030. No more Teaching Principals

How anyone can now do the job of a Teaching Principal, given the changes in the job over the last decade, is beyond me. The job has changed beyond recognition. Not only does a Teaching Principal have to do a full time teaching job, they also have to take on the relentless extra work of administration. This administration work has increased beyond recognition in recent years and it is actually impossible to do both parts of the job effectively in a working week. To add insult to injury, they get paid less than principals in bigger schools!

I propose that we no longer have Teaching Principals at all. 

All the talk of one administrative day per week, to me, is nonsense. When I was a Teaching Principal, my administrative days were taken up by all sorts of non-administrative things. t wasn’t enough time to do any of the work that is needed and I ended up gaining very little from the small amount of days.

However, it is unrealistic to have a full-time administrative principal in small schools so what do we do? I don’t have the answer to this question but we have to look at some ideas and see whether they would work. Every single one of these suggestions will likely be met with opposition, but there has to be a realistic solution. Before I go on, all these ideas come with the assumption that there will no longer be such a job as a Teaching Principal.

Idea 30(a). Amalgamate all small schools and have an administrative principal in the one school

This is the most obvious solution but the one where people most like will accuse me of ripping the heart out of rural Ireland and claim that schools are the centres of tiny communities. However, are these simply emotive arguments or could we see bigger and more thriving communities as a result?

Idea 30(b). Have one administrative principal between a number of small schools.

This is an idea that has been touted by the IPPN. Again, arguments against it are there – such as the need for a principal to be on site at all times or the assumption of local knowledge, and so on. 

Idea 30(c). Small schools to share a full-time administrator/secretary

Rather than having 3 or 4 part-time secretaries, there would be one full-time secretary that could fulfil the administrative work of a few schools. Again, the same arguments as above will occur.

Idea 30(d). Teaching Principals to only teach and hire part time administrators to do everything else

Realistically, I’m not sure this is even a starter. This is already what is supposed to be happening in many ways, but it isn’t.

Do you have any other ideas, which are realistic?

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