'Nobody' applying for principal jobs in small schools because of 'burnout' says Laois Offaly candidate

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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Laois Offaly General Election Independent candidate Carol Nolan

Nobody is applying for jobs in small mainly rural schools as teaching principals because of the burnout caused by the 'ridiculous' amount of work faced according to Laois Offaly Independent candidate Carol Nolan.

She was responding to a teacher of a small school in Laois highlighted a lack of supports at an Irish National Teachers Organisation public meeting in Portlaoise.

“I taught as a teaching principal for three years and I would never go back again,” said the outgoing TD who is a former  teaching principal.

“Unfortunately that is the case with too many principals. I have met many of them and they really are suffering burnout at this stage. It is very hard to get principals in those positions now. They are being advertised and nobody is touching them. I can’t blame them.

"It is because of the workload and because there are no admin days there. The teaching principal is expected to do too much. Education should always be child-centred. We are not supposed to be technicians or secretaries or doing Revenue’s work.

“I remember when I started I was doing online returns for Revenue. It is just ridiculous. I believe passionately that you should be given supports. A principal is the leader of the school community. I believe they are not supported and most certainly,” she said.

INTO District representative Joe McKeown said there are 2,000 such principals in the country but all are faced with the responsibilities that bigger schools have.

The challenges faced were highlighted to Laois Offaly candidates by a speaker who said she has zero funds recently going into the start of the school year because the Department of Education gives 70% of school funding in January and 30% in June.

Noel Tuohy, Labour, said his party would make sure teaching principals would have one day a week outside of the classroom.

Charlie Flanagan, FG, said there was scope through the Primary Education Forum for further investment and engagement to ease the burden. He said there may be schools that have higher than average special needs demands.

Pauline Flanagan, FF, said teaching principals cannot be treated as be 'busy fools'.

Stephen Tynan, PBP, said cuts to the education budget should end ad Governments should “stop giving money to their friends and start putting it into education”.

Brian Stanley, SF, said there is obviously a problem and is an issue that needs to be addressed.