Release Time for Teaching Principals

Circular 14/01 (PDF) sets out the original provisions in relation to release time for teaching principals in primary schools. The number of days to which teaching principals are entitled to release time (with substitution) was increased in 2019 (Circular 20/2019 (PDF)) and is now:

Release Time for Teaching Principals in Primary Schools Size of School * Number of days release time (per school year)
Principal + 5 / 6 30
Principal + 3 / 4 24
Principal + 0 / 1 / 2 18

*Under the terms of this circular size of school refers to teaching principals, mainstream class posts, including developing school posts and mainstream class appeal posts and excludes ex-quota posts e.g. GAM/EAL, Resource, HSCL, etc.

The purpose of release time is to enable Principals undertake administrative, leadership and management functions within the school. Examples of such duties are included in Circular 14/01. The Principal should be present in the school during the periods of release time unless absent on official school business approved by the Board of Management.

INTO has long demanded an increase in release time for teaching principals to one day per week.

Posts to facilitate release time for Principals (Principal Release Time Posts)

Circular 20/2019 (PDF) provides for an expansion to the existing pilot scheme that provides posts to facilitate Principals in taking their release time (Principal Release Time Posts) for the 2019/20 school year.

Schools may combine their principal release days into clusters so as to form a full-time fixed-term post to cover each school’s principal release days. As part of the clustering process, schools should agree a timetable for the teacher. This scheme is a school-led approach which will provide consistency in substitute cover for principal release days among all the schools in the cluster.

Principal Release Time Posts are fixed-term posts and should be filled in accordance with the published redeployment arrangements.

One school in the cluster must be nominated as the base school. This school will be the employing school for the teacher in the post. The post will not give rise to the payment of an increased allowance to the Principal or the creation of an Administrative Principal post or additional Posts of Responsibility.

Each cluster must contain a minimum of 175 days. Principal Release Time Posts with a combined entitlement of more than 183 days in the cluster may use normal casual substitution to cover the number of days in excess.

Participating Principals are required to record all release time absences on the Online Claims System (OLCS) for days covered by the Principal Release Time teacher. Principals of the schools in each cluster are required to formally plan, coordinate and document the pattern of their release time absences.

As a shared post, teachers in Principal Release Time Posts may claim travel expenses. Download the Expense claim form (Excel) here.

The application form for Principal Release Time Posts is at Appendix A of Circular 20/2019 (PDF).

Still have questions?

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