Up-to-date road map to navigate the journey of school leadership

Monday, 8th April 2019

As a post-primary language teacher, I had always known I would return to education but had never quite found an area of study, which interested me. With nearly 15 years teaching experience behind me, I came across the Professional Diploma in School Leadership in the University of Limerick. What appealed to me was the focus on various aspects of school leadership. I found the modules progressive and on point in relation to the current trends in education. As a University of Limerick graduate, I relished the opportunity to return once again to my Alma Mater!

As part of the programme, I had the opportunity to visit another school as well as an organisation outside education.

“Getting different leadership perspectives and experiencing other working cultures were crucially beneficial for my critical reflection on what is vital for successful leadership.”

Exploring various facets of leadership both in industry and education brought me to the realisation that, at a fundamental level, leadership is about people irrespective of the organisation. In my experience the most successful leaders invest time in establishing strong working relationships based on mutual respect and professionality. Meeting colleagues from the primary sector developed my appreciation of both the educational journey of my students and the similarities and differences facing primary and post primary school leaders.

Fitting my studies in around a busy work and home life was the most challenging aspect of completing the PDSL programme. Good time management and organisational skills eased my transition to returning to education. My laptop bag was always at my side so I could steal 30 minutes or an hour to do some reading, watch a lecture or work on an assignment.  

"The smaller blocks of time added up over the course of the weeks and semesters, and helped me keep on top of the workload”.

I invested in a diary with plenty of room for my to-do lists which I ticked off as I went. Especially attractive for me was the delivery structure of the PDSL. The blended learning aspect of the course helped minimise the disruption to my working week as the online sessions could be attended from home.

The PDSL programme equipped me with the language required for modern school leadership. It highlighted the competencies and skills required for success as a school leader.  As a teacher and a member of the leadership team in a start-up secondary school, I have benefited from many aspects of the PDSL programme: establishing a professional learning community and a positive school culture; gathering, interpreting and using data effectively for strategic planning and school development; mentoring and coaching; leading learning and teaching.

In my opinion, the PDSL is a perfect fit for those looking for a modern, up-to-date road map to navigate the journey of school leadership!

Liz Shinners, PDSL

The Post Graduate Diploma in School Leadership is available to teachers nationwide and part funded by the Department of Education and Skills. The programme is supported by the Centre for School Leadership. 

Department of Education and Skills

The programme is a partnership between the University of Limerick, National University of Ireland Galway, University College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology. 

Academic Partners

For more information, please visit https://www.ul.ie/pdsl