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Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings

re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
22/11/2011 20:39 - School Specific
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Ted is right about the need for more parental involvements. Schools should be going through the process now of appoint parents to the Boards of Management. That´s a great opportunity to get more involved in your kids school.



re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
01/05/2012 16:58 - School Specific
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As both a parent and a teacher, I should also acknowledge SusieDee´s comments. Sadly, that is the greatest challenge, as what I said earlier that all too often, a very vocal minority can often engage in negativity, which does not serve to promote positivity. The forum, if there is some dissatisfaction, is to speak to the principal in private.



re : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
22/11/2011 16:03 - School Specific
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I appreciate you are been all very courteous to the school principal etc.. but the choice is up to you whether the principal attends YOUR meeting or not. They are PARENT ASSOCIATION meetings so go associate as a group of parents somewhere and at a time without telling the principal.
However, the fact you need to association (meet) without the principal present is somewhat reflective of the type of relationship you are having with the principal and could be somewhat damning on the school.
Lastly, I think that parents should have a greater say in how schools are run, the children are the schools customers and we through our taxes are paying for schools. Recently the Irish Times produced a list of the 50 most influential people/organisation in Education today and no parent organisation made this list, which I believe is a disgrace, especially they sited in later article that Finland which has one of the best education systems in the world do so by more parental involvement.



re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
01/05/2012 14:50 - School Specific
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I have to say that I have had many experiences of Parents´ Associations in a variety of schools, over a number of years, as both a parent and a teacher. My own feeling is that if a principal is kind enough to give up his/her time at night time, to meet parents, on top of the many other meetings for various other school commitments that most people might not be aware of, then that´s very positive. Ideally, the principal should not need to be at all of the meetings but it is good to be at some, especially the AGM and the earlier meetings in the year.
There is a very large difficulty with some Parent Associations and that is, regardless of the skills of the Chairperson of the particular, some parents just do not want to accept that the role of the P.A. is not to teacher bash. My reading of the situation is that it is very possible that the principal is trying to prevent a negative situation from escalating. Much depends on who the chairperson is and what the dynamic in the particular association is. If there are enough people on the association who are there for the right reason (to meet other parents, to find out about their school and to contribute positively to the school), then the principal should be comfortable about not attending the meetings. Perhaps, s/he might want to be in her/his office while the meeting is taking place or attend a portion of the meeting but it should not be perceived by the P.A. that as soon as s/he is gone out of the room, that this is an opportunity to engage in disgraceful teacher bashing. Sadly, all to often, in such situations, it is those who speak the loudest are heard and those who remain silent are not.



re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
01/05/2012 14:24 - School Specific
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So I appreciate that PAs are a thorn in the side of many Principal’s as it is one of the few groups who allowed parents to gather together to talk about the school. I would agree this occasionally can “sometimes ….. descend into teacher-bashing and indiscreet gossip.” However, I believe, this is a reflection of poor chairpersonship of the meeting rather than the issue in hand. This is the nature of groups of people they will gossip, create clichés, and be indiscreet and this will happen if parents meet in any context.This is something Principals (you) and teachers will have to live with. Having chaired meetings I endeavour to keep the agenda focused on the problem not the person(s).
Teachers tend to be arrogant as they give out information all day and generally aren’t questioned on what they say (and do!!). I am unaware of any teacher evaluation system, although I wouldn’t advocate the British systems of constant evaluation. However, I have never heard of a teacher been sacked because they did their job badly as would happen in any other sphere of work. Principals are dictators in the school otherwise the school discipline would go out the window. In the wider society which parents live in, we are judged by our work and we live have some say in how our community is managed, so I believe, that parents are entitled voice even if they don’t have one presently.
It has been shown in studies in Finland the more parents are involved in the education system the better the results of the students.( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/8601207.stm)



re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
04/05/2012 17:11 - School Specific
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A girl leaving a school due to being ´bullied by´ the principal. Can you prove that that was the reason why the child moved schools? How do you know that was the real reason? It may have been the reason the parent gave but more often than not, there are other reasons.
I have dealt with many cases of children being moved from numerous other schools and the reasons given vary. In some cases, there are very genuine reasons but in many, a scapegoat (perhaps the principal) is used. One particular case that springs to mind was a particular child who had moved school four times in as many years and a different reason was used each time by the parents. All amounted to the fact that the child and themselves were ´victims´, or so they thought. The problem was that in every aspect, both inside and outside of school, this is what they portrayed. My sympathy was with the child, as the parents were doing the child no favour by perpetuating this victim mentality. How could the child learn to cope with any situation in life if s/he is given the message to run away from every situation and blame somebodyelse. I say all this as somebody who has vast experience of dealing with bullying and allegations of bullying.
I have dealt with numerous schools at primary and second level. In every walk of life there will be some who have excellent people managing skills and others who don´t. As I said in a previous post, there are many parents on P.A.s who do amazing work and contribute hugely to schools. There are other parents who just cannot (or choose not to want to) understand the role of the Parents´ Association.



re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
01/05/2012 10:30 - School Specific
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I think you need to check the definition of the "Role" of the PA. It is not to deal with "delicate" matters as you put it. The PA can be a thorn in the side of many a Principal and Staff due to being very unclear about their role as defined in guidelines. Maybe this is why your principal feels obliged to attend (as I do!) all the meetings. They can very quickly descend into teacher-bashing and indiscreet gossip.



re : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
21/11/2011 13:10 - School Specific
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It does seem a bit strange to have the Principal there for EVERY meeting. It is great to have some engagement from the Principal, but maybe attending every meeting is just too much. You have two options;
1) The Principal is told that their presence is not wanted at EVERY meeting. This could be communicated by the Chairperson separately, or could be discussed at the meeting.
2) The PA members get over their delicate concerns about discussing things in front of the Principal, and let him have it with both barrells at the meeting.



re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
08/05/2012 10:48 - School Specific
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Thanks for your reply, there are certain elements I agree with and others I don´t so, I have gone through your reply and tried to answer as much as possible. I think, it must be hard to understand the paradigm of being a parent when your a teacher:
A girl leaving a school due to being ´bullied by´ the principal. Can you prove that that was the reason why the child moved schools? *****No, there always will be a doubt, because the parents don’t want to the hassle of having an inquiry, and this kind of thing would be divisive in the Parish. Anyway, any parents trying to challenge the school are going out on a limb who is going to represent them or fight their corner. Principals are in a position of ultimate power. If the Parents won their case what would be the outcome for that student, they will be forever blighted for having taken on the school, think this was the basis of the play – “The Windslow Boy”. There is no real recourse for parents. *****How do you know that was the real reason? *****Because, I live in a close knit Parish and we know the parents and child involved, plus this is as this widely known through out the area. So although the Principal did win in the school, it has done no end of damage to the school’s reputation, so outside the school the Principal has been found guilty by rumour, hard a fair way. I believe, it would have been better if the school allowed parents have a say and had a fair and just system to deal with these kinds of issues. *****It may have been the reason the parent gave but more often than not, there are other reasons.
I have dealt with many cases of children being moved from numerous other schools and the reasons given vary. In some cases, there are very genuine reasons but in many, a scapegoat (perhaps the principal) is used. One particular case that springs to mind was a particular child who had moved school four times in as many years and a different reason was used each time by the parents. All amounted to the fact that the child and themselves were ´victims´, or so they thought. The problem was that in every aspect, both inside and outside of school, this is what they portrayed. *****This is very much in line with my own perceptions and I am sure you are familiar with the phenomenal of when the child does well its to their credit, whereas when a child does badly it’s the teacher’s fault. However, this case the child only attended one school and she was in 5th Class, and my family has known her when she was a preschooler, she has attended my daughter birthday parties and by all counts is a well behaved child. ******My sympathy was with the child, as the parents were doing the child no favour by perpetuating this victim mentality. How could the child *****(child vrs Principal, hardly a fair competition)***** learn to cope with any situation in life if s/he is given the message to run away from every situation and blame somebody else. I say all this as somebody who has vast experience of dealing with bullying and allegations of bullying.
*****I agree, but this takes into the mine field of what is bullying, is it the control or attempted control of individuals against their using methods that will induce a negative reaction in the victim. (whether intentional or unintentional)
I am not perfect nor are teachers/Principals but I believe, it is part of a role of a Principal to create an environment where children can feel they can enjoy being educated rather than endure the process.
I don’t think it is realistic to expect a 11 year old child to take on a School Principal. I would have thought it is his role to defend those who are able to defend themselves. For me, the alternative smacks of Nazism, and this can be understood as this is a symptom of the rightwing thinking which is common throughout teaching due to the authoritarian roles teachers have to take on, as a requirement in respect to discipline etc…. Milgram did experiments whereby he showed how easy it is for any individual when put in a position of power to abuse it, which you maybe familiar with.*****
I have delt with numerous schools at primary and second level. In every walk of life there will be some who have excellent people managing skills and others who don´t. As I said in a previous post, there are many parents on P.A.s who do amazing work and contribute hugely to schools. There are other parents who just cannot (or choose not to want to) understand the role of the Parents´ Association. *****Our PA at NS is been excluded from contributing to the school*****



Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
18/11/2011 11:10 - School Specific
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Hi,

The Parent´s Association for our Secondary School is due to be set up shortly again for this year (2011/2012) at the upcoming AGM.

My issue is that the Principal not only attends but actively partipates in each meeting thus preventing parents from raising ´delicate issues´ that need to be discussed without principal/teachers present.

The school has had the same Principal for many years but many parents find him unapproachable when they either phone/visit the school to raise their concerns over any issue. The Parents Association is really the only way that parents can formally request that issues are dealt with appropriately. However, because the Principal insists on attending all these meetings, our discussions are not as open and frank as they need to be.

I personally believe that the Principal should not be attending these meetings, especially for the reasons outlined above.

Do we have the right to request the Principal NOT to attend these meetings as it is intended for parents only? If so, should this request by presented by the Chairperson/Secretary of the Parents Association?

Any advice on how to address this issue would be really helpful.



re... : Principal attending all Parent Assoc. meetings           reply
02/05/2012 12:40 - School Specific
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I find your sentiments are commendable and honourable, I sincerely believe it is better to take a positive outlook and seek a positive outcome in any context. However, my experience of 3 Principals is reflected in my comments. In particular I have had the experience of a BoM deliberately breaching the Gov. guidelines and behaving in a particularly in appropriate manner and due to this in general I work round the Principals. I also find the situation of poor teachers retaining their posts somewhat frustrating as these people hold back students from realizing their potential.
I perceive that frequent due to the school system being run mostly along authoritarian lines and as a consequence teachers can be treated in a similar manner to student, if this is not the case for your school, that is enlightened of the Principal and BoM.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression I am very negative about the Secondary School Principal, in fact, I have found this school overall have been an extremely positive experience for my daughter and myself. The school endeavours to focus on an education in a holistic way rather than only being about points, which is what I believe were the focus of schools should be.
Regrettably I cannot say the same about the National School and the fact recently a child left the school because she was been bullied by the Principal, is an indicator of the school ethos.




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