We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

Principals unsure on handling slacker teachers – MHC survey

02 Jun 2023 / EMPLOYMENT Print

Principals are unsure on handling slacker teachers

Seven out of ten school leaders do not feel confident managing staff under-performance, according to a new survey by Mason Hayes & Curran. 

The business law firm, which hosts Ireland’s largest dedicated education law team, polled 285 educators and school leaders at a recent webinar on recruiting and managing school staff.

The event discussed the potential pitfalls of recruitment, contracts, dealing with under-performance, and possible disciplinary proceedings.

The survey also found that teachers, more so than any other category of staff, present the biggest challenge in terms of managing under-performance (51%).

However, 81% believe that the child safeguarding procedures for vetting staff are adequate. 


Education partner Catherine Kelly said: “Managing under-performance is always challenging for school leaders.

“We have seen a lot of litigation over the last number of years, and it is an increasingly complex area for schools to navigate. It is important for management to monitor the ongoing performance of staff and to have robust contracts, policies and procedures in place when it comes to disciplinary issues.”

David Ruddy, barrister and training consultant for Mason Hayes & Curran, added: “It is crucial that under-performance issues are addressed as soon as possible. 

“Early intervention can often minimise the risk of having to escalate matters through formal disciplinary channels. It is also critically important as part of fair procedures that everyone has a right of appeal.” 

Survey results

1.    Which of the below do you find most challenging managing under performance in?

  • Teaching staff – 51%,
  • Special needs assistants – 26%,
  • Ancillary staff (cleaners/caretakers) – 22%,
  • Bus escorts – 2%.

2.    Would you feel confident in addressing under-performance issues involving staff? 

  • No – 70%. 
  • Yes – 30%,

3.    Do you feel that the child safeguarding procedures for vetting staff are adequate?

  • Yes – 81%,
  • No – 19%.
Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland