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School principals 'struggling to cope with workloads'


Clive Byrne, director of the NAPD

Clive Byrne, director of the NAPD

Clive Byrne, director of the NAPD

SCHOOL principals don't get enough training and are struggling to cope with their workload, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

The amount of work involved in running many schools has become too much for one individual to manage – and principals have less support than ever. They no longer have the same level of support from deputy and assistant principals but their workload has grown, the committee heard.

What started as a leadership problem a decade ago has now developed into a full-blown crisis, according to Clive Byrne, director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD).

Early retirements are adding to the problem, with more than two in three second-level principals now having less than five years' experience.

Both the NAPD and the Irish Primary Principals' Network (IPPN) addressed the Oireachtas Education Committee on their concerns about shortcomings in school leadership structures and the need for reform.

IPPN director Sean Cottrell told the committee: "We believe that there is a need to create a leadership strategy, which develops potential and aspiring principals and provides a comprehensive training programme to meet the needs of school leaders throughout their career."

Last night a spokesperson for the Department of Education said local and national policy demands meant there was a need for change in how schools are managed.

She said there had been "significant investment in the provision of leadership training for teachers and principals" and that teachers had responded positively to changes.

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