Overview of Bespoke Mentoring for School Principals
CSL (Centre for School Leadership), has developed a formal professional approach to mentoring for newly appointed school leaders over the past six years and in so doing, has accumulated significant knowledge, based on research, regarding the impact of mentoring. Mentoring is now accepted as a powerful leadership tool in the Irish education system and the external evaluation report published by Fitzpatrick Consultants in November 2018 confirmed very high levels of satisfaction with this support. It is now opportune to further develop a bespoke 1:1 mentoring process which has a focus on supporting school principals who are facing significant challenge.
CSL recognizes the tremendous system supports available to school leaders from the various stakeholders. It is important that this bespoke support complements these supports and is utilised by stakeholders to alternative bespoke supports to those who need assistance in specific areas.
CSL Bespoke Mentoring
The nature of Bespoke Mentoring is formative and developmental, facilitated in a formal one-to-one mentoring relationship. It is about growing the potential and developing the capacity of the principal not only to develop their own professional and personal skills but also those of their leadership team, and the entire school community. The is to attain better learning experiences and outcomes for students.
As is the norm with any profession, it is the responsibility of the principal, to attend to his/her professional learning needs. CSL advocates for continuous engagement with relevant professional learning for principals over the course of their career. If principals decide to engage with CSL bespoke mentoring, the adult learning principles of confidentiality, participation and taking responsibility for their own professional learning will form basic expectations.
CSL Bespoke Mentors
The CSL Bespoke Mentor will be a recently retired school leader who has completed the initial CSL mentor training. Additionally, they have taken part in over 20 hours of specialist training. This training, combined with extensive practice sessions, ensures that they are enabled to assist principals in schools.
The role of the CSL Bespoke Mentor
The role of the CSL Bespoke Mentor is simply that of a school leader working with another school leader with a view to improving their leadership and management practice. In providing this service, the CSL Bespoke Mentor will confine their focus to the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and strategies related to school leadership and management. He/she will be guided by the vision, mission, and values of CSL Mentoring Supports.
Referral to the CSL Bespoke Mentoring Support
Access to this bespoke support will be by direct contact from the principal. However, stakeholders working with principals, school boards, the DE (Department of Education) and professional colleagues may encourage principals to avail of this support. Nevertheless, only the principal themselves can make the decision to engage and to sign up for the service.
Engaging with the Support
The principal will contact the CSL Deputy Director primary or post-primary. Alternatively, this support may be accessed through the IPPN Professional Guidance Service on 1890 21 22 23 of the NAPD Office on 01-6627025. IPPN/NAPD will contact the CSL Deputy Director who will then match the principal according to context and geography.
The principal will be requested to confirm that they wish to attend an initial exploratory session with that mentor. An alternative mentor can be arranged should the principal deem that it is not professionally appropriate to engage with the suggested mentor.
The CSL Bespoke Mentor will contact the principal to set up the location and date of the initial session. CSL envisages that face to face meetings preferable for this bespoke service, however, mentors and principals engaging with the support will be obliged to adhere to the public health guidelines of the time.
Length of relationship
The length of the relationship will depend on the specific circumstances in a principal’s school. Generally, the principal is expected to engage in six meetings of one-and-a-half-hour duration.
If you would like to avail of this confidential service, please contact CSL directly by emailing Deputy Director Anna Mai Rooney at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director Mary Nihill at email@example.com