Principals seek review of working conditions

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The joys of a deputy principal in a small primary school range from chasing mice to unblocking toilets to “cleaning up after lost heifers”, the INTO annual congress has heard.

Daithi Ryder, deputy principal of a two-teacher school, said the workload included checking roll books, dealing with a “rainforest” of mail, organising sacraments, annual Mass, and raffles.

Mr Ryder, from the Headford, Co Galway, branch, recalled how, when he spoke on the same issue at an INTO congress in 1999, it “was reported that I don’t chase mice or unblock toilets”.

“I do now,” he said. “How do I do it all? Look at my hair.”

He was speaking during a motion calling on the Department of Education to initiate a comprehensive review of terms and conditions of employment for principals and deputy principals.

Luke Kilcoyne of the Letterkenny branch said increased demands made of principal teachers “continue to be initiated at a speed akin to the Cú Chulainn rollercoaster on the school tour to Tayto park”.

New curricula, new legislation, new regulations, new circulars and new education ministers have all increased our workload,” he said.

The school leaders want the department to decrease the threshold for appointment of administrative deputy principals, and increase administrative supports for boards of management.

INTO general secretary designate John Boyle had earlier called for restoration of posts of responsibility.

Teachers may be directed not to undertake a list of duties which were “increasingly impossible to carry out because of the lack of promoted posts” if there is no movement in Budget 2020, Mr Boyle warned.

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