New Book on School Leadership in Ireland Launched at TCD

Posted on: 15 June 2011

A new book on the state of school leadership in Ireland highlights how leadership and management in education can make a significant difference to the effectiveness of schools.  The book, entitled Leading and Managing Schools which was co-edited by Dr Helen O’Sullivan of Trinity College Dublin’s School of Education and Professor John West-Burnham of St Mary’s College London, calls for a full and honest appraisal of the challenges for school leadership in modern day Ireland.  The book was launched recently in TCD by Mr Pat Cox, President of the European Movement International and former president of the European Parliament.

According to Dr Helen O’Sullivan of the School of Education at TCD: “Our education system, like many education systems around the world, is being scrutinised as never before.  There is a clear need for active leadership at all levels in the system if Ireland is to emerge from the current difficulties, economic and societal, with renewed values, renewed trust and a young population educated for a different future.”

Dr Helen O’Sullivan of Trinity College Dublin’s School of Education and Mr Pat Cox, President of the European Movement International at the launch of Leading and Managing Schools.

Based on the first study of its kind to relate the principles of effective leadership to the broad spectrum of school life in Ireland, the book serves as a key resource for school leaders in their personal and professional study.  The editors bring together an array of renowned scholars to inform and stimulate the debate on the future of leadership development in Irish schools.  They show that while analysts caution against reading too much into recent reports showing Ireland falling significantly in its ratings in standards of literacy and mathematics, those involved in Irish education must heed the warnings.  Each author explores different perspectives and sets a framework for rethinking school leadership and management and an agenda for future research. 

Professor John West Burnham said: “The contents of this book provide food for thought for anyone in a leadership position in an Irish school.  Focusing on national and international perspectives this book provides an analysis and review of the current state of school leadership in Ireland.  Issues raised in Leading and Managing Schools are international in their significance.  The recent criticisms of the Irish education system by US multinationals add to the urgency of a full and open examination of the system and an assessment of whether significant change is required.”

Inspiring and informative in its style, the authors bring together a range of perspectives on every aspect of school leadership and management.  Contributors include: Marty Linksy (Harvard), Michael Fullan (Ontario University), , Niamh Brennan (UCD), Ciaran Sugrue (Cambridge), Paddy Flood (LDS), Tom Collins & Rose Malone (Maynooth), Paul Conway , Kathy Hall, Rose Murphy and Anne Rath (UCC), Helen O’Sullivan (TCD), Enda McGorman (Principal), Martin Wallace (Principal) and Michael Shevlin (TCD) and John West-Burnham (St. Mary’s College, Twickenham.

Each chapter in the book addresses an area of specific concern and raises questions and possible strategies in order to inform and extend the debate.  The book is in three parts: part one presents a global stance from a generalised ‘big picture’ perspective on issues of change and governance; part two focuses specifically on the Irish context, while part three looks at the future of school leadership in Ireland taking into consideration global trends and the challenges facing Irish education.

Leading and Managing Schools by Helen O’Sullivan and John West-Burnham now available in all leading book shops nationwide .