The Department of Health used to be the place to dump a minister. It was once described as 'Angola' - a place where only problems emerged and never solutions. Now that title seems to have been transferred to education, and last week we had another example of how not to do things.
The new minister, Norma Foley, spoke in the Dail last Thursday. There wasn't a mention of the Leaving Cert but that evening came an announcement that the results would not be available until September.
Last Friday, the minister said she did not give the news in the Dail as she wanted to inform the "education partners first". That obviously does not include school principals, parents or the students themselves.
Those students, who have been kicked around from pillar to post, had given their email addresses to the department about seven weeks ago. Why could the department not have banged out an email to all of them, outlining the changes? And one to the schools too.
We principals have got used to getting drip-fed information from education correspondents in newspapers or from RTE. A little bit of courtesy would go a long way.
A minister who has come straight from the classroom has no understanding of the complexities of management. Why would they? It's not their job. But it is disappointing that Foley appears to be just reacting rather than directing.
She needs to learn quickly that the officials in the various bodies associated with education - not just the department itself - work for her, not the other way round. And when she has nothing to say, then say nothing. An interview in this newspaper last Sunday was very ill-advised.
I can never understand why CAO offers cannot come out on the same day as the Leaving Cert results. A student should get them together. One body argues it's not their business to liaise with another. It is up to the minister just to say: "Get it done."
It's only a piece of software which is needed and the CAO has the results well before the students get them.
It would mean less stress and anxiety for students and parents as they wait those extra days to see if they have their preferred college place. With results running into September, the importance of getting on with the process is of greater significance. Getting accommodation in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway or some other town becomes critical.
The only advice I would offer the minister is that all results in September should go straight to students. The last thing principals and teachers need while we're trying to get up and running for a new year is to have disgruntled students and parents wandering around with an axe to grind.
With disappointments in the past, at least we could all blame some outside body. Now it is all too close to home and students and parents will direct their fire at teachers in their own schools. That is as sure as night follows day.
Of course there is a pastoral and advice role which schools carry out at this time, but that can wait until the dust settles.
A lecturer in engineering long ago always finished up by saying "and flat roofs leak".
My finish from now on will be "we should have had the Leaving".
Since it was cancelled, we have lurched from one mess to another - and it's not over yet.
Not by a long way.
Colm O'Rourke is principal of St Patrick's Classical School in Navan, Co Meath