INTO tells workload forum that pace of reform is leading to overload in schools

On Monday 19 November, INTO attended the inaugural meeting of the Primary Education Forum, convened by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) in response to INTO concerns about the workload of primary teachers, including principals. These concerns are shared by the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) and the Management bodies of primary schools, who were also in attendance.

At the outset the department acknowledged the issue of fatigue with innovation and change in the primary school system and stated that the Forum was an ideal way to try and deal with these issues. The DES also outlined that they were in the process of preparing a Strategy Statement for the new Minister, and that the Forum provided an opportunity for the stakeholders to contribute to its preparation. The department noted that a key focus
over the coming period would be the consolidation of reforms and embedding of implementation. There was also a short input from DES on special education issues.

The input from the INTO at the meeting was constructive but clear. The pace of reform at primary level was moving too fast, and that constant change without proper support was causing work overload issues for teachers, principals and school management. The stakeholders welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Forum and confirmed their commitment to ensuring that it made a real difference to workload in primary schools.