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EVERYDAY LAW: The duties of the principal

Cecil McCarthy

EVERYDAY LAW: The duties of the principal

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The duties of a principal of a public school are set out in detail in the Education Regulations. The duties of deputy principals, senior teachers, heads of department and teachers are also spelt out in the regulations.
Recent public discussion on the subject has revealed, at times, a lack of knowledge and understanding of these duties. I would recommend that all teachers familiarize themselves with section 15 to 23 of these regulations.
In today’s article I wish to begin to focus on the duties of the principal.
There are four broad areas of responsibility entrusted to the principal.
1. The principal must determine the programme of the school after consultation with the teachers and the parents or guardians of the pupils (where it is expedient to do so).
2. The principal has control of the building, premises, apparatus, equipment and furniture of the school.
3. The principal must allocate duties to staff.
4. The principal is responsible for the discipline of the school.
It should be noted that 2, 3, and 4 above are subject to the policy of the minister and the general directions of the board.
Section 18 of the regulations set out the main duties of the principal. It provides as follows:
“18. Every principal in public schools shall  subject to the act and these regulations:
(a) supervise the teachers of his school;
(b) prepare in consultation with the teachers, a scheme of work, based on the official curriculum, suited to the needs of the pupils;
(c) prepare the timetable for the school and organize the school in accordance with the timetable;
(d) make the timetable available to pupils, teachers, education officers and any other person acting under the authority of the minister;
(e) provide leadership in the improvement of the educational programme and render guidance and advice to teachers;
(f) allocate duties among the teachers in order to make the best use of the special aptitudes of each teacher;
(g) take necessary steps to ensure that pupils make satisfactory progress in all parts of the curriculum;
(h) register pupils, classifying them according to their course of study; record their progress through the school and submit periodic reports on the pupils to their parents;
(i) ensure that discipline is maintained throughout the school at all times;
(j) administer corporal punishment when necessary and delegate to the deputy principal and senior teachers, where applicable, the authority to administer corporal punishment;
(k) hold at least one staff meeting every school term and keep a record of the business transacted at the meeting;
(l) exercise reasonable care to ensure the physical safety of pupils during any period of school activity, including any period of recess;
(m) ensure that the school premises are clean and well kept;
(n) report annually, or at such other times as the Chief Education Officer determines, on the performance of teachers;
(o) take all necessary steps to ensure cooperation with parents, parent-teacher associations and other related bodies;
(p) supervise the non-teaching staff the school;
(q) make annual reports on the state of the school premises; and
(r) forward correspondence from staff without delay to the appropriate person.”