Principals told to carry out only limited duties
INTO delegates mandated principal teachers to carry out a limited number of duties only until such time as three key demands are met.
These include the release of teaching principals from teaching duties for specified periods to carry out administrative duties, a reduction in the staffing schedule for appointing an administrative (i.e. non teaching) principal and the extension of the capitation grant to allow for the appointment, in a permanent capacity, of a caretaker and clerical staff to all schools. If substantial progress is not made by next January, further industrial action is demanded.
Mr Jody O'Conner, a teaching principal in an eight teacher school in Co Clare, said it was as if he was caught on a barbed wire fence, in an uncomfortable position. The more he tried to move, the worse the situation got. Neither the administrative nor the teaching end of the job could be done satisfactorily.
Another teaching principal, Mr Sean Hehir, offered to give back the increase in the principal's allowance if it could be used to help resolve the situation in his school.
Congress condemned the increase of a "mere £5" in the capitation grant and demanded an end to the disparity of funding between the different levels of education. Proposing the motion on funding, Mr Tom O'Sullivan, of the central executive committee, asked why post primary pupils received a capitation grant of £12.
"Is it that it costs less to keep younger pupils warm? Is it that primary schools need less cleaning? Is it that we can do with less lights, equipment and support?
He demanded an end to the local contribution which is nothing other than a "roll tax" on local communities.
Mr Declan Kellegher said INTO members were sick and tired of standing, side by side with parents, outside the school gates, cap in hand, begging for funds to maintain what was an essential State service. "A service, may I add, for all the children of the nation, not just the privileged."
At a private session, yesterday afternoon, Mr Michael Moroney, general treasurer of the INTO, said he intends to take early retirement following the 1997 congress. His career with INTO stretches back to 1968 and he played a leading role in the introduction of the new curriculum in 1971.