Written answers

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Department of Education and Skills

School Staffing

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry South, Fine Gael)
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162. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will review the difficulties caused by the changes to teaching structures in schools affecting assistant teaching positions; her views on these changes limiting principals' freedom to delegate, stifling promotion opportunities and making it more difficult to find suitable candidates for principal or deputy principal positions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44517/14]

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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When the moratorium on the filling of posts of responsibility was introduced in 2009, the Government exempted Principal and Deputy Principal posts in all primary and post-primary schools. These posts continue to be replaced in the normal manner. The impact of the moratorium was therefore limited to the Assistant Principal and Special Duties posts of responsibility.

The alleviation arrangements are set out in Circular 0004/2014 which provide a floor by which schools acutely affected at AP level by the impact of the moratorium can fill their AP vacancies as they arise to the level of the thresholds set out in that circular. It continues to be a matter for each individual school authority to re-organise and prioritise the appropriate duties for post of responsibility holders in the context of implementing the moratorium.

School leaders have a key role to play in determining the shape of our schools and student outcomes. Leading on curricular change and change management are key challenges for every school leader. The challenge for schools and the Department is therefore to build a leadership partnership that is fit for 21st century Ireland and school context.

Economic constraints and the moratorium on recruitment, albeit alleviated to some extent for schools, have presented challenges within the education sector. They also provide an opportunity to review the role of the principal so that our principals are leaders of learning, and to reconfigure the middle management structure to support principals in their role, ensuring ownership of responsibility rather than tasks, thereby building expertise and supporting a career path within the profession.

The Department, in consultation with the representative bodies, the IPPN and NAPD has commenced an exploration of the opportunities to support and thereby advance our understanding of the needs of school leaders and how they might be addressed.


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