Teacher's Pet


An insider’s guide to education

That bitter disputebetween UCD president, Hugh Brady and Tom Boland (pictured), chief executive of the Higher Education Authority over unauthorised allowances to senior Belfield staff continues to rage.

But behind the scenes, both parties are being encouraged to stop digging. The other university presidents and some board members of the HEA take a dim view of the dispute – and want to see an end to hostilities.

The argument is that the dispute, if left simmering, will do long-term damage to higher education by encouraging the politicians to examine every line of university spending.

The good news? A happy resolution of the dispute is set to be announced after the next HEA board meeting in March. UCD will make a without-prejudice payment to student services and the HEA will back off.

That, at least, is the plan. It’s now up to UCD vice president, Philip Nolan and Tom Boland to tidy up the details.

- Pat King, thenew-ish general secretary of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) is being widely praised for his calm stewardship of the union since taking office last year.

Instead of a less-than-splendid isolation, the union entered talks on Croke Park and is now reballoting members.

So far, so good.

But one strange feature of the ballot is that retired ASTI members are fully entitled to vote. Indeed, they can vote on all union ballots, except those on industrial action. It’s all very curious .

Last year, the ASTI leadership was openly embarrassed about the absence of younger members at its annual conferences; only a handful of delegates were under 50!

Since then, it has made a determined effort to get younger teachers involved in the union. But some younger teachers resent the voting rights enjoyed by their elders.

- The race tobe the next president of NUI Maynooth enters a critical phase next week with a final round of interviews.

The aforementioned Philip Nolan UCD’s registrar and vice-president for academic affairs, is a leading contender for the post. The personable Nolan was a candidate for the DCU presidency last year but lost out to Brian MacCraith.

Trinity’s dean of research, David Lloyd, is also being linked with the post. Lloyd was a key figure in the TCD/UCD Innovation Alliance.

Long time internal favourite, James Walsh, Maynooth’s deputy president, appears to be out of the running.

- Over at TCD, Paddy Prendergast remains the clear favourite to be the next Provost after nominations closed yesterday.

Bookmakers Paddy Power has vice provost Prendergast at 6/4 favourite. History don Jane Ohlmeyer is 11/4 to become the first female provost.

Colm Kearney of the business school is the big mover in the latest betting; he is now a 5/2 shot, after being backed heavily at 8/1.

The good people at Paddy Power say this betting market has attracted considerable interest from punters.

Who would have thought it?

- You must see The Nurture Room, a 90-minute film about nurture groups in Glasgow which was recently broadcast on More4.

This terrific documentary tracks the transformation of three primary school children over the course of a single school year.

In the film, the courteous and supportive behaviour of the teachers makes the children feel accepted and valued.

Catch it on the Channel 4 website, channel4.com, or you can see clips on YouTube.

Got any education gossip? e-mail to teacherspet@irishtimes.com