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New Senior Leaders - Research by Masters Students

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The Centre for School Leadership (CSL) Mentoring Programme: Perspectives of Newly Appointed Primary School Principals.

Jonathan Hanley
University of Dublin, Trinity College

Empirical data has indicated that the transition to the role of a school principal has become increasingly challenging for newly appointed principals (NAPs) (Prado-Tuma & Spillane, 2019; Sebastian, Camburn & Spillane, 2018). Following a review of existing supports for school leaders by the DES (2014), the Irish Centre for School Leadership (CSL) established the CSL mentoring programme. This thesis sets out to examine the perspectives of NAPs regarding the Centre for School Leadership (CSL) mentoring programme. The aim of the study is to gain an insight into the experiences of NAPs who have participated in the CSL mentoring programme. Research suggests that mentoring is an important part of many effective leadership induction programmes (Jones & Larwin, 2015; Saban & Wolf, 2009). While the programme has been in place since 2015, there is currently a dearth in this area of academic research in Ireland. The data was collected by carrying-out semistructured interviews with eight primary school principals who had participated in the CSL mentoring programme. The key findings have been presented and analysed based on a thematic approach. The current study revealed that the CSL mentoring programme provided many benefits for participants such as improved decision making, increased levels of confidence and the development of their leadership and management skills. However, the findings also suggested that the mentoring experience did not impact significantly, on the Teaching and Learning aspect of the leadership role. The study concludes that the CSL mentoring programme can provide significant benefits for NAPs but that there are a number areas for development which could serve to further improve the effectiveness of the programme.

CSL is funded by the Teacher Education Section (TES) of the Department of Education (DE)
This service is managed by Clare Education Centre.