Workload central topic at principals’ meeting

Organisation also concerned about funding

Work overload, reduced funding and an expectation that primary schools will solve societal problems are major talking points at the annual meeting of the Irish Primary Principals' Network.

These challenges are faced daily by the principals and deputy principals represented by the network, said the body’s president Brendan McCabe yesterday at the start of the two-day meeting. And as resources decline the workload escalates.

“Everyone in society is asking schools to solve their problems. We can do so much but we can’t be a cure all,” he said. “Obesity is a problem and people think the schools should solve it, children come to school hungry and the school will solve it. So many agencies and bodies are looking to us for a solution,” he said.

Work overload remained a serious challenge for the network’s membership, Mr McCabe said. Two-thirds of primary schools have teaching principals who do a full teaching roster but also take on all the administrative duties required of a principal.


“We argue they should get one release day a week to deal with school administration and to lead learning in the school, something they primarily should be doing,” Mr McCabe said.

Key speakers today include Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn.

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom, a contributor to The Irish Times, is the newspaper's former Science Editor.