It's oh so quiet..New draft document on Inspectorate handing probation to Principals


I got an email today from the Teaching Council and I almost deleted it straightaway! I was glad I didn’t. Last year at the Irish Primary Principals Conference, Harold Hislop played panto bad guy with the principals. He told us that we would probate newly qualified teachers. We told him we wouldn’t. He told us we would…it just went on and on.

A year has past and all was quiet. Then, the Teaching Council slip this new draft document about teacher induction into our emails. Just in time for the Irish Primary Principals Network Conference 2012 next week! Coincidence? I think not.


Here’s the brief.

“The Career Entry Professional Programme (CEPP) is a new programme which has been designed by the Teaching Council as being appropriate for a newly qualified teacher wishing to be fully registered. It is proposed that the CEPP will replace the current arrangements for the induction of newly qualified teachers and their probation for registration purposes.


“A consultation document has now been published setting out the key elements of the proposed CEPP, the proposed timeframe for completion of the programme, the key phases in the programme and the roles of the various stakeholders including newly qualified teacher, mentor, school principal, the Inspectorate, the National Induction Programme for Teachers and the Teaching Council. ”

Worth reading

So, another acronym for us.CEPP, it sounds very harsh, doesn’t it? I’ve briefly scanned through the document. It deserves further, careful reading. It is a huge document outlining the phased approach to handing over the “dipping”( or the awarding of recognition of teacher status to a newly qualified teacher or NQT) of NQTs from the inspector to the principal and a mentor. The roles are clearly outlined from exactly what the mentor will be expected to do to how the principal will sanction the new teacher. By 2016, the inspectorate will be responsible for 10% random checks of NQTs and in situations where there is a dispute between NQT and principal. Oh, dear. That is odd as there were never any disputes when an inspector probated a NQT, the inspector said yay or nay. But, usually, yay.

New ways of thinking

There are good points in this new way of thinking and leading. A principal will be able to fulfil their core function of being the leader of learning and the school. It’s a slow, phased approach with huge emphasis on training for principal, NQT and mentor. The CAPP program is not just about 1.5 days of their year, which is what the old system of the inspectorate focussed on. Instead, they build up a portfolio, receive qualifications, begin a mentoring relationship and receive feedback from their own leader within their own school context. This all behind right back in teacher training college where the portfolio is begun. This also starts to show exactly what the Teaching Council is for and where our fee goes to.

Massive mind shift

The downsides are there too-this is huge mind set shift for all parties. The mentor is required to do a massive amount of work. Principals may not be ready for this. I don’t know how teaching principals will be able to do this effectively without extra days being given, though this hasn’t been mentioned.


I recommend you take a read and let it sink in. We’ve got 5 years after all. That’s good change management! You can send your feedback to them after reading it here.


Wonder what news Ruarai Quinn will have for us next week?


3 thoughts on “It's oh so quiet..New draft document on Inspectorate handing probation to Principals”

  1. This management change are quite interesting. It’s like diverting to a new environment and leaving the old rules and teaching application behind and move forward with something more advance and technical rules of management.

  2. Speaking as someone recently qualified, I would have loved it. The opportunity for structured mentoring from the school would be invaluable because from my experience the visiting inspector doesn’t offer any kind of help but rather just approves/disapproves. Also now inspectors don’t give any notice for either visit (until a few years ago they were required to give at least 3 days notice for the second visit) so the NQT spends the full year waiting for the door to knock. There are some very demanding inspectors out there so this makes the year extremely stressful. I think in school probation would have been such a helpful process in comparison.

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree with you but the issue is the lack of structure right now. I imagine it will get there but it’s not ready yet. There’s a more recent article about this issue, which you might like to read to see where things stand.

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