National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals



A Short History of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals

The story of NAPD is one of gradual growth towards unity and confidence. It is a testimony to the power of an idea which, once it took root, grew with astonishing strength and rapidity. This account charts some key moments in the gestation of one of the most significant new bodies in Irish post-primary education.


In 1997, there were six associations trying to look after the interests of Principals and Vice-Principals and a growing feeling that as long as the post-primary sectors were served by separate organisations there was little hope of them making real headway, particularly in their dealings with the Department of Education. A process of tentative contacts, diplomatic negotiations, meetings took place over the period of a year as the consensus grew among school leaders about the need for an organisation

  • To provide… a united voice for the organisations of Principals and Deputy Principals on issues of common concern;
  • To ensure that Principals and Deputy Principals are treated as one of the “Education Partners” and are represented a of right on all relevant local and national bodies both statutory and non-statutory;
  • To ensure that Principals and Deputy-Principals are consulted on all relevant matters and in particular on new initiatives which impinge on their role;
  • To represent the views of Principals and Deputy Principals to all interested groups and relevant bodies;
  • To provide support/advice for Principals and Deputy Principals through a secretariat.

The planning and negotiating proceeded until on 12th May 1997, representatives of the newly-christened NAPD met the Minister, Micheál Martin, at Leinster House. His response was warm, positive and encouraging. He enthusiastically accepted an invitation to launch the new association and he said “the establishment of one association helped to recognise the role and status of Principals and Deputy Principals as partners in education". 

Collins Barracks was selected as the venue for the inauguration of the Association. On the 22nd of September, 1998 over 150 distinguished guests from across the educational spectrum heard the first President of NAPD, Shay Bannon, emphasise the sense of unity and trust that had evolved among those engaged in negotiating and planning the process. In February 1999, Mary McGlynn, Principal of Mount Anville, a founder member of the NAPD Executive, was appointed Director of NAPD. 

In the intervening years, through its 21-strong Executive Committee, a network of nine regional branches, a range of sub-committees working on specific areas of education and its annual conferences, NAPD has become a major partner in Irish education, enjoying a cordial and constructive relationship with the DES, consultative status with the NCCA, representation on a wide range of educational, social and cultural organisations and contacts with educationalists across the globe.

NAPD is committed to the development of school leadership that is based upon philosophical and moral principles as well as professional skills.


NAPD represents Principals and Deputy Principals at post-primary level in the Republic of Ireland.

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