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Majority of primary school principals have to teach full-time

The INTO said today teachers have little time for school administration outside of their teaching responsibilities.

Image: Eleanor Keegan/Photocall Ireland

A UNION REPRESENTING teachers has said primary school principals are “at breaking point”.

At the INTO’s 2014 congress, general secretary Sheila Nunan demanded an end to the moratorium on promotion in primary schools so that teachers lost to retirement or job moves can be replaced.

Less than one in four primary schools has an assistant principal post and special duties posts have decreased by 24 per cent.

Nunan said two thirds of primary schools have principals who have full-time teaching responsibility. She called for release time from classroom teaching of one day a week to cope with the workload of school administration.

She said they are being asked to lead school improvement, take on initiatives in literacy and numeracy and tackle bullying.

But there is absolutely no understanding of the lack of support or backup available to principals to lead these duties.

Nunan said recovery for primary education depended on three factors:

  • Investment of key resources;
  • Taking on board the professional concerns of teachers;
  • Active involvement of teachers in policy planning and development.

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“Schools in danger of a continuing decline in numbers need to be identified well in advance of any closure situation. Decisions on this issue must involve local management, teachers, parents and the wider community,” Noonan added.

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