Circular 26/2022 (PDF) sets out the current provisions in relation to release time for teaching principals (with substitution) in primary schools.
This circular supersedes Circular 20/2019 (PDF) and Circular 14/2001 (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 and is now as follows:
Each school with a teaching principal will have 37 release days in the 2022/23 school year.
Schools with one special class will have 4 additional release days in the 2022/23 school year.
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 Circular 14/2001 (PDF). 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.
Principals are required, in consultation with the Chairperson of the Board of Management, to draft a programme of duties, to be undertaken during release time. A brief report on the use of the release time must be presented at one Board of Management meeting annually. A copy of the report should be retained in the school and be available for inspection by a Department Inspector.
Posts to facilitate release time for Principals (Principal Release Time Posts)
Circular 26/2022 (PDF) provides for the creation of Posts to facilitate release time for Principals (Principal Release Time Posts)
Schools may combine their new allocation of principal release days into clusters so as to form a full-time fixed-term post to cover each school’s principal release days for the 2022/23 school year.
Schools cannot be involved in more than one principal release cluster in any school year. Only schools with teaching principals may be the base school for a Principal Release Time Post. As part of the clustering process, schools should agree a timetable for the teacher.
Principal Release Time Posts are fixed-term posts and should be filled in accordance with the published redeployment arrangements and must not be filled until the Department advises that the post is not required for a teacher on the Main Redeployment Panel.
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 182 days. Principal Release Time Posts with a combined entitlement of more than 182 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 On Line 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.
The application form for Principal Release Time Posts 2022/2023 can be found here. The initial closing date for receipt of applications was Monday 9 May 2022.
Schools that choose not to get involved in a Principal Release Time Post cluster may employ a substitute teacher for each day that the Principal is on release time.
As a shared post, teachers in Principal Release Time Posts may claim travel expenses. Further details here.