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Cassidy's Comments: A Former Head's Views on Current Educational Issues

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Coping Effectively with Autism in Schools

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 11/03/2019 BBC News NI recently reported a large increase in children receiving a diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). In total 2,345 children under 18 were diagnosed as ASD last year, compared with 1,047 five years previously. Dr Alan Stout, the chair of the Northern Ireland GP Committee of the Briti...

Growing Concern for School Principals Subjected to Social Media Abuse

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 15/02/2019 The Belfast Telegraph and BBC have reported on Geri Cameron, principal at Loughshore Education Centre in Newtownabbey and President of NAHT Northern Ireland, telling MPs at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that head teachers were being offered no support in dealing with online abuse. Ms Camer...

Mental Health in Young People: Are Schools Getting the Help They Need?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 21/01/2019 Recent media reports reflect the fact that the mental health of young people is of increasing concern. How are we coping with this rising demand and are we addressing pupil pastoral needs as well as we did before budget cuts changed staffing profiles and timetable priorities? Equally in their effor...

An Education System Under Stress

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 10/12/2018 In the context of Stress Awareness Week November 5th – 9th we need to revisit the situation in our schools with teachers and school leaders under ever increasing stress. In August 2017 I wrote in this column about the escalating problems of low teacher morale as a result of budget cuts, increasing ...

Parents Giving Children a Helping Hand

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 16/11/2018 The closer involvement of parents in their children’s education is now accepted as an important success factor in pupil achievement. As a result we are seeing television advertisements composed by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland promoting greater input from parents. The Department o...

Should Smart Phones be Banned in Schools?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 05/10/2018 Rory Smith, writing for CNN on July 31, 2018 explores the implications of a new law in France which decrees that children aged between three and fifteen will not be able to use their mobile phones during school hours. The ruling affects both students in primary and middle schools and means that the...

School Funding Crisis: Where to Next?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 17/09/2018 As schools return to begin the new school year Head Teachers are undoubtedly focused on how they can continue to deliver the high standard of education that Northern Ireland expects with significantly less money in their budgets. The Belfast Telegraph highlighted the issue on 20th June reporting th...

Addressing Mental Health Issues in Schools

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 14/05/2018 Writing in The Irish News on March 27th 2018 Leona O Neill highlights the alarming statistics that almost 300 suicides occurred in Northern Ireland last year and that 10% of school children under 16 have been diagnosed with a mental health issue. The article points out that schools can obviously p...

The Challenges of Dealing with Parents in Conflict Situations

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 16/04/2018 One of the most challenging aspects of school leadership is dealing with parents in conflict situations. It may once have been the expectation that when problems arose with a pupil, parents would sit in an embarrassed silence in the head’s office and hear what they should do with their erring offsp...

The Benefits to Northern Ireland of Inclusion and Supporting Learning

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 26/03/2018 The EASNIE report commissioned by the European Parliament in 2017 to examine the issue of inclusive education for learners with disabilities highlights the imperative for educational systems to provide high-quality education for all children. The study found that those with disabilities or social...