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NAHT (NI) Inspiring Heads and Minds Conference

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Schools Leaders from across Northern Ireland gathered for the NAHT Inspiring Heads and Minds conference in Newcastle.

The theme of the conference was well-being and focussed on inspiring principals and vice-principals.

Speaking to conference during mental health awareness week, NAHT(NI) President Geri Cameron highlighted the importance of looking after the well-being and mental health of school leaders who face challenging circumstances in school and find themselves fire-fighting daily.

Mrs Cameron said “on average principals work more than 60 hours per week and 25 hours per week during holidays.  While being overworked, more and more principals are exposed to verbal assault, violent outbursts and bullying.  Sadly, many feel isolated and unsupported by their employer.

“Research shows this can lead to increasing number of incidences of principals encountering relationship problems, depressive episodes, injury through hazards and red flag incidents.  The Education Authority and Department of Education need to act now - principals must be protected from harm and should be valued, nurtured and heard.

Members of NAHT (NI) have attempted to navigate cuts in funding to school budgets, industrial action by colleagues and the consequences of a defunct Assembly.  Now enough is enough.

NAHT (NI) has now determined to move forward and advised their members that they will be asking the Labour Relations Agency to step in.  Should there be no resolution, NAHT will go forward to balloting their members on Industrial Action.

First published 20 May 2019