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IPPN Irish Primary Principals' Network, the professional body for Irish primary school leaders

Teaching Principals - workload issues

In 2004, IPPN conducted an extensive national survey of principals regarding their workload and how it impacts on their school community and on them. The results were presented to the DES and management bodies in 2005. That same year, IPPN conducted research on the role of the Teaching Principal in conjunction with St Patrick’s College and the resulting report – New Horizons for Smaller Schools and Teaching Principals in Ireland – has been used extensively in discussions with all education partners since. It is clear the situation is not improving. In fact, we are growing increasingly concerned for the health and welfare of our members’ for several reasons, not least of which is the simultaneous pull on your time as principals from several directions.  

We believe that the additional challenge faced by Teaching Principals in the context of growing workload, places two out of every three principals in an unhealthy workplace. We are not aware of any other role that has such a concentrated set of leadership and management responsibilities - many of which are on a statutory footing, resting on a single individual, where this individual is also full-time engaged in another role – that of classroom teacher.

IPPN lobbied hard for Teaching Principals to have the option of taking on the Learning Support/Resource Teaching role in their school. In 2008, we prepared a position paper on this issue. Finally in 2011, the DES agreed to our repeated plea to afford this flexibility to Teaching Principals. In 2008, IPPN also submitted an argument to the 2nd Benchmarking Body to have the role of Teaching Principal properly remunerated by means of a separate salary scale for principals. Remarkably, the Teaching Principal was the only role in the entire education sector to be awarded a salary increase. Unfortunately, this coincided with the economic downturn which meant the award was never paid. Our submission to the Benchmarking Body is linked below.

Stakeholders may have a legitimate reason to communicate with you - teachers, children, parents, board of management, parent association, inspectors, Teaching Council, PDST, NEWB, NCSE, HSE… the list goes on and is ever-growing. The sheer volume of communication principals have to handle, in many cases without adequate administrative support, is enormous. Furthermore, as the media-driven political demand for further accountability from schools continues, it is likely this increase in demand for information will continue unabated. Addressing the role of principal and the associated workload remains IPPN’s priority. IPPN persistently lobbies on these two issues on behalf of principals, with due emphasis on the dual role expected of Teaching Principals.

Click here to view New Horizons for Smaller Schools & Teaching Principalship in Ireland
Click here to view Investing in School Leadership (Submission to Benchmarking Body)

Click here to view Submission on Principals' Workload (2005)

Is sinne le meas

Seán Cottrell & Gerry Murphy

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 10:04

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