How many times have you said to yourself, "If I were the Minister for Education…?" Well I do! Rather than grumble to myself, I decided to podcast my thoughts on ways I'd change the primary education system in Ireland. Every episode I'll take on a different theme, give some background and hopefully come to some conclusions by the end. I'll also look at some of the stories about education that are on my radar and hopefully get some conversations going.
Interview 1: Dr. Gary Keogh
For the last couple of years, I’ve been telling you what I would do if I were the Minister for Education but today I am joined by Gary Keogh, who, after many years working in the UK has some advice for me - in a way it might be best called What I Wouldn’t Do If I were the MfE. Gary has over 10 years’ experience in education, working in secondary school, undergraduate / postgraduate teaching, adult education, and teacher-training. He is the author of three books, has run marathons and even finds time to play gigs as a singer/songwriter. He says he is a dad-to-be, which should put a stop to his gallop! Gary asked me if I’d be interested in talking to him because, like me, he has witnessed how the Irish Education System tends to blindly follow the education trends of the UK and while that may have had some benefits 20 years ago when I was a newly qualified teacher, the same cannot be said now.
Episode 063: Pay Principals for all the People they manage
Principals are only paid by the DES to manage teachers, not SNAs, not caretakers, not secretaries nor bus escorts or anyone else. In this episode, I’m going to argue that if I were the Minister for Education, I would be paying principals for managing all members of a school team.
Episode 062: Repeal the 37th
Incredibly, it is possible for a teacher to be fired if it can be proved that their religious views undermine the ethos of a school. In this episode I'll be going through why we really need to abolish the law, (Section 37), which allows for you to be disciplined or overlooked for a position for simply being yourself.
Episode 061: A Transparent Consultation Process
While one could never put the word "honest" in the same sentence as "politician", the concept of spin has never been more rampant. Even the word spin is spin for the word lying! Whether it's adjustments instead of cuts or the mantra that schools are safe during COVID19, it's hard to believe anything. The same goes for consultations and in this episode I'll be arguing that I would be transparent about them!
Episode 060: Ensure Proper School Insurance
How in the name of whatever god you like, does school insurance manage to get wrapped up with the Catholic Church? In this episode, I try to make an episode about school insurance somewhat interesting.
Special Episode: Thank You, Racists - Part 2/2
On July 9th 2021, I was subjected to some racist abuse on social media from members of the National Party. In part 2 of this special episode, I continue to talk about the experience and how it paled in comparison to what I and many others go through every day in schools.
Fast becoming my Fave Podcast
I wish Simon’s podcasts had been around when I spent 3 hours a day commuting but I am so glad they are here now. I have frequently asked the NCSE/PDST/DES to make some of their info on latest initiatives etc available as podcasts in the past to no avail. Sometimes I get to the circular first and sometimes I get to the podcast first but I always look forward to hearing Simon’s take on things. I really enjoy his frank and funny commentary on life as a primary school principal and he always leaves food for thought.
Up to the minute relevant
Embarrassed to admit I only started listening to podcasts over the Summer, but this one is the first I check for an update. I’ve seen Simon around the usual Education expos & meetings over the years. Will definitely share my 5* of his podcast with him personally next time I see him...whenever that may be...in the year 2030 at this rate.!
Current and well-informed views on what’s happening in Irish primary education. With a blast of good humour 👍