CSL Update - February 2021

 1. Mentoring

(a) 1:1 Mentoring of Newly Appointed Principals

  • An online module was developed to inform newly appointed principals about Misneach as Misneach sessions went online. CSL facilitated at Misneach One primary and post-primary online events
  • Matched:
    • 198 Newly Appointed Primary Principals
    • 74 Newly Appointed Post-Primary Principals
  • CSL mentors and mentees have continued their mentoring relationships online and found this challenging because:
    • It takes longer to build trust between two people who have not had any opportunity to meet face to face
    • Emotions, body language etc. are much harder to read online
    • Both mentors and mentees miss the opportunity to meet in each other’s schools which adds significantly to both the learning and the relationship
    • Both mentees and mentors report on how much they miss face to face interaction with colleagues at leadership events
    • Such is the stress and challenge of running schools during a pandemic in both on-site and remote learning situations, that mentors have to dig deep to support newly appointed principals; and mentees need similar strength to ensure commitment to the mentoring relationship
  • CSL facilitated an online Mentoring Week from November 23rd to 26th 2020
    • 256 mentors participated
    • Asynchronous modules were made available with content from keynote speakers (Jacinta Kitt, Dermot Whelan and John Kiely), and school leaders from different contexts. Special thanks to the primary contributors, Maria White, Denise ward, Catríona O’ Donoghue, Deirbhile Nic Conghamhna and Brendan Kelleher
    • The focus of the week was ‘Professional Self, Mind & Body’
    • The activities of the week included a ‘live’ virtual event facilitated by primary mentor Joyce Perdue, and post-primary mentor, Robert Dunne and a reflection wall
    • Positive feedback –
      • 96% of respondents rated the ‘Course Structure & Platform, as 8 or more out of 10
      • 76% of respondents rated the ‘Course Content’ as 8 or more out of 10


(b) Bespoke Mentoring

  • CSL, in association with IPPN, NAPD and the DE, is developing a more sustained support for principals experiencing professional challenge
  • This is a strictly confidential self-referring support, following contact with IPPN/NAPD
  • 14 trained CSL mentors recently retired, with excellent system knowledge and from a variety of school contexts, are receiving intensive training which includes supervision

2. Coaching

  • 142 principals (96 primary principals and 46 post-primary principals) began CSL coaching in 2020
  • There was significant online engagement by principals from March through to December
  • 218 leadership teams have engaged in team coaching to date
  • The new coaching tender was launched in July 2020 and was completed in December 2020. 58 coaches are now available in six geographical regions as well as the option of accessing coaching in Irish
  • The Coaching area of the website has been updated to reflect the new coaches at https://cslireland.ie/coaching-for-principals.html


  • 240 participants graduated as Cohort One in August 2019
  • 260 participants completed the programme as Cohort Two in November 2020
  • 281 participants are due to complete the programme as Cohort Three in November 2021
  • 286 participants began the programme as Cohort Four in September 2020
    CSL facilitated the induction evening for Cohort Four on Sept. 11th2020.
    The UL/NUIG/UCD Consortium has been successful in the recent tendering process and will be opening applications for Cohort 5 in early February.

4. Endorsement

  • A total of 14 leadership programmes have been endorsed to date
  • These include programmes from:
    • Management Bodies,
    • Teacher Unions
    • Third Level Institutions
    • Professional Associations
  • Full details on CSL website at https://www.cslireland.ie/endorsement-csl-ireland.html
  • Call 3 will open in February 2021.

5. Stakeholder Collaboration

CSL has been working in the system to collaborate with other stakeholders and provide support for school leaders during these most challenging of times

  • Two Wakelet Collections were developed:
    • Leading in Limbo #1 – Looking after yourself (538 viewers)
    • Leading in Limbo #2 – Looking after others (277 viewers)
  • Online Blogs
  • Stakeholder Online Forum took place on June 23rd 2020 (58 stakeholders attended including management and trust bodies, unions, support services, professional associations, parental organisations and statutory bodies) The aim was to:
    • Introduce the new shared calendars available for uploading of provision
    • Encourage stakeholder online collaboration
  • The CSL Tri Nations Blether took place on November 11th
    • This event was a collaboration with Education Scotland and the Leadership Academy in Wales
    • It was entitled ‘Keeping Oil in Your Lamp’ and had a well-being theme
    • 245 registered for the event of which 50% were Irish school leaders
    • Three head teachers/principals facilitated this event and Gillian Sheehan (primary principal from Killarney) was the Irish representative. Gillian did us proud!
  • CSL Comhrá (Took place on Dec. 7th (primary) and Dec. 9th (post-primary)
    • Both were entitled ‘Coping in 2020’
    • 110 post primary school leaders registered and 130 primary
    • There were wonderful inputs from four primary school leaders (Kathryn Keenan, Rhodri Mears, Eddie Fox and Maria Tully) and from four post-primary school leaders, on positives, challenges, successes and coping in 2020, followed by a facilitated Q&A session with the panel
  • Profiling Irish Research in the area of School Leadership
    • CSL has engaged with Irish academics to gather research on the various stages of leadership in the Irish context
    • One piece of research is highlighted on the CSL website each month and presented to the system by Twitter.
    • This is followed by a ‘Fireside Chat’ between the academic involved and a CSL Team member. The November to February Fireside Chats are on the CSL website
    • See the schedule below:
      • November 2020: Dr. Fiona King and Mary Nihill
      • December 2020: Dr. Gavin Murphy and Anna Mai Rooney
      • January 2021: Dr. Siobhán Kavanagh and Finbarr Hurley
      • February 2021: Dr. Joe O’ Connell and Donal O’ Reilly
  • Development of an online reflective tool based on LAOS
    • The CSL Team is currently involved in developing an interactive reflective web portal aimed at school leadership teams
    • This will enable a ‘snapshot’ of where leadership and management are in a school, and signpost areas of focus for improvement
    • CSL is collaborating with the DE inspectorate on the development of this tool
  • The CSL Shared Calendar
    • This calendar is hosted on the CSL website
    • Each provider was furnished with a password that allows them to update the calendar detailing their professional learning for school leaders
    • The calendar was open to established school leaders in September 2019 and to middle, aspiring and newly appointed leaders in January 2020
    • It supports collaboration among stakeholders
    • The work of the calendar is ongoing, and providers have continued to upload their online provision over the course of the pandemic
    • Members of the CSL Team have contacted the stakeholders to ensure this work continues
    • It is expected that the Calendar will be a significant support for both stakeholders and school leaders from September 2021
  • • Leadership and Management Cluster Project
    • This project ended in April 2020 and a celebration event was planned for April 29th which had to be cancelled
    • An online celebration was hosted on YouTube and premiered live On November 10th 2020
    • There were 708 views of the event in addition to 675 views of the Flip grid/Mixtapes created by the cluster coordinators
  • Engagement with other Stakeholders included:
    • Presenting for the Teaching Council TREX research community with a focus on Teacher Leadership
    • Facilitation of a professional learning seminar with TCD
    • Panel discussion on the primary draft curriculum with the NCCA
    • Group mentoring with IPPN
    • IPPN AGM facilitation
    • Mentoring research with Professor Christine Forde
    • Leadership Meet at Féilte 2020
    • Facilitation at Misneach Primary and Post-Primary
    • Collaborative work with primary and post-primary stakeholders in the system

6. Middle Leadership action research project

  • This is a new CSL project developed in collaboration with IPPN, NAPD, and Clare and Kildare Education Centres, and supported by TES & the DE Inspectorate
  • 24 schools will take part in clusters of three in Clare and Kildare Education Centre areas
  • There will be involvement of both senior and middle leaders in participating schools
  • Professor Christine Forde from the University of Glasgow will act as consultant to the project
  • The learning from the project will inform providers in the system offering professional learning for middle leaders

7. Publication of “Learning to be a School Leader in Ireland”

  • CSL is delighted to prepare for the publication of Learning to be a School Leader in Ireland – an extensive 80-page research document underpinning the CSL Model and Continuum of Professional Learning for school leaders
  • CSL plans to publish a soft copy of the document in March/April, make it available on the CSL website, and to launch the document officially in September/October 2021

8. CSL has made the following Policy Submissions to the DE

  • Feedback to 2020 DE Strategic Plan
  • Gathering data regarding leadership positions in Irish schools
  • The development of middle leadership capacity in Irish
  • Mandatory qualifications for principalship in the Irish context
  • Preparation for Principalship in the Irish Context – a possible way forward
  • A National Induction Framework for newly appointed principals
  • Bespoke mentoring provision for principals experiencing professional challenge

9. CSL has had on-going involvement in the following international projects:

  • Supporting Inclusive School Leadership with the Irish Inspectorate and the European Agency
  • Supporting Lithuanian School Leaders with DCU and the European Commission
  • Working collaboratively with Education Scotland and the National Academy of Educational Leadership in Wales

10. Development of the CSL Website

  • The articulation of Learning to Be a School Leader in Ireland graphic is in progress
  • Behind each stage of leadership on the graphic are five leadership supports: The Shared Calendar, the CSL Self-Reflection Tool, research based on that stage of leadership, CSL endorsed programmes and Leadership in Practice videos. These supports are being built up gradually.
  • The Calendar, Research and Endorsed Programmes are live in each area with ongoing development in the areas of the Reflection Tool and Leadership in Practice.
  • An example of a section can be found at: https://cslireland.ie/new-senior-leaders-hex

IPPN Sponsors