Here to Help

Since 2002, we've been helping Irish primary teachers in all areas of the job, from advice on technology to getting a job. We also post regularly on all social media. We're here to help so ask us anything.

Blog Post

Who Jan O'Sullivan shouldn't Hire as her Advisor

Jan O’Sullivan is our new Education Minister and, as a new member to the cabinet, no one has any preconceived ideas as to what sort of minister she will be. It is likely that she will come under pressure from the second-level teachers to reverse all the Junior Cert cycle stuff so hopefully she won’t spend all her time on that as primary schools require a lot of attention. O’Sullivan will need a decent advisor to help her along the way but there’s one person I think she should steer clear from.

240x160_janosullivanIf today’s Daily Mail is anything to go by, Lucinda Creighton, the former darling of Fine Gael, is someone who should be ignored and challenged. It’s quite possible that if Creighton hadn’t made her stand on abortion rights, she may have been sitting in Jan O’Sullivan’s place. Creighton gave the new government some key issues to tackle and here they are paraphrased:

1. Tackling School Patronage

While Lucinda Creighton doesn’t say that she thinks this is a bad idea, she has decided to link the right to a choice of patronage to increasing pupil-teacher ratio numbers in small schools. I cannot see the link whatsoever and this tenuous link is a potentially dangerous one. There is nothing stopping any school from transferring their patronage to another one and it does not affect the number of teachers that they will receive. There are other reasons why schools haven’t changed their patronage and very little of them have anything to do with government.

2. Teacher Quality

Lucinda Creighton believes the astonishingly rudimentary practice of paying teachers based on the results of the students in their class. This is common practice in some countries where the gap in education between rich and poor is ever increasing. It is widely accepted that children in more disadvantaged areas score lower in tests than those in advantaged areas. Therefore, “better” teachers will be headhunted to go to the “better” areas and so the story goes on. Another major problem is purely in the logic of trying to link the results of a class with the performance of a teacher. While it might work in certain jobs: for example, a radio DJ being rewarded for the number of listeners tuning in, it doesn’t work for, let’s say a train driver getting paid for the number of passengers he/she manages to get on his/her train. It’s not in his/her control how a person chooses to travel. In much the same way, teacher cannot control how pupils come to school and the level of ability they come to him/her. Even if this analogy isn’t great, all we know about this sort of arrangement is that it makes teachers worse at teaching 21st century skills. Studies show that all it does is make teachers teach to a test, which has very little pedagogical value. If I knew I would get paid more if my class scored higher in their test, I would be very tempted to help where I shouldn’t.  I’d be doing no one any favours. Creighton really needs to thank her lucky stars that Irish teachers are generally trusted to do the best they can. Yes, there are some bad teachers out there but this in itself is a valuable lesson for children. Sometimes you get bad service and you need to work around it and trust the people in charge of these teachers through disciplinary methods. Higher standardised scores does not equal better teachers.

Creighton then concentrates on 3rd level issues, which I’m not qualified to get into.

One thing that seems to be in the news about Jan O’Sullivan is her religion. She is the first Minister for Education from the Church of Ireland. I hope this doesn’t go against her if she tries to continue Ruairi Quinn’s reform of patronage. Sadly, I think this will be thrown in her face, in much the same way that Quinn’s atheism was, on several occasions.

I hope Jan O’Sullivan does a good job and continues all the good stuff Ruairi Quinn did while also fixing some of the bad things that he did, especially to Special Educational Needs. All this takes money and I hope with the apparent growth in the economy that some of this will be invested into education.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Anseo.net Predictions for 2017

Every year, I try to predict what the big stories will be in primary

A Look at the Action Plan for Education

The Action Plan for Education was published today by Minister Richard Bruton. The government

INTO Congress: A Lesson in how to do Congress

The INTO congress was on this week. You might have missed it because you

How to make denominational schools more inclusive

Around 96% of Irish primary schools are under the patronage of a religious body,

Primary Schools: Inclusive or Tolerant?

As most people know, there are a number of parents in Ireland who have

Infographic of Survey on Inclusiveness

I developed an infographic based on the data received from my survey on how

How inclusive are Catholic Schools?

Recently, The Irish Independent carried an article with the headline, Catholic Schools are as inclusive

Is it ethical to publish League Tables?

The Irish Independent published, what they called, a definitive league table of the best schools

The Mathematics of Patronage and Pluralism

Between 96% and 98% of Irish primary schools are denominational in patronage, which means

2016 Predictions

As we come to the last day of year, it is traditional at Anseo.net to make predictions

What will removing Rule 68 actually do?

One of the rules of National Schools that has been causing much debate over

Multidenominational: A long word, long-abused

The education landscape used to be an easy one to maneuver. Between the 1920s

Which dark stain will be removed in 2016?

Ask most teachers who the best education minister was and you’ll most likely hear

Can the new NCCA Ethics Curriculum work in Ireland?

It always strikes me as odd the stories about primary education that get noticed

What are teachers for?

Michelle McBride writes about healthy eating in schools in her article called “It is

Why Pluralism in Education Doesn't Work

I was listening to a debate on the radio about the Angelus last week.

Media Focuses on Religion during Maths Week

There were a number of stories in the newspapers and media this week surrounding

Thoughts on the Digital Strategy

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 is the latest attempt by the government to

Should we be Celebrating the 1916 Rising?

Earlier this week, two army officials came to my school to present us with

An Alternative to Droichead

Following my blog post on Droichead last week, I thought I might expand on my

Droichead: A bridge too far

Droichead is a new model of induction and probation for newly qualified teachers, which

No wishes for pay equality from INTO

This week an email went out to all INTO members to welcome them back

Burren National School: A symbol of the divestment process

Today, Educate Together announced that the proposed new Educate Together school in Castlebar was

Where do unbaptised children fit in?

I’ve been following the recent discussions about unbaptised children accessing primary education over the last

Lansdowne Road Agreement: Vote Yes or No?

I usually have strong convictions about issues affecting the education system but I am

Who are the role models in primary schools?

Last weekend, I was part of a panel at the Excited Festival of Learning

Anything to Gain from Gain Time? #DojoChatEU

I find it difficult to attend ClassDojo’s chats every week so when this week’s

Why We're Voting Yes to Marriage Equality

Commenting on referenda is not something that we generally do at Anseo.net but the

Should schools be allowed to discriminate?

The headline grabber from the INTO congress was Jan O’Sullivan’s announcement that new enrollment

Ten Things to Keep in Mind at INTO Congress

Every year, during the spring holidays, the media takes an interest in education as the

Swapping Books for iPads?

The Irish Independent reported recently  that an anonymous donor had given a school in Fermoy, Co

Is all well with the new well-being guidelines?

In the last week, primary schools all received their first paper-based document from the

Why the INTO need to support Marriage Equality

The campaign for marriage equality in May seems to be overwhelmingly supported by teachers

Safe Internet Day: Can one day save our children?

Today is Safer Internet Day and Webwise as usual are doing brilliantly, positive things

One School's Plea to the NCSE

The new proposed NCSE model is likely to be sanctioned very soon. I wrote

IPPN 2015 Review

The annual IPPN conference, the largest educational conference in Ireland, where over 1,200 principals

Denominational Schools and the Upcoming Marriage Referendum

The upcoming referendum on marriage equality has sparked some conversation among teachers who work

Why we don't need to start teaching coding in primary schools

Ciaran Cannon is one of the most innovative politicians I know and he is

Overwhelmed and Underwhelmed: Web Summit

I was delighted to get the opportunity to go along to the Web Summit

Primary Schools and Broadband: The biggest issue in education today?

Following on from a conversation on the wonderful CESI list, I thought I would

10 Educational Books that have stayed with me

Facebook is awash with challenges from ice-buckets to listing how you’re grateful for the

A short guide to religion in primary schools

Over the last number of years, the population of Ireland has changed. One of the

Why we should care about Ireland's Human Rights Record in Education

Last week, the Irish government was given a major slap on the wrist for

Five more things the new Minister for Education should do…

Following on from Fintan O’Mahoney’s excellent article, “Ten things the new Minister for Education

What will Ruairi Quinn's Legacy be?

Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, announced his resignation today. The announcement was met with mixed

Is the NCSE reform even less equitable?

With much fanfare, the NCSE are reforming how resources are given to schools for

What does the end of XP support mean for Irish schools?

If you walk into most primary schools, you’ll find a vast array of different

Draft Primary Language Curriculum Consultation:Your input needed!

Draft Primary Language Curriculum Consultation:Your input needed! I posted about the draft primary language curriculum

INTO Congress: How should teachers behave?

Teachers are professionals in the same way doctors and lawyers are. Society expects professionals

4 Problems with the new Anti-Bullying Procedures

The government’s anti-bullying procedures are to be ratified in all schools before the 11th

Are schools to blame for us not speaking Irish? (#edchatie)

This week’s chat on #edchatie on Twitter was very interesting and the subject of

Fitness to teach is all about motivating teachers to love their job-Part 2

Self-actualisation and flow In my first post on performance-related pay, I spoke about the process

Public Consultation for a new Digital Strategy for Schools

A couple of days ago, the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, launched a public

Cutting the cost of school uniforms? Why not cut them altogether?

Irish parents are to be balloted on school uniforms in the coming weeks in

How to save the Irish language

One of the most popular conversations I have with non-teachers is about the Irish

The Literacy Shed

In my free time, which isn’t very much, I love, love, love writing and

Blog Awards show sharing breeds success

Last night I attended the Blog Awards in Naas. It was a glitzy affair,

Should Ask.fm be more socially responsible?

I’m currently asking some questions about social media in an attempt to see what

How will the new enrollment laws affect primary schools?

Ruairi Quinn has welcomed teachers back to school with new legislation surrounding enrollment in

Shouldn't we ensure Web 2.0 is not anonymous?

I’m currently asking some questions about social media in an attempt to see what

A Step towards Paper-Free Roll Books

The Department of Education were busy during the summer making some more circulars and

Should we ban children from using Ask.fm?

I’m currently asking some questions about social media in an attempt to see what

Should we shut down Ask.fm?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m asking some questions about social media in

JobBridge Controversy

JobBridge is a government internship scheme that that was designed to provide work experience

Should we be happy with Quinn's U-turn on Resource Hours?

Today, the minister for education, Ruairi Quinn reversed the most recent cut he had

Cutting through the latest spin on cuts to education

A day or so after the majority of primary school teachers decided to vote

Irish Primary Classrooms according to ERSC study:Not the best!

Studies Yesterday, you may have heard about a study from the ERCS has found that

Why Standardised Testing plans are rubbish

Last year, as part of the government’s literacy and numeracy improvement plan, primary school

Before you vote on Croke Park 2…

Croke Park 2 has caused a lot of discussion in the teaching community. The

Textbooks, Post Holders and Teacher's Autonomy?

I trained to become a teacher in the UK back in 2002 after “teaching”

The online rollbook is coming

Last week, at the IPPN conference, words that I never thought I would hear

Wifi Warning or Scaremongering?

Image from http://www.creditcards.com/ During the week, I received an email from an organisation called IDEA,

Predictions for 2013

Last year we predicted that 2012 was going to be the year of the

Anseo.net Review of 2012

Every December, we look back on the year and remember some of the highs

SSE: Shifting the Bell Curve

In my last article about the SSE (School Self-Evaluation), I wrote about how I

Couch Soundbite Doesn't Sit Comfortably

There was something that grated on me when I saw the highly retweeted soundbite

Primary Education and the 2013 Budget

Ruairi Quinn has to make around €100m of cuts to the education budget today.

A Day Without Technology

Camara Education set a challenge to see if we could live without technology for

Thoughts after absorbing SSE

I’m largely in favour of the new School Self-Evaluation, (SSE), that was launched a

The Gathering Letter writing project

Gabriel Byrne is not a fan of the Gathering but that doesn’t mean you

Do Teachers need Honours Maths?

  What does atan(y,x) do? If you did well in your Leaving Certificate Honours Maths

Should teachers be techies in 21st Century schools?

Following a very interesting tweet on last week’s #edchatie, a contributor said that teacher

Killing Primary Education

Screenshot from Irish Times article Back in October, The Irish Times ran a feature outlining

Interviews via Video Conference

A few years ago I was asked an interesting question about whether it would

Technology in Schools in the Dark Ages?

Great – another article damning schools and the Department of Education for failing the youth

INTO uses Social Media during Congress

It’s good to see leadership in education. An example of this is in the

Do we need Teaching Council 2.0?

It hasn’t been the best couple of months for the Teaching Council. Established six

Best Schools? Another missed opportunity.

Sunday newspapers often feature supplements on different topics. This week the Sunday Business Post

Technology and Pedagogy – not a chicken and egg

The IPPN conference is the biggest conference for primary school prinicpals in Europe with

Something to think about Ruairi Quinn (Part 3)

The final part of my letter to Ruairi Quinn… Has there been any mention of

Something to think about Ruairi Quinn (Part 2)

Continuing from my letter from the last day, here is part 2… Instead, in the

Something to think about Ruairi Quinn (Part 1)

After attending the BETT conference in the UK, I experienced Michael Gove for the

Thoughts on Ruairí Quinn's Plan for Literacy and Numeracy

Ruairí Quinn has figured out how we can improve literacy and numeracy standards in

Survey Results: Web 2.0 in Schools

As part of Anseo.net’s competition to win a HD Flip Cam, participants answered some

Should Moodle be used in Primary Schools?

Moodle is a tool for creating online courses and virtual learning environments (VLEs).  When

Labour – Fine Gael Education Programme

With a new government in place, a few decisions between the two parties had

What do Jedward and Positivity Week have in common?

There is a link, trust me. I am a member of the IPPN but that

A Reaction to Falling Literacy and Numeracy Levels

I wanted to comment a bit on some of the proposals from the government

PISA reveals worrying results for Ireland

According to the research of PISA 2009, only 6.6% of students questions did not

We need an update on kids' safety.

Here’s a transcript of Rozz’s recent article published in the Think Tank section of

ICT Grant = Demise of Gaeilge?

Recently, Irish primary schools were allocated a share of €25 million from the Department

Where do you like to sit when you are the teacher?

The Desk at the top of the classroom! (and organisational settings for you to

Technology Upgraded, Teaching Downgraded?

I remember my first day at school vividly because everyone laughed at me.  My

Douglas Adams, The Fourth R and Learning

I was happy to see that technology was on the agenda at the annual

12 reasons to have Computerised Roll Books

Imagine it’s 11:30am on June 30th.  What are you doing?  Apart from trying to

International Study of Interactive Whiteboards

Last year I took part in an international study of Interactive Whiteboard use.

Saving Money for ICT

I came across a great article from Open Source Schools, a British web site,

Why don't VEC primary schools have web sites?

If I want to find out about a school for a particular reason, the

ICT in Education Conference 2010

Last year was the first year I attended the ICT in Education Conference in

A Case for Computer Rooms

Computer rooms were on top of every primary school’s wishlist back in the late

Social Networking and Bullying

With the news that Bebo may soon be no more,  I asked colleagues was

My Twitterversary

I’ve been using Twitter for a while now and am about to tweet for

What have the Teaching Council ever done for us?

Have recently discovered Inside Education on 103.2 Dublin City FM. Simon introduced me to

Why IPPN works

I’m reading a fascinating book at the moment about how the net generation think,

The brains of Spain are mainly very sane

I was sent a press release from Promethean Ireland entitled “Promethean Wins Major Spanish

Talkin' 'bout iGeneration

I’m a big fan of Conor Galvin, from UCD’s school of education.  I have

Technical Support in Schools (Irish Style)

We all know that primary schools are underfunded. We all know that the

€150m for Smart Schools isn't smart at all

I feel that I should reiterate that I have deep concerns about the €150m

Why Blogging is Best – a digiteach article

I was asked to write a follow-up article about my workshop at this year’s