Professional Learning

This section contains information on the professional learning programmes and events for school leadership.


What is Misneach? 

Misneach is a two-year personal and professional development programme for Newly Appointed Principals (NAPs) developed by Oide Leadership. 

The word ‘Misneach’ derives from the Irish word for courage, spirit, and fortitude. The Misneach programme seeks to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and qualities of beginning school leaders, empowering them to respond effectively to the realities of managing and leading in the Irish school context. 

Misneach helps NAPs develop the confidence to translate principle into practice and in developing this confidence, the notions of ‘being challenged’ and of ‘becoming challenging’ are promoted. Through working collaboratively and engaging with the language of leadership, the NAPs develop a map for their professional lives. 

During the Misneach programme participants will have numerous opportunities, both formally and informally, to share experiences, build collegiality and network with other participants who are in the early stages of their career as a school leader. 

This sharing of learning and experiences with peers, facilitated and supported by the Oide Leadership team of experienced principals, is invaluable and will be of great personal and professional support to you as you transition into your new role. 

Registration onto the Misneach programme also means that the NAP will get formal mentoring support by an Oide mentor to support them in their first year in their role. The vision of mentoring is that of a community of school leaders, who feel supported and valued as professionals, and who work in schools where mentoring is part of the culture of the organisation. 

Programme Overview

The themes explored during the Misneach programme relate directly to the leadership profile. The programme is also aligned with the Leadership and Management dimension of the quality framework for primary schools (Looking At Our Schools 2022) and reflects close attention to each of the four domains: 

  • Leading teaching and learning
  • Managing the organisation
  • Leading school development
  • Developing leadership capacity.

The following content is explored during the Misneach programme:

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The Misneach application form can be accessed by clicking here.


Tánaiste – Professional Learning Programme for Newly Appointed Deputy Principals 

Tánaiste is a one-year professional development programme for newly appointed Deputy Principals facilitated by Oide, the support service for teachers and school leaders. It is a fully funded Department of Education programme which aims to build on the leadership capacity of newly appointed Deputy Principals.  

Tánaiste is closely aligned to the dimensions, domains, and standards of Looking at Our School 2022, the quality framework for Primary Schools and Special Schools. The Looking at Our School framework is reflected throughout the key messages of the Tánaiste programme which include: 

  • the role of Deputy Principal occupies a position of strategic importance in the leadership, management, and administration of the school
  • partnership between Principals and Deputy Principals is characterised by collaborative decision-making and collective responsibility
  • distributed Leadership involves building and maintaining relationships, a culture of empowerment, a shared vision, a shared ownership of this vision and responsibility
  • effective leadership is always guided by the school’s core work: learning and teaching 
  • professional development involves the ongoing acquisition of knowledge, promoting a culture of self-reflection and professional collaboration
  • Deputy Principals have a central role leading a culture of change.

In its facilitation, Tánaiste both supports and challenges participants by building the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for leading and managing Irish primary schools. Relevant leadership and management themes are explored with valuable opportunities provided to share experiences, discuss, and reflect upon theory and facilitate exploration of different perspectives. Participants are afforded the opportunity to seek reassurance and voice concerns with other newly appointed Deputy Principals. 

The Tánaiste programme also provides opportunities, through two online afternoon engagements, for the Deputy Principal and Principal to come together to build and develop a shared leadership approach for their school.  

Professional sustainability in the role of Deputy Principal is promoted throughout the Tánaiste programme. 

Programme Overview

The following content is explored during the Tánaiste programme:

Tanaiste Programme Overview 2023 2024 1

The Tánaiste application form can be accessed by clicking here.


Programme Overview

Comhar is a fully funded Department of Education programme for middle leaders and explores the leadership themes of vision, culture, role, leadership of learning and teaching, change, communication, conflict and sustainability. The Looking at Our School 2022 quality framework is utilised throughout the programme to explore high-quality teaching, learning and leadership. Comhar affords newly appointed Assistant Principals the opportunity to consider demands in the context of current challenges and supports school leaders to build skills, knowledge and attitudes through reflection on practice, dialogue and school initiatives.

You can also contact for further information.  

The following content is explored during the Comhar programme:

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Who is eligible for this programme? 

This programme is for Assistant Principals from both primary and post-primary sectors who have recently been appointed.

What if I am appointed after the 1st of September? 

If you are a late appointee, contact for information. 

Do I have to pay for Comhar? 

Comhar is funded by the Department of Education. 


The Forbairt Programme

This one-year programme provides school leadership teams with an opportunity to reflect upon and improve their ways of working together. 

The programme encourages participants to deeply reflect upon their current professional practice, both individually and importantly as part of a school leadership team. This is achieved through an exploration of leadership theory, as it relates to current Department of Education requirements for schools. 

The Forbairt programme is a blended programme involves participation in a number of learning processes including collaborative online and face to face professional learning experiences, action learning communities of practice together with other schools and engagement with relevant research.   

As part of the programme, senior leadership teams are also encouraged and supported to consider an aspect of their current work in their schools as a purposeful stimulus for collaborative leadership learning, to enable sustainable improvements in leadership practices. 

Programme Overview

The following content is explored during the Forbairt programme: 

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Applications for our 2024/2025 programme will open soon with a link on this page.

School Self Evaluation

School Self Evaluation – SSE

School Self Evaluation is a process of internal, collaborative review that is focused on school improvement. The review is informed by relevant, reliable evidence and data that communicates the perspectives of key stakeholders in the school community in relation to the learning experiences of the children and information on how the children are doing in their learning.  

The SSE process is a way of working that supports schools in considering questions at a whole school level such as: 

  • How are we doing? 
  • How do we know? 
  • What can we learn from what we are doing well? 
  • What areas of practice can we develop further to support improvement in teaching and learning and pupil outcomes and how do we do this?  

Schools use a six-step approach to support their consideration of these questions and move them towards an actionable plan to achieve the needed improvements.  

SSE 6 Step

The Oide Support Service assists teachers and school leaders through provision of seminars and school support visits that engage teachers and leaders in professional conversations on the why, what and how of SSE.  

Schools are guided on how to use the six-step process as a way of working to identify the needs that exist in their own school contexts, the actions required that will meet these needs and consideration of how schools will monitor their work so that their actions are as impactful as possible.   

Oide Professional Learning Leaders (PLLs) can work with schools through a sustained support model to meet the diverse and bespoke needs of the school. This support is offered over a period of time as part of a deliberately planned process involving the staff working together towards clear collaboratively defined goals.  

Applications for our 2024/2025 support in SSE will open soon with a link on this page.


Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools – DEIS

The vision of the DEIS Plan 2017 is “for education to more fully become a proven pathway to better opportunities for those in communities at risk of disadvantage and social exclusion” (Pg. 6) 

Oide provides a suite of supports to teachers and leaders in DEIS schools in relation to DEIS action planning for improvement. This support can enable schools to lead a collaborative whole school process, to meet the diverse and bespoke needs of their school context. 

Oide Supports to DEIS schools: 

DEIS Seminars: (available to newly appointed Principals and Deputy Principals in DEIS schools and leaders in schools with newly assigned DEIS status since 2022) 

Oide provides a series of three seminars (1 online and 2 face to face engagements) that support school leaders to explore: 

  • the key messages of DEIS and the DEIS Action Planning process 
  • considerations for schools as they engage with action planning for improvement across the DEIS themes 
  • the use of the six step SSE process to develop a robust DEIS plan that is responsive to the needs of the pupils 
  • key documents and research that inform and support a school’s engagement with DEIS action planning for improvement

DEIS Seminars: (available to leaders in schools with newly assigned DEIS status since 2017) 

Oide provides an online seminar for leaders in schools with more experience of DEIS to support their on-going development in the DEIS Action Planning Process 

School Support for DEIS Schools: (available to all DEIS schools) 

Contextualized school support during/after school hours is available in DEIS action planning. 

An Oide Professional Learning Leader (PLL) can work with your school in a number of ways 

  • Working with whole staffs 
  • Working with groups of teachers
  • Working with school leaders (Principals, Deputy Principals, Assistant Principals) 

Oide Professional Learning Leaders (PLLs) can also offer sustained school support to meet the diverse and bespoke needs of the school. This support is offered over a period of time, as part of a deliberately planned process involving the staff working together towards clear collaboratively defined goals. This model is particularly suitable for DEIS Action planning where schools use evidence to identify priority areas and set targets and actions for improvement through the lens of the DEIS themes. 

Applications for our 2024/2025 support in DEIS will open soon with a link on this page.


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