19 October 2022
By Tom Collins
One in Five NAPD members working over 60 hours a week – Almost 75% spending nearly 30 hours a week on administration alone – 61% of NAPD members believe that the current conditions which they are working under make the job unsustainable – Principals still struggling to fill vacant posts
The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) says that 75% of its members are spending in excess of 30 hours per week on administration, according to its recent survey findings.
The survey suggests that one in five school leaders are working over 60 hours per week, with much of this time being disproportionately spent on time-consuming school administration, as opposed to actually leading the school community.
61% of NAPD members believe that the current working conditions make the job unsustainable, with many describing the last two years as the most stressful in their careers to date. The findings come as the NAPD prepares for its annual conference taking place in the Galmont Hotel in Galway this week (19-21 October).
Numerous legacy issues remain post-Pandemic, including the ‘loss of learning’ gap and the long-term emotional impact and increased anxiety felt by many post-primary students.
According to NAPD President Rachel O’ Connor:
“Our schools are not equipped or trained to deliver therapeutic and counselling solutions to the many students badly in need of them. To date, counselling solutions have been provided on a good will basis by our guidance counsellors and year heads, amongst other groups. This is not sustainable, and students deserve better. The HSE has a role to play in addressing this shortcoming and in ensuring the students are getting the services they require.
“Additionally, in 2022, Irish primary and post-primary schools have taken in approximately 11,000 school-going Ukrainian refugees. These students have been welcomed with open arms and have immediately enriched our school communities. Our members and wider school communities have worked tirelessly to accommodate these new students and support them as they adjust to a new culture, a new language and a new education system. We will continue to do everything in our power to soften their landing and we ask that the Department of Education continue to support us in our efforts.
Teacher Shortages are also creating an administration headache for school leaders, with many schools still struggling to fill vacant posts as we approach mid-term break. While most schools are managing to fulfil their timetables, principals are being forced to drain resources from other areas to plug the gaps.
Speaking in advance of the conference, NAPD Director Paul Crone, said:
“School leaders throughout the country are reporting urgent challenges filling teacher vacancies, with many reporting unused teacher allocation. The ongoing housing crisis has further undermined these challenges, particularly in Dublin and other big cities.
“Principals and Deputy Principals are doing their utmost to keep a running timetable, but it will always come at the cost of other resources. Rising pupil numbers and decreasing teaching graduates means the problem is only going to get worse. The conference represents an opportunity to articulate some of these challenges and identify meaningful and practical solutions.
“As part of this conversation, the NAPD is urgently calling on the Minister for Education to address senior cycle reform, stating that the current six-year time frame, to be completed by 2028, is far too long and drawn out.”
The conference will be attended by 700 school leaders from across Ireland and will hear from numerous speakers including Lieutenant General Seán Clancy of the Defence forces, Philip Riely of Deakin University and Dr. Zachary Walker MBA, Assistant Prof. in Early Childhood & Special Needs Education. The conference will run from Wednesday 19th October – Friday 21st October in the Galmont Hotel in Galway.