Primary Deputy Principals Support Network
PDST Support for Primary Deputy Principals
Tánaiste Summer Course for Deputy Principals
Tánaiste is a FREE leadership summer course designed specifically for Deputy Principals and Acting Deputy Principals and provided by the PDST Leadership Team. Upon completion, participants will be eligible for three EPV days.
The course provides opportunities for deputy principals to explore their leadership role by sharing experiences, reflecting on sustainable leadership practice and building relationships with Deputy Principals from other schools.
Please visit the Summer Course Schedule for your Local Education Centre to establish whether Tánaiste will be facilitated in that centre.
The Tánaiste summer course enables participants to explore the role of the Deputy Principal by considering the pivotal role that they play in leading learning and leading change in the school. Leadership capacity is developed as participants engage with the programme and consider the benefits of a distributed approach to leadership. Strategies such as effective communication, emotional intelligence and working together with the principal as a leadership team are discussed and reflected upon. The influence of school culture is explored as well as conflict management strategies. A module on ‘Primary Administration’ provides some guidance in relation to managing the administrative elements of the role and the importance of self-care and motivation are advocated throughout the week also.
“The Tánaiste programme is a great opportunity to get to know other deputy principals. It builds connections and forges friendships with others. It is very important in countering any feeling of isolation that may come with limited opportunities we get to network and it brings great comfort to know that you are not alone - that others are experiencing similar challenges and opportunities at the same time as yourself.”
“It was an excellent course, very informative and the team activities were very enlightening. Go raibh mile maith agaibh.”
“Great group work. Practical and applied situations used. A very beneficial week all round. Well worth making the effort to attend”
“The modules presented were exactly in keeping with the rhythms of the school year and the challenge of being a Deputy Principal. It was particularly beneficial to hear the different perspectives and to get guidance from the presenter.”
Forbairt is a Leadership Development programme for a school leadership team, comprising of the principal, deputy principal and another teacher leader. Forbairt is constructed on an action learning model and is designed to support school leaders to explore leadership in their own context.
A teacher leader is any teacher who is engaged with leadership (formally or informally) in your school. They may have a formal leadership role in the school as an Assistant Principal but this is not essential. Schools that do not have a third member of staff are equally eligible to apply for the programme.
The programme is based on an Action Learning process which enables professionals to learn and develop through engaging and reflecting on their experience in the company of peers as they seek to address real-life problems in their own organisations. It generates learning from human interactions arising from solution-focused approaches to real-time, real-world work challenges. Over the course of the year participants come together for a number of two-day residentials, one-day courses and a number of Action Learning Community small-group meetings (ALCs). Supports are provided throughout the year as participants undertake, reflect on and gain feedback on the implementation of a Leadership Development Project (LDP) Examples of projects. undertaken are available in the Forbairt Projects section of this website.
Forbairt has a big impact on our leadership of learning. The following feedback was given by a group of Cork-based principals and deputies when asked what they had done in the course of the school year which impacted on learning in their schools.
*The key principles of action learning communities can be summarized as follows:
- Personal action is the basis for learning
- Focuses on real, contextual problems which are happening in your school
- Uses a questioning insight, geared towards goal-directed and reflective thinking, as a vehicle for learning.
- Is a collaborative (social) exploration (all learning is social)
- Has emergent learning outcomes
(Fox 2009; Simpson and Bourner 2007; Pedler, Burgoyne and Brook 2005; Rigg and Trehan 2004)
The following content is explored during the Forbairt course:
The Forbairt programme contains the following elements,
- Attendance at two residential modules (one in Term 1 and one at the Term 3, with three one-day modules in between)
- Attendance at three one-day modules (pre-midterm Term 1, pre-midterm Term 2, post-midterm Term 2)
- Engaging in school based action throughout the year
- Taking part in an Action Learning Community which meets three times during the course of the year in your locality.
- One school visit from PDST Personnel to support your leadership of the school based action
Is there substitute cover for Forbairt?
Yes. Cover is provided for teaching deputy-principals and principals on all Forbairt days.
Can a principal take part in Forbairt without their Deputy Principal, or vice-versa?
No. Both principal and deputy must apply together.
"Working together as Principal and Deputy in the context of Forbairt has been rewarding and enjoyable. As a team we really feel we are moving forward together now. Many thanks for this opportunity."
"Forbairt was excellent - reaffirming in many ways but thought-provoking and challenging in other ways. The projects are well worth undertaking. The local action groups also worked very well - effective sharing and pleasant camaraderie"
"Forbairt was a great learning opportunity and a chance to develop the relationship between myself and my principal. It was also a great chance to network with other professionals and hear about a variety of school contexts. The projects gave great insights into how how schools run and how different leaders handle different situations. Overall a very worthwhile experience and chance to develop myself as a leader."
"The whole idea of sharing good practice is wonderful and while schools may manage to do this within their own staff, it is rare to get the opportunity to share with leadership teams in other schools as we did in Forbairt. A follow up programme would be great and very beneficial."
"The whole Forbairt Programme was inspiring. I feel more energised and 'charged' with new ideas. As helpful as the I.P.P.N. Conference and that is saying something! Buíochas mór. Bail ó Dhia ar an obair agus go leanfaidh sé"
Deputy Principals' Conference
IPPN's Annual Deputy Principals' Conference takes place in mid-May each year. It attracts several hundred deputy principals as well as education advocates, Department of Education officials and other education partners. The event combines professional seminars, plenary sessions with keynote speakers of national and international renown. Time to network with fellow deputy principals as well as an Education Expo featuring a variety of learning resources and school supplies are key features of the event.
Leadership Support Callback Service
This Leadership Support Service is designed to make sure that any IPPN member going through a stressful or worrying time will receive appropriate personal as well as professional support. In the event of a crisis situation, critical incident or school tragedy, members of our Professional Guidance Panel are available to provide 1 to 1 confidential advice and support over the telephone.
Leadership Support Team
The team comprises five dedicated members of staff, four of whom are retired school leaders, and they focus on a range of supports and services to school leaders as follows:
- Confidential phone support for challenging issues
- Development of content for online and face-to-face courses
- Facilitation of seminars and master classes at conferences
- Development of group mentoring training to aspiring mentors
- Resources for www.ippn.ie
- Content for Leadership+ and E-scéalta.