VIDEO - Teachers Conference: Calls for action on top jobs ban

The ban on promotion in primary schools should be lifted immediately, according to delegates at the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) annual congress.

VIDEO - Teachers Conference: Calls for action on top jobs ban

Teachers called for the restoration of posts with special responsibilities and said the moratorium is having a “serious impact” on the functionality of schools.

Currently, no special duties posts and only a limited amount of assistant principal posts may be filled in schools.

Joe Lyons, a delegate from Limerick, said teachers have been inundated with an ever-growing list of initiatives in recent years.

Without special duties posts, these extra responsibilities such as healthy eating, active schools, relationship and sexuality education, internet safety and anti-bullying, inevitably fall on the shoulders of school principals.

“Increasingly, schools are expected to take the place of the home in teaching children values and life skills.

“Yet, as responsibility grows, and pressure to take on extra responsibility increases, principals have less support and fewer resources.”

Brendan Horan, a member of the INTO Executive and a teaching principal in Cahir, Co Tipperary, said increasing paperwork is also an issue, and one that leaves principals isolated.

Cork woman Emma Dineen, who was yesterday appointed the new INTO president, said school leaders have no difficulty doing their jobs but needed the time and space to do it.

Ms Dineen, who is also principal of Cloghroe National School in Inniscarra, Co Cork, strongly supports the lifting of the ban on promotion, not only to lighten the load of principals nationwide, but to give other teachers a career path to follow.

“We need to look at school leadership very seriously and see how we can support school leaders doing very tough work in our schools.

“They have a huge amount of paperwork and administration to do with supports diminishing in the schools. We need to look at that seriously,” she said.

“I think it’s time we realised how our principals are functioning. They are doing an awful lot of this work on their own, so they need support and that support needs to come from the Department of Education in the form of middle management structure,” said Ms Dineen.

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