After over a century of dogmatic rote learning, it is time to bring in 21st-century education’ – NAPD symposium

After over a century of dogmatic rote learning, it is time to bring in 21st-century education’ – NAPD symposium

The theme of the symposium is ‘Senior Cycle Reform-Carpe Diem – ‘Exploring our vision for Senior Cycle’

  • Contributors to include Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children, Selina McCoy, ESRI, and Anne Looney, DCU Institute of Education;
  • NAPD comment: “we must ask ourselves two important questions: what have we learnt about our education system in the last two years and what do we value now more so than before”

‘After over a century of dogmatic rote learning, it is time to bring in 21st-century education, according to NAPD director, Paul Crone, speaking in advance of the NAPD 2022 Symposium.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) is hosting its annual Symposium today (1 March) in the Marker Hotel Dublin.  The theme of this year’s symposium is Senior Cycle Reform-Carpe Diem – ‘Exploring our vision for Senior Cycle’.

There is a broad consensus in the school community that senior cycle reform needs to happen.  However, Mr. Crone argues that before we can implement any reforms, we must first ask ourselves two important questions: what have we learnt about our education system in the last two years and what do we value now more so than before?

The symposium will seek to address these questions and will feature contributions from amongst others, NAPD President Rachel O’Connor, Dalton Tatton, Assistant Secretary in the Department of Education, Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children, ESRI Associate Research Professor, Selina McCoy and DCU’s Executive Dean at the Institute of Education, Anne Looney.  The symposium will be chaired by former Irish Independent education editor John Walsh.

Intelligent students failing to excel in rigid system

Speaking on this theme of reform, Mr Crone argues that fundamental skills such as resilience and communication are not captured by the current architecture of post-primary learning, despite the high value and demand for them in our modern world.

“Many clearly intelligent students are unable to excel in our rigid education system. The introduction of skills-based learning as an addition rather than complete alternative will allow for a more flexible system that can respond to the demands and aptitudes of students. It will focus on their skills and not their deficiencies, and value their strengths as well as improve their weaknesses.”

Vision for education

According to Mr Crone: “We have seen the successes education reform has brought us in the past, including the Leaving Certificate Applied and Junior Cycle Key Skills. We will see the success of the apprenticeship programmes in the near future. Now let us utilise this blank slate moment to implement further reforms to bolster the system.

“This requires a new vision for education in Ireland, one based on the individual, their aptitudes, and what they can bring to society. When we value each individual, we create for them an environment in which to discover their abilities and skills and flourish. This will encourage students to lead their own education and encourage independent learning.”


The 9th Annual Creative Engagement Exhibition.

The 9th Annual Creative Engagement Exhibition will be held online March 3-5.  It will be formally opened by NAPD Director Paul Crone, 9.30 March 3rd.

Creative Engagement is the longest-running arts in education programme in second-level schools in Ireland. It is an initiative of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals. The programme is part of the Creative Youth initiative which is Pillar 1 of Creative Ireland.

The event represents an important landmark in the calendar for educationalists and artists in the education sector, where schools exhibit the wide range of arts in the programme and display best practice in arts provision for young people. Against a background of a pandemic and lockdowns, the resilience of students, teachers and artists is manifest and celebrated in the exhibition.

This year again NAPD Creative Engagement has moved online to ensure accessibility for all audience members as per government guidelines.   The programme has been supported by grant funding from the Department of Education and the Department of Tourism Culture Arts Gaeltacht Media and their forerunners since 2005.

To register for the event


IMPORTANT REMINDER Candidate Self Service Portal will close at 5pm Friday 11th February

In 2021, the State Examinations Commission (SEC), as part of its digital strategy, introduced the Candidate Self Service Portal (CSSP) as a one-stop-shop for a range on online services for Leaving Certificate candidates. The CSSP will be used again for the 2022 Leaving Certificate so that candidates can confirm their examination entry details and access other services such as results and appeals. 

The portal opened at 12 noon on Thursday 3 February for candidates to confirm their subject entries and levels. It will remain open for this purpose until 5pm on Friday 11 February.

Can you advise these candidates it is essential that they register through the Portal as this Portal will provide students with the opportunity to confirm their subject choice and levels, to also allow future access to their results and for the later stages of the process such as the appeals application process.


Click here to login CSSP 2022.


There is helpdesk support available at 1800-111135 or 1800-111136  between 9am  to 5pm until Friday 11 February. Outside of these hours you can email

Entries Section

State Examinations Commission


New Communications Guidance available to members

The NAPD Welfare Committee has developed a Communications Guidance document which can now be accessed in the VUG section of the website.

The value of good communication cannot be underestimated or its potential to promote and sustain high quality interpersonal relationships within schools and the wider community. A clear communications policy developed by all stakeholders in the school community is vital for a schools operation and growth and has the capacity to reduce conflict and equip a school with a level of adaptability to change which is now a necessity in education for the future.


The time is now’ for senior cycle reform; NAPD Annual Conference

The time is now’ for senior cycle reform; NAPD Annual Conference

School leaders from Ireland’s 700 post primary schools gather virtually for Annual Conference today, ‘From Functioning to Flourishing’

  • NAPD makes clear its intentions to seek progression of reform of senior cycle ahead of its Annual Conference today;
  • Minister for Education Norma Foley set to join conference for ‘open discussion’ on the learnings from the pandemic and senior cycle reform;


Speaking ahead of today’s event, Paul Crone, Director, NAPD:

‘Our Annual Conference this week and its theme, ‘From Functioning to Flourishing’ will bring post primary school leaders together to consider the opportunities the pandemic has created for the enhancement of Irish education. Reform of the senior cycle is a key element of this, and we look forward to discussing this issue with Minister Foley later today.

‘The case for such reform has never been greater and the time for action is now. School leaders stand ready to implement senior cycle reform, progress that will improve the development and learning of our young people, and we urge the Minister to act with intent.’

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), the representative body for Ireland’s post primary school leaders, will meet virtually today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday, 20 and 21 October) for its Annual Conference. School leaders from Ireland’s 700 post primary schools are expected to join the event which will feature a panel discussion with Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and seminars from a host of education and leadership experts.

The conference will focus on the theme ‘From Functioning to Flourishing’ and will involve reflection and debate on the lessons learned for school communities during the Covid-19 pandemic and the opportunities these now present.

New appointments

Last week, the Association elected outgoing Vice President and Principal, Ramsgrange Community School, Co. Wexford, Rachel O’Connor, as its incoming President. The Waterford native holds a wealth of experience in education advocacy and leadership. She is set to address members tomorrow on her vision for Irish post primary education in the year ahead.

Outgoing President and Principal, Laurel Hill Secondary School, Co. Limerick, Michael Cregan will open the two-day event today. Both Presidents are set to outline the work achieved to date on senior cycle reform and the urgency required to progress this in the months ahead – both in their respective speeches and during a panel discussion with Minister Foley later today.

Student focused collaboration between education partners

The greatest outcome of this process, the student-focussed collaboration between all education partners, must be carried forward and repeated to now deliver broader, permanent reform of the senior cycle.

Research undertaken in 2018 by the NAPD found that 83% of students claimed that the Leaving Certificate examination in its traditional form was ‘not the best way to assess’ their educational achievement. In the same survey, 55% of parents were in favour of their children being assessed by their teacher and 65% of teachers were in favour of comprehensive reform of the Leaving Certificate.  The reform agenda has gathered further momentum in light of the pandemic.

Speaking ahead of today’s event and on reform of the senior cycle, Rachel O’Connor, President, NAPD, said:

“Over the past 18 months, the post primary sector has demonstrated great adaptability to maintain and improve the quality of education for our students. Through such adaption, we have learned that it is possible for our excellent teachers to assess their students, that entry to third level must be decoupled from terminal exam results and most importantly, that students’ anxiety and stress were significantly reduced when they had options.

“At every stage during this process, students’ voices were heard and as we seek to progress reform of the senior cycle, the NAPD advocates strongly for students to continue to be given a stronger say in their learning and assessment. 

“To this end, the pace at which such reform is occurring is concerning. While school leaders acknowledge that the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic continue to impact how we deliver education in Ireland and will likely do so for some time to come, there must now be resources directed towards senior cycle reform with urgency. We cannot allow another academic year to slip past without progress and delivery. The time for action is now.

“NAPD members stand ready to implement reform and look forward to hearing Minister Foley re-iterate her commitment and that of her Departmental colleagues later day.”


For media queries and/ or to secure media access to the NAPD Annual Conference, contact 360:

Barry Murphy / / 087 266 9878

Macdara Ó’Móráin / / 086 087 3387

NAPD celebrates Gaisce’s 35th Anniversary with ‘Bulbs For Bees’

NAPD celebrates Gaisce’s 35th Anniversary with ‘Bulbs For Bees’


NAPD would like to thank every member who has helped Gaisce – The President’s Award spread the word about the Award’s 35th anniversary in Ireland by taking part in #BulbsForBees campaign – the largest pollination initiative ever seen in Ireland – and it’s still growing….pun intended!


To date, over 600,000 bulbs have been distributed nationwide.


If you would like to take part and secure bulbs, you can purchase some in the coming days and over this weekend at your local garden centre. Make sure to check before purchase that the bulbs are pollinator-friendly, as they are the ones we need to plant to support the wild bee population across Ireland into Spring 2022.


We are encouraging everyone now to ensure that the bulbs you have to hand are planted before next Thursday, 21st of October, and also to make sure you sign up for your special commemorative Gaisce Award certificate.


So make sure to:

  1. Plant your pollinator friendly bulb: this is a no-waste campaign!
  2. Post on your social media, tagging @GaisceAward and using #BulbsForBees, and you could win a wonderful prize pack!
  3. Submit a photo of planting your bulbs to the photo competition – by next Thursday, October 21st [all ages and individuals from all locations in Ireland can submit]
  4. Sign up for your very special commemorative Gaisce certificate now.


President Michael D. Higgins has issued a special note of thanks to all who participated so far:


“The provision of a diverse assortment of flowering plants, which will encourage native species in our landscape, is yet another important action in our work to conserve our environment in all its diversity. By planting a pollinator friendly bulb this Autumn, you will be making your own significant contribution to this important work, and to enabling the urgent change that we must achieve for our generations and generations to come. I thank all those who will partaking in this special Gaisce challenge and who, by doing so, make a profound statement of their real desire to protect the life we share on this planet.


This campaign has been possible with support from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, as well as An Post and the Irish Local Development Network.


Gaisce is by it’s mission a self-development organisation supporting young people between 14-25 across Ireland to dream big, and realise their potential. On this occasion, Gaisce wanted to celebrate the mark these young people have positively had on society by stepping up on climate change and sustainability as an organisation – because they demand it and we know we can all play our part.




Commenting on the measures announced for the education sector as part of Budget 2022, Paul Crone, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals

Media Statement


Commenting on the measures announced for the education sector as part of Budget 2022, Paul Crone, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said:

“Today’s education Budget was a missed opportunity by the Government to set about improving learning outcomes for students in the post-primary sector, most of whom have endured a disrupted two years of learning due to Covid.

“We welcome the Government’s announcement of the provision of a further 1,165 SNA positions and 980 special education teachers. This provision represents a positive start to support schools in addressing the complex needs of those students in need of such supports. It is vital now that such additional roles are filled for this impact to be realised. Similar headline commitments were made by the Government in Budget 2021, but to date, these vacancies have yet to be filled.  Therefore, it is critical that the necessary Departmental resourcing and energy is directed to meeting these recruitment goals.

“The NAPD welcomes the €50m allocation in Budget 2022 for technology enhanced learning. The experience of the pandemic has demonstrated a clear need for investment in both ICT infrastructure and supporting school communities in the uptake and use of same.

“We welcome the positive announcement of the expansion of the DEIS scheme, which will help support the most vulnerable students in our society and we commend the Minister on her continued commitment to the scheme.

“We have called on the Minister to address the growing crisis that is the lack of substitute teachers available to schools and call the Government to increase investment in this area to ensure schools are adequately resourced to provide cover for teachers who may take leave for any number of reasons including sick leave, an issue which has become more prevalent during the pandemic.

“Finally, this Budget does little to address the growing crisis in the recruitment and retention of principals in the post-primary sector. School leaders have been overburdened and overwhelmed by administrative duties, which have grown year-on-year, preventing them from focusing their energies on leading learning and education within the school community.”


Strategic review Questionnaire

Dear School Leader,

As the new Director in NAPD I want to try to connect with and harness the views of the membership. I have spoken in more detail at the Regional meetings about the process of the strategic review to inform the strategic direction of NAPD over the coming 5 years and your views are vital to this process. I would like to encourage as many school leaders as possible to complete this questionnaire which will take about 15-20 minutes. It may appear that you have given your views before in these areas, but I ask that you please take the time to complete the questionnaire as this information will give us up to date opinions to reinforce the NAPD mandate on behalf of the members

All data collected in the questionnaire is anonymous and will be used for the purpose of informing the NAPD strategic plan and in the formulation of NAPD policy, positions and views to ensure the NAPD voice is strategically aligned to the views of the membership. The questionnaire is divided into 3 sections,


Section 1: General information

Section 2: Opinions/ views on NAPD

Section 3: Evaluation of the effectiveness of Distributed Leadership Supports


The link to the questionnaire is below:


I ask that you fill this survey in by return but it will remain open until Friday 22nd October 2021.

As discussed at the regional meetings, the NAPD strategic review will focus on the development of the association in 4 main areas that are represented in the graphic below.


I want to thank you for your participation in this process and I am confident you will see the development of NAPD over the next 5 years in line with the information that we are collecting now.

Kind regards

Paul Crone


NAPD Membership Registration/Renewal 2021 2022


Benefits of becoming an NAPD Member:

  • The only professional association to represent all post-primary principals and deputy principals
  • A major voice in Irish Education with The Department of Education and Skills, IPPN, Management Bodies, NCSE, NCCA, Teaching Council, Teacher Unions, College Awareness Week, BeLonGTo
  • Access to ARAG (formally DAS), the insurance company who provide Legal Advice and Legal Fees Indemnity
  • Key Contributing partner with the Centre for School Leadership (CSL)
  • Mentoring through the NAPD Local Support Service
  • Full Access to the NAPD Website, Very Useful Guide and the monthly Bulletin
  • Eligibility to attend the Annual Conference and Regional Branch Meetings
  • Dedicated specialist sub-committees and working groups, including Further Education & Training
  • Access to Leading 4 Learning Workshops
  • Access to arts-in-education funding through Creative Engagement
  • Free Quarterly Journal – NAPD Leader
  • Discounts for NAPD Publications
  • Pre-retirement advice and access to NAPD-Retired

We would also encourage more Electronic Transfers this term if this is possible with your school. Cheques will still be accepted.

You can complete the membership online.

If you would like to register/renew your membership please complete the online form

Best wishes to you all, Stay Safe Stay Well.

Kind regards,

NAPD Head Office