2nd October 2019
The 2019 INTO Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ Conference brought together more than 300 delegates in Tullamore last weekend. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Managing workload’, which aimed to provide delegates with an opportunity to discuss and share meaningful strategies to effectively manage the workload they face in schools.
Over the course of the conference, delegates were given the opportunity to attend a series of workshops relating to this theme. Delegates also listened to inspiring and informative addresses from President Feargal Brougham, Assistant General Secretary Deirdre O’Connor, General Secretary John Boyle, Brendan Mc Hale (PDST) and this year’s keynote speaker Viv Grant.
Six delegates also shared their strategies for managing workload as part of the opening session.
Over the weekend, delegates engaged with fellow principals and deputy principals, sharing their experiences dealing with a wide range of school management issues. Several school leaders revealed how they have adapted their work to meet the challenges which arise, as workload pressures have exponentially increased in recent years. Topics discussed included the management of ASD units and the importance of distributed leadership.
A diverse mixture of workshops focusing on topics ranging from effective communication, dealing with the media, digital tech as a tool for managing workload and responding to challenging behaviour to name a few.
Addressing delegates, General Secretary John Boyle acknowledged the extraordinary role our school leaders, throughout what has been a challenging and pressurised decade for the profession. He commended the work of school leaders and outlined the important responsibility the union has in addressing the challenges in our current climate and in the coming years. As well as a staged approach to future educational initiatives, the general secretary called for the restoration of posts of responsibility and increase in capitation and a minimum of one leadership and management day a week for teaching principals. This would serve to provide principal teachers with the time, space and support they need to effectively and efficiently manage the teaching and learning in their schools.
This year’s keynote speaker was Viv Grant, an executive coach for school leaders and an expert in her field. An author, consultant and speaker, Viv specialises in supporting the emotional and psychological well-being of school leaders. Viv spoke about her experience of being appointed to her first head teacher position in a challenging school and emphasised the importance of emotional resilience and coping skills in what is an increasingly demanding role.
Viv also tasked attendees with asking what they wanted to achieve from the year ahead, and to question each other on why that mattered to them. There was a great buzz from delegates in the hall as they took up this challenge and it was a great way of focusing minds and giving delegates the chance for some introspection.