.


Part of the work of Fitzpatrick’s consultants was to conduct research into the professional learning needs of principals. This research was conducted over the past few months and in their interim report, post-primary principals identified that developing a collaborative culture with staff, learning about assessment and implementing school self-evaluation were their top three learning needs. Primary principals differed as they stated conflict management and resolution was their main learning need, followed closely by their own well-being and that of their staff members.

Consultation on Quality Assurance and the Continuum of Professional Learning for Teachers/Leaders

In October, CSL produced two consultative documents, “A Professional Learning Continuum for School Leadership in the Irish Context” and “CSL Quality Assurance Pilot Process for Professional Learning in School Leadership”. These are available on the CSL website at www.cslireland.ie. The CSL team met with management and trust bodies, third level institutions, professional bodies, teacher unions and members of the support services in the DES, Marlborough St. on October 9th last. All those present at this Consultative Forum have been invited to respond to both documents by written submission. At the time of writing, these responses are still in the process of being submitted to CSL. The team will spend a considerable amount of time in 2018 developing a quality assurance process for professional learning in the area of leadership. This in turn, will identify the gaps in that learning along the continuum of a teacher’s career. The continuum focuses on each career stage from teacher leadership, through middle leadership, induction, established leadership and system leadership. It proposes each stage as having potential for an end point as well as a step to the next stage of leadership.

The feedback on both the proposed continuum and quality assurance process will be available in the New Year.

The CSL team would like to wish all principals and deputy principals a very enjoyable run up to the Christmas holidays, and a very happy and relaxing Christmas break. We look forward to working with you in 2018.

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