Recruitment and Appointment of the Principal Teacher

Principalship Application Form (Word)
September 2019

Foirm Iarratais do Phost mar Phríomhoide (Word)
September 2019

The recruitment and appointment procedures for the post of principal teacher are contained in Chapter 4 of Circular 44/2019 (PDF).

Some key features of the recruitment and appointment procedures are:

  • The post must be advertised on at least one of the websites approved by the Management Bodies, and notified to all teaching staff in the school, including those on approved leave. Principal’s Posts should not be advertised in July or August, except in exceptional circumstances, and with the prior approval of the Patron;
  • The advert should specify the documentation required with the application i.e. application form or curriculum vitae, and any additional documents (e.g evidence of qualifications etc). The closing date shall be not be earlier than 14 days after the first date of publication of the advert.
  • The Selection Board is made up of Chairperson of the Board of Management, and at least two assessors independent of the Board, to be appointed by the Patron, after consultation with the Chairperson;
  • The criteria for assessment of the applications are contained in the Chapter. They are:
    • Leading teaching and learning
    • Managing the organisation
    • Leading school development
    • Developing leadership capactity
  • The criteria should be sent to the candidates called to interview with the notice of interview, at least 7 days in advance of the interview date.
  • Schools/ETBs may decide at their discretion to facilitate interviews using digital technology, particularly in the case of qualified applicants resident outside the State, subject to the availability of suitable technological infrastructure and resources.
  • All questions at interview shall relate to the requirements of the particular post. Each interviewer is required to complete his or her own marking sheet and give it to the Chairperson of the Selection Board. The individual marks shall be added to make up the final mark for the candidate. A candidate’s own marking sheets should be made available on request, after the recruitment process is complete.
  • Following the interview, reference checks should be conducted for the highest ranked candidate. The Chairperson of the Selection Board shall submit a written report to the Board of Management, including the name of the highest ranked candidate. The Board of Management shall offer the post to the highest ranked applicant unless it has good and sufficient reason not to do so and such reason was not known to the Selection Board, in which case the matter shall be referred to the Patron, whose decision in this matter shall be accepted by the Board of Management.
  • No offer shall be made to the successful candidate until the prior approval of the Patron has been obtained.

Where a candidate has concerns about a breach of the procedures set out in Appendix E, or discrimination on any of the nine grounds set out in the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015, they should contact INTO Head Office to discuss the matter.

Eligibility for Appointment to the Post of Principal

On application for the post of Principal Teacher the applicant must meet the eligibility criteria for the setting in which the vacancy arises.

Setting Teaching Council (Registration) Regulations 2009 and Service Requirements
Primary schools with less than 80 pupils Fully registered under Regulation 2 (Primary) with the Teaching Council
Primary schools with 80 pupils or more Fully registered under Regulation 2 (Primary) with the Teaching Council and have 5 years recognised teaching service, two of which must be in a recognised primary school within the Republic of Ireland
Special Schools Fully registered under Regulation 2 (Primary) or 3 (Montessori & Other Categories) with the Teaching Council and have 5 years recognised teaching service, two of which must be in a recognised primary school within the Republic of Ireland
Special School where children are enrolled up to the age of 18 years of age Fully registered under Regulation 2(Primary), 3 (Montessori & Other Categories) or 4 (Post Primary) with the Teaching Council and have 5 years recognised teaching service, two of which must be in a recognised primary school or post-primary school within the Republic of Ireland

(Service in a recognised post-primary school within the Republic of Ireland or in a primary school or post-primary school outside of Republic of Ireland may be reckoned towards service as above, provided this service was reckonable for incremental credit.)

Should I apply for the post of Principal?

The answer to this lies with the individual teacher, taking into account their experience, qualifications, and their interest in taking on the challenge of principalship. It is a good idea to speak to experienced principals about the challenges and rewards of the post. Taking on a principalship entails significant extra work and responsibility and INTO has long held the view that the remuneration offered does not match the level of responsibility. This view was upheld by the second Benchmarking Body, but the award recommended by this Body remains unpaid.

Research carried out by Dr. Mark Morgan and Dr. Ciaran Sugrue (Oideas 53 (PDF)) found that “the most challenging features of a principal’s job centre on interpersonal and intra-personal skills and require problem-solving/creativity, particularly in relation to policy development and implementation. With regard to job satisfaction, giving and receiving support is by far the most salient feature”. Research carried out by the ESRI on behalf of the Teaching Council (PDF) found that “an overall majority of Irish primary school teachers (98%) and principals (93%) were happy in their job, though some experienced occupational stress (45% of teachers and 70% of principals). Job satisfaction and occupational stress were associated with a number of background and school-level factors.

The last available statistics (2017/2018) show that 66% of primary school principals are female. While this falls well short the 85% female primary teachers overall in the profession, it is a huge improvement from 1995, when only 46% of principals were female.

Still have questions?

Submit your query by email to INTO. Please include your payroll or membership number.