Primary school leadership: understanding preparation in the Tóraíocht programme

Samuel J. McGuinness, Verena Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of an impending global educational recruitment crisis, together with the recognition of the critical impact of effective leadership on educational outcome, leadership preparation has become a focus of educational reform worldwide. The design and delivery of pre-appointment prgrammes for school leadeship has significance for school effectiveness. In many countries a leadership qualification is now mandatory for aspiring principals. In the Republic of Ireland, Tóraíocht, a non-mandatory accredited programme of preparation for school leadership was introduced in 2008, adding to the various diplomas and degrees awarded through higher education institutions. Adopting a narrative-informed qualitative methodological approach, the aim of this research study was to examine whether Tóraíocht makes a difference to the perceived leadership competencies of the novice primary school principals (n = 12), six of whom has participated in Tóraíocht and six of whom had not. The main findings indicate certain favourable conclusions regarding the impact of the programme on graduates subsequently appointed to primary-level principalship positions, and positive attitudes towards the propoed introduction of a compulsory pre-appointment leadership qualification in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-223
JournalIrish Educational Studies
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jun 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

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  • leadership
  • primary schools
  • Ireland


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