Every year, Educate Together organise a conference for its principals and we get to meet and learn from each other. It’s always a brilliant conference and one of the best sessions, this year, was when three principals spoke about a certain aspect of their school.
One of these principals has done something amazing. Fintan McCutcheon, the principal of Balbriggan ETNS runs a “principal blog”. Every so often he writes articles about things that interest him in his school and in his community. For example, Fintan discusses how his school uses his pupils in decision making around hiring teachers and reasons why they offer after-school clubs. Effectively, he has opened up his own vision of education to the world. So, what is the effect of this?
Fintan explained that he is now engaged in really interesting discussions at the school gates with parents who have read his blog. Even the postman reads his thoughts and chats to him about them. In fact, some of his posts give perspectives of issues that are difficult to find elsewhere. For example, Fintan explains the differences between Educate Together schools and the new VEC primary schools being piloted. It’s very hard to find this information on the Internet and Fintan has found himself engaged in more interesting conversations as a result, especially as a new VEC school is opening in September in Balbriggan.
However, perhaps poignantly, the death of Toyosi Shittabey earlier this year, has opened Balbriggan Educate Together to a wider community. Although only 3 people publicly commented on the blog, Fintan said he has been approached in person by many many people he has never had the opportunity to speak with before. It has opened up his own school community in a massive way.
I would love to start up a principal blog in my own school. I am inspired by what Fintan has achieved with broadcasting his own thoughts and involving the wider community in his school and his town. It would be great to see other principals doing this.
To read Fintan’s blog visit: http://balbrigganetns.wordpress.com