A guide to Posts of Responsibility for second-level teachers in Ireland.
Posts of Responsibility
A new Circular “Leadership and Management in Post-Primary Schools” Circular 0003/18 was issued in January 2018. This Circular supersedes all previous Circulars in relation to posts of responsibility at Assistant Principal and Special Duties level and Programme Co-ordinator posts.
While the Circular represents some restoration of posts of responsibility in second-level schools, the ASTI will continue its campaign for full restoration of posts of responsibility.
Circular 0003/2018 introduced a revised post of responsibility structure in keeping with the leadership framework outlined in “LOOKING AT OUR SCHOOL 2016 – A quality framework for Post-Primary Schools”. Based on a distributed leadership model, it sets out a competency-based approach and processes for appointments to:
• Assistant Principal Posts I and II (AP I and AP II)
• Programme Co-ordinator Posts at AP I and
• AP II level Posts in Self-financing Adult Education Programmes
Existing post holders retained their posts under the terms of Circular 0003/2018. However, the title of their posts was changed to Assistant Principal I or Assistant Principal II respectively. In addition, the terms of new Circular 0003/2018 now apply to their posts going forward. Moreover, the allowances previously paid to a Special Duties teacher or Assistant Principal were not changed. An Assistant Principal I (formerly Assistant Principal) will be paid a pensionable allowance of €8,520 (salary scale of October 2018) and an Assistant Principal II (formerly Special Duties teacher) will be paid a pensionable allowance of €3,769 (salary scale of October 2018.
The Leadership Framework
The idea underpinning the new model of middle management in schools is one of alignment of responsibilities of post holders to the identified needs of the school in a manner that is adaptable and flexible. Duties assigned should be supportive of the Principal and staff in the areas of management, welfare and administration within the school. Details of the Leadership Framework as set out in the circular letter can be found here.
Duties of the Post
The move to a new structure and framework for appointments requires constant vigilance on the part of School Stewards and teaching staff to ensure that the interests of members are protected. In particular, it must be borne in mind that its introduction was not accompanied with any increase in remuneration or reduction of class contact time for undertaking the duties associated with these posts. Nor was it accompanied by full restoration of the previous levels of posts in schools.
It is vital that the duties attached to the posts of Assistant Principal Posts I and II should have a level of responsibility and workload commensurate with the category and the allowance to be paid. The burden of duties attached to a post should not in any event be unreasonable or excessive since the post-holder’s primary duties remain their teaching duties. The burden of post duties clearly should not impinge on the post-holder’s primary function.
Needs and Priorities of the School
A school’s list of identified leadership and management needs and priorities is developed through a process of consultation with the teaching staff of the school. The ASTI Procedures on Consultation and Review which explain how to approach this process are contained here.
Appointments and Appeals
(i) In distributing duties to posts, the duties should be inclusive so as to be open to applications from all eligible members of the teaching staff.
(ii) All eligible applicants will be interviewed and the Board of Management/Manager/CEO will appoint the candidate(s) nominated by the Interview board.
(iii) An independent appeals system is available to any candidate who believes that the correct procedure was not followed in the appointment(s). The ASTI Guidelines on the Submission of Appeals can be found here.
Discussions are ongoing between the second-level teacher unions, the second-level management bodies and the Department of Education in relation to this circular. Central to these discussions is the introduction of the long-promised appeal system for appointments to the posts of Principal and Deputy Principal.