‘Lack of school principals is a crisis in education system’

The next crisis facing the Irish education system will be a shortage of school principals due to the impact of their “ever expanding” workload, it has been warned.

‘Lack of school principals is a crisis in education system’

The next crisis facing the Irish education system will be a shortage of school principals due to the impact of their “ever expanding” workload, it has been warned.

The retention of school leaders has become a significant issue amidst recruitment difficulties within the teaching sector, according to Kieran Golden, president of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD).

“There are too few applicants for the position of principal, and we cannot ignore this,” Mr Golden said.

“We need to take serious notice of the impact of an ever-expanding workload on the welfare of our school leaders.”

Mr Golden made his comments ahead of the NAPD annual conference which opens in Kilkenny today.

To help alleviate principals’ workload, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals is now calling for allocations of additional principal and clerical staff posts to be based on an incremental sliding scale.

Currently, such posts have a cut-off point, which does not take into account the wider context of a school, according to the group.

More than 600 principals and deputy principals are expected to attend the two-day NAPD conference, with Education Minister Joe McHugh due to make an address tomorrow morning.

National director of the NAPD Clive Byrne said: “The conference comes at a time where the education system is coming under increasing strain due to a growing student population and the need for parallel Government investment.”

“For example, while Budget 2020 was, on balance, received as a positive Budget for education, the provision of 150 new mainstream teaching posts will have little impact on Ireland’s growing student-teacher ratios.”

Despite challenges, the second-level education system has adapted, Mr Byrne added.

“Many schools have successfully rolled out physical education as a Leaving Certificate subject and many more have embedded computer education within our curriculum.

“With increased funding, we will be able to implement these changes nationally in due course.

"However, we are currently a considerable distance away from making this happen.”

The NAPD conference is expected to focus on school management, GDPR and new technologies.

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