The School Of No Shame

at

headfort

Headfort School, Kells, Co Meath

A private school which charges fees of over €10,000 per year for day pupils has advertised for two teachers via JobBridge.

Via ‘Voice For The Teachers’ blog:

Headfort School, based in Kells Co. Meath, charges day pupils over 10 years old fees of €3,365 per term – with additional charges for music, tennis, swimming, riding and other activities. But on Wednesday last , the school advertised for two JobBridge positions – ‘European Languages / Sports Teacher (primary school)’ and ‘Irish Language / Sports Teacher (primary school)’.

The ads on the JobBridge website require that applicants have “…a B. Ed, or a Graduate/Higher Diploma in Education (Primary) or similar qualification from overseas” and that they “…must be dedicated to children coming first, be able to inspire and motivate, and be interested in the education of children…. punctual, flexible, diligent and hardworking.”

Clearly however, having an interest in social justice or believing in the concept of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work would rule somebody out of contention. Believing that exploitation in the workplace is wrong would appear to run contrary to the ethos this school aspires to.

Fee-paying private school seeks to exploit teachers via JobBridge (VoiceForTeachers)

Pic: Irish Georgian Society

62 thoughts on “The School Of No Shame

  1. Mr. T.

    If was was paying €10,000 a year to school my child, I’d want fully qualified and well paid teachers on a good salary.

    Boarding schools are so handy for selfish emotionally distant parents who don’t really want to have their kids around much.

    1. Dave

      That is not always the case. I went to boarding school because my mother, who loved me dearly, feared I might get killed or maimed by my father, or vice versa.

      1. cjl101@hotmail.com

        Only someone who never scraped a few bob together to send their child off to a Gaeltach or summer camp or boarding school could say such a stupid thing.

    2. Freya

      As someone that has been to headfort I can assure you that the teachers were all fully qualified and enjoyed working in such a lovely environment which I guarantee would not be felt in inner City Dublin, for example. In context of Dermot Dix writing an ad on this website, he made a mistake because he didn’t properly research the website, which can happen online. He apologised and explained himself after taking down the ad which I feel is the mature thing to do, unlike your bitter and unnecessary comments.
      Secondly, in relation to your extremely stereotypical and incorrect view of boarding schools, I can only assume that you are bitter. You have absolutely no idea why some parents decide to send their children to boarding schools, and whilst in some cases this may be done because of difficult parent/ child relationships, I can assure you that the reasons vary quite differently. Many parents send their children away to board at a young age, like mine did, in order for them to become independent and confident from a young age. Headfort was an amazing place to attend, due to it’s beautiful surroundings and the dedication from teachers, who I can assure you, were paid fairly and looked after by the school. After attending boarding schools throughout my entire education, I can guarantee that if I hadn’t gone to them, I would have been an entirely different person due to the life lessons I have learned throughout my time there. It would be different to say that children at day schools are staying at home because they are being doted on by mummy and daddy, who couldn’t bear to be parted with their darling child and therefore making them dependant and clingy, but the reality is nowadays that not all of us can send our children to boarding schools. So if you would kindly look at your little comment from both perspectives, you might think again before you launch into some ridiculous generalisation about boarding schools and ‘selfish’ parents, who I know only have their children’s best interests at heart.

    3. Ram

      I’m sorry but I went to headfort myself because they can do wonderful things that my previous school couldn’t. I was sent because I have Asperger’s syndrome and I needed help with that, also I wasnt able to move up a year and I was older and brighter than all the other kids in my class. The staff are wonderful and I can assure you that they enjoy working and to some of them living there too. It is a wonderful school for wonderful children, we are not snobby.

  2. H

    Just shows what a joke JobBridge is, how can they demand that level of qualifications for posts that are supposed to give people entry level experience?

  3. peckerhead

    Because there are sufficient numbers of unemployed schoolteachers desperate enough to accept their terms, I guess. The finest schools in my area have been working the JobBridge scheme for, oh, yonks!

  4. Talismania!

    I’d be nervous about the motivations of a person that would take a job working around kids for that amount of pay.

    1. Mysterybeat

      By that logic, you would be more concerned with the motivations of a homeless person eating food from a bin, than by their inability to afford to buy food.

    2. scottser

      i’d be more worried for the teacher when the kids find out they’re on a job-bridge programme.

  5. Truth in the News

    Is there a list of the user’s of JobBridge avaiable from the Dept and are some
    sections of the media taking part in what is an cheap employment scheme funded
    by the taxpayer…..how come the political classes are not employed at the same
    rates…….?

  6. The Old Boy

    Actually, once this gets around, the parents will have fits. People who pay that amount to educate their children feels it bestows them with the right to telephone the masters and demand that little Tarquin is so much better than the other sprogs and should be reading Dostoevsky, preferably in the original. They won’t stand for their children’s precious little minds being sullied by the tutelage of people who have to sign on at a labour exchange.

  7. Hicksonian

    I was out running and passed the school this morning. A Porsche 911 was careering out of its gates and nearly drove into me. The gent driving was on a micro phone and had an equally tasteful set of horn rimmed designer glasses. I was face to face with the squeezed 1% and he looked a little shook. Maybe he just read this post and was onto his accountant for the 52% tax back on the fees.

    1. I actually went there

      Whoever wrote this article 110% never went there, people giving out about the fees and teachers. I went there and was learning geography from the best teacher ever, I was so ahead of my class when I went to first year I had nothing new to learn in terms of physical geography at all in Junior cert other than glaciers (which you can do coastal instead which I did know).
      Everyone I know that went there loved it, and to everyone saying “those parents don’t love their children” there was nothing I loved more than sleeping over with my friends every night, you can actually mature and grow up, now in secondary when we’re going on school trips day-pupil friends are homesick and calling their parents every night when they go abroad, how’s that mature?
      Hands down it was the best primary school ever and offered double what any other primary school could ever offer. (And I didn’t always go to Headfort so I know what public schools are like).

  8. Daisy Chainsaw

    Maybe we should give a heads up to Unemployableed Primary School Teacher Peter O’Loughlin.

  9. Kieran NYC

    They need to set a timeline for wrapping up Jobsbridge/changing it into an actual training/apprenticeship scheme sooner rather than later.

  10. Dermot Dix

    From Dermot Dix at Headfort:
    (From my VfT post)

    I have taken down the Jobbridge listings — but it was never my intention to displace teachers from jobs. Headfort does not actually have vacancies: no teachers have left or retired, and our enrollment numbers have not gone up. We receive no state subvention, unlike private secondary schools. My notion was to bring in some young people for intern-type positions where they might gain some useful experience and also help enrich the experience of the children, working part-time and for a short duration. We don’t have the funds right now to add to the full-time staff, but knowing that there are no doubt many people out there who would find it interesting to spend time in an environment like Headfort and who would bring a lot of passion with them into the position, that was what inclined me to use the scheme. I had heard a number of stories whereby a Jobbridge placement led to a good job.

    I cannot say strongly enough how opposed I am to any form of exploitation, in schools or in any context. It is not just contrary to Headfort’s ethos, but also to its daily practices. Having read some of the postings on the Voice for Teachers forum, I see that many teachers are strongly opposed to Jobbridge. Perhaps I simply did not know enough about the scheme and debates about it. Some views about my listings have been expressed quite punchily. My own sense of self would lead me to say that I would never act in a ‘shameful’ or ‘disgraceful’ way, but this is not the place for bruised feelings or self justification! I do trust teachers’ instincts, and I particularly thank those of you who have written emails directly to me, in several cases expressing carefully considered views. As a result of this feedback, I am pulling back from thinking of using the scheme for sourcing teachers.

    Let me close by inviting all of you to visit me at Headfort if you are ever passing close by.

    Yours,
    Dermot Dix, Headfort

    1. Local

      Wonderful reply, I have heard only good things about the school and yourself.
      Unfortunately it is often the case on various websites that the worst in people comes out when voicing an opinion on topics they may or may not be fully clued in on. I know of many people who would only love to have experienced working at Headfort.
      All the best

    2. fishbiscutte

      How did he not know how the job bridge scheme is run (lies)!! – I would not be sending my kids to a school where I would be expected to fork out €10k a year and the principal does not do his research before hiring teachers! He just made himself look like an incompetent idiot!
      What a load of bull, he got caught out advertising for cheap labour while the profits line the board members pockets. Anyone that thinks otherwise and buys in to this pile of S**T is as educated as the kids at this pompous school are by the sounds of it. I wonder the education levels of the other teachers in this school – I imagine they are pretty low, but sure what harm these little spoiled brats probably don’t even know how to dress themselves in the morning without a helping hand of the hired help.

      1. Dermot Dix

        It’s seems that to you I am either lying or incompetent. Well, if I had to choose one I would (in this instance) go with incompetent, though I hope that it is a rare example — but I should leave that for others, who know me, to judge. I am not lying; I did not know that JobBridge is a scheme that has been abused. I knew very little about the scheme. I should have found out, that is true, so mea culpa. But I would remind you: we don’t actually have vacancies — no teachers have left or retired, and our numbers have not gone up. Still, I should have found out that JobBridge is best steered clear of.

        Some points about Headfort. First: it is a non-profit. There are no dividends lining anybody’s pockets. Second, I would hold that it is far from a pompous school, and that its staff are not pompous people. Third, the children are not spoiled brats. The vast majority of them are lively, full of interest in the world and their own education, great fun. I suspect, however, that the only way to persuade you of all this is to show you the school. Think about it — you’d be welcome to visit.

        1. Continuity Jay-Z

          I believe you. You and the type of people that attend that school have never seen a day’s want in your lives and nobody connected to your school would ever have had to debase themselves for €50 extra per week on the dole. You belong to a cossetted elite who have been fully inoculated from the crushing reality of recession Ireland. It is well for you.

          Your lack of knowledge about the Job-Bridge Scheme is just a clear indicator that your school has no connection with the country in which it resides. The myriad of problems Irish society faces every waking minute are simply non existent to you and your school.

          Here is a suggestion: give four or five full ride scholarship to disadvantaged children instead and learn from THEIR experiences. You might find it an altogether more enriching pursuit.

          1. Dermot Dix

            In response to Continuity Jay-Z:

            Headfort does indeed provide scholarships/bursaries (both full and partial) to children from families that could not afford full fees — and we have been doing it for years, going back well before the downturn in 2008. The truth is, both the school and the people who work in it (teachers, cleaners, matrons, cooks, maintenance staff, office workers) have been very much affected by the recession in Ireland.

            As to awareness: are you yourself aware of EVERY SINGLE instance of societal problems and flawed governmental schemes? I am not saying this in order to absolve myself — clearly, JobBridge is one of those schemes that should have featured more prominently in my own awareness of Ireland’s current plight. But not to have known the ins and outs of the scheme does not mean that I and the rest of Headfort’s staff are blissfully cossetted from the country’s problems.

            The school itself, though it is non-profit, has to ‘wipe its feet’ economically like any other small business — not plain sailing in these times (unlike private secondary schools, not one of our teachers is paid by the government). We have made remarkable — and successful — efforts to save jobs, protect wages, and stay on top of our game generally. Yes, there are some wealthy families who have sent children to Headfort. But many of the families who enroll their children, far from being drawn from the elite in the way you might assume they are, have made palpable sacrifices in order to give them a strong start.

      2. Max

        A Reply to fishbiscutte (biscuit*) from a former student with an undoubtedly more qualified opinion on the above subject matter
        Firstly, I do hope for your sake sir/madame that you were having a particularly bad afternoon when you decided to go on your little tirade against a school (and it’s incumbent Headmaster) that you obviously know nothing about. If this was indeed the case, a simple apology will suffice. If however the above was not the case, the first word that comes to mind is pity. Pity for a person who finds the need to fall back on naive stereotypes for lack of any other greater wisdom or higher judgement.
        Secondly, In reference to two of your more obtuse, insensible and quite frankly birdbrained assumptions – those assumptions being a) the education levels of teaching staff currently at Headfort’s disposal, and of course b) those “little spoiled brats” who have come through the place (at least nobody could question your ability to hold bias at bay!!! cough cough) – I simply say this the teachers at the school do an outstanding job, whether it is in class, on the sports fields, or during everyday school life. As for being a “spoiled little brat” , I simply ask your shoe size. Come back to me after you have walked 10 miles in my shoes, or that of countless other headfort students, then we will discuss my father parenting skills, and my status as a so called “spoiled little brat”.
        On another note, next time you go out of your way to air your thoughts and insult people about whom you know nothing, (please though spare us all and keep them to yourself) at least take the time to read over your work and remove punctuation errors.
        You need some sort of pause after “harm” and after “helping hand” it should be from the hired help. e.g. “but sure what harm. These little spoiled brats probably don’t even know how to dress themselves in the morning without a helping hand from the hired help.”
        Doubtless you were tired after so much writing, after all 148 words sure is an awful lot of words!!
        Fear not fishbiscutte (biscuit*) like i said we will put it down to your having a bad day that’s all.
        M’OB

        1. Dermot Dix

          Max, it’s good to know that you (and others) have such a positive sense of what Headfort gave you. But beware of getting into grammar disputes — my own posting has a mistake in the very first sentence! Stick to issues….

  11. Dermot Di

    On the Porsche 911: how could it be a parent of a Headfort child in early August?! You drove past a gate that leads to houses that are next to the school, you did not actually drive past the school gates.

  12. Anthony

    It does not surprise me that they offer less in te way of remuneration in Kells, I have lived in the area for over ten years and despite being qualified in another area was only offered a low ball salary under the Heath board scales. Therefore I have worked and travelled to Dublin ever since. Qed, etc

  13. Jane

    Emm, interesting comments!!! And maybe a little misguided. Firstly as someone who used Job bridge in my capacity in a leading global organisation based in Dublin where we sourced some really talented people who wanted experience in an organisation such as the one I worked for, the experience gained was invaluable and in a lot of cases led to permanent positions and great careers! Job bridge is a wonderful opportunity for some one to get their foot in the door, and having sent my own children to the Montessori at Headford School, I think anyone would love the opportunity to gain experience with such a well established school, this offers great opportunities for that person and now possible taken away due to lack of understanding of the scheme and potential opportunities for that person!!! I hope this opportunity remains open for someone desperately seeking an opportunity! Just a thought!!!!

  14. Stephen Quigley

    Do you not think that because there are so many teachers out of job in Ireland, a lot of unemployed teachers would do this job just to be in a school for a while and get experience. I don’t think that Jobbridge is the right avenue to be exploring for their kind of job advert.

  15. Eliza H

    As a previous Headfort student with nothing but fond memories of my time there, I can say that it is not a dumping ground for parents who do not care about their children, nor, in reply to ‘fluffybiscuits’ is it a breeding ground for ‘fupping snot rags’, whatever they may be. My parents sent me to Headfort for two years after I spent 6 years at my local national school- not because they snobbishly believed me to be above the local school, but because they like everyone else have to work to make their living, and at that time their work meant they had to travel a lot.
    At Headfort students are encouraged, by both teachers and peers to embrace their own individuality, and during my time there both my independence and self confidence increased hugely.
    Dermot Dix is a fantastic headmaster who students can both trust and relate to and should not be judged a ‘liar’ or ‘incompetent’ by those who do not know him.
    I feel very lucky to have had the chance to be a student at Headfort, and am truly grateful to my parents for sacrificing what they did to allow me to have that opportunity. I would encourage those reading this article to reserve their judgement until they know what it is they are judging, not not make their mind up based on a single man driving a Porsche, or on the small minded and stereotyped views of other commenters.

  16. Jasmine B

    After attending Headfort for 2 years I can soundly say that the school does not exploit anyone. I have found that in today’s world it is very difficult to find a job if you have not had longstanding experience in a similar role. Your C.V is in the bin within 5 seconds even if you were the ideal candidate for the job. Headfort is offering people such an experience in a wonderful setting with children and staff who really appreciate where they are. Instead of sneering I belive that people should think of those that such an opportunity will benefit.

    Perhaps the advertising could have been researched more, something for which Mr. Dix has apologised for. However if anyone’s research is being pulled into question it should be those who are making grand sweeping statements about Headfort based on a steryorypical and outdated view of a boarding school. Take Mr. Dix up on his offer visit the school and then if you still have an issue voice it. I assure you it will be hard not to be enchanted by this incredible place.

  17. Max O'B.

    A Reply to fishbiscutte (biscuit*) from a former student with an undoubtedly more qualified opinion on the above subject matter
    Firstly, I do hope for your sake sir/madame that you were having a particularly bad afternoon when you decided to go on your little tirade against a school (and it’s incumbent Headmaster) that you obviously know nothing about. If this was indeed the case, a simple apology will suffice. If however the above was not the case, the first word that comes to mind is pity. Pity for a person who finds the need to fall back on naive stereotypes for lack of any other greater wisdom or higher judgement.
    Secondly, In reference to two of your more obtuse, insensible and quite frankly birdbrained assumptions – those assumptions being a) the education levels of teaching staff currently at Headfort’s disposal, and of course b) those “little spoiled brats” who have come through the place (at least nobody could question your ability to hold bias at bay!!! cough cough) – I simply say this the teachers at the school do an outstanding job, whether it is in class, on the sports fields, or during everyday school life. As for being a “spoiled little brat” , I simply ask your shoe size. Come back to me after you have walked 10 miles in my shoes, or that of countless other headfort students, then we will discuss my father parenting skills, and my status as a so called “spoiled little brat”.
    On another note, next time you go out of your way to air your thoughts and insult people about whom you know nothing, (please though spare us all and keep them to yourself) at least take the time to read over your work and remove punctuation errors.
    You need some sort of pause after “harm” and after “helping hand” it should be from the hired help. e.g. “but sure what harm. These little spoiled brats probably don’t even know how to dress themselves in the morning without a helping hand from the hired help.”
    Doubtless you were tired after so much writing, after all 148 words sure is an awful lot of words!!
    Fear not fishbiscutte (biscuit*) like i said we will put it down to your having a bad day that’s all.
    M’OB

    Reply ↓

  18. dereviled

    Even apprentices get paid.
    Exploiting people because others are unemployed is shameful and inexcusable.

  19. Cian

    Whatever the pros and cons of the school are, they certainly have a very active past pupils network! I’ve never seen so many people jump to defend anyone/anything in my years on broadsheet.

  20. Josh M

    A lot of words like ‘exploiting’ being thrown around here, no one was forcing anyone to take the job! If you were looking for a job from a financial point of view, it’s pretty obvious this job wasn’t for you, so don’t take it. More over it’s evidently for the experience, especially for people fresh out of their third level education. It’s a large responsibility being a teacher and i imagine this experience would be a good way of finding your feet and confidence. Is work experience in transition year not the very similar? How many of you complaining would call work experience exploitation and prevent your own children from partaking?

    1. dereviled

      For instance: I worked after leaving school.
      Because I paid tax I didn’t qualify for a grant.
      Because I didn’t get a grant, I worked night and day to pay for college (literally- I worked for six months as a night porter in a hotel and went to lectures each morning before dragging myself home for shut-eye before doing it all again)
      ‘Fresh out of college’ I was far more determined and experienced than many of my colleagues, but by necessity I didn’t have the grades I could have earned.
      And you expect me to continue without even a minimum wage to pay my food and bills?
      How am I to enter an industry far from home without support or wages?
      You don’t qualify for Scambridge until you have been on the dole for ages.
      What a ridiculous system.
      The Transition Year reference is wholly irrelevant.
      For openers, here’s Forbes magazine on the subject:
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/01/16/why-your-unpaid-internship-makes-you-less-employable/

    2. dereviled

      Part Deux.
      A job worth doing is worth paying for.
      All of these jobs are now under Jokebridge:
      Hotels, bars, restaurants, shops.
      Bleedin’ filling-stations.
      I learned to be affable and pleasant real quick and made a lot of money.
      For my employers while earning a minimum wage. The proof of the pudding is in the envelope at Christmas.
      X no. of pupils means Y no. of teachers means Zed-loads of wages so pay up.
      My family has always fund-raised for schools and sports; that is for heat and light and wages are seperate and not your whim.
      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/05/in-defense-of-unpaid-internships/257000/

    3. dereviled

      Uimhir a Trí.
      I believe internships are more suitable for the Dark Arts of politicking or PR where a raw recruit wil cost you money with a faux pas or missed phone call. You make money when you get a client to sign cheques. And that may take years just like college. Some firms charge families to take their child.
      LeCorbusier, for instance, but I don’t expect the dole to subsidise every local Big Wheel at the cost of potentially thousands of workers.
      +€50 is supposed to cover transport and laundry and the extra food and we’re not talking of sitting in some air-conditioned hive.
      I’m glad to see Headfort is a fine school with active and involved parents. I wouldn’t like to see a prestigious name set a precedent for abuse of the system.
      http://www.broadsheet.ie/2015/01/29/meanwhile-in-donegal-6/
      I know a couple of people who went to college on the dole and they’re working now, for a wage.
      They’re not on the dole. They’re working.

  21. SchoolParent

    I have two children at Headfort. I was not a big fan of private schools and I’m certainly not a high earner, but my son was struggling after three years at the local national school, where his teacher was teaching 30 kids from 3 different years (1st/2nd/3rd class). My son was battling with lack of concentration, was a year behind on his reading age, and was being easily distracted from studying. Worst of all, he was unhappy.

    I looked around for an alternative and found Headfort, and I read the Headmaster’s letter http://www.headfort.com/letter-from-the-headmaster/ in which he talks about the children and finishes the letter with this line: “Quite simply, they love the place, and, at the end of their time with us, pupils tend to leave Headfort as thoughtful, confident, well-rounded young people.” I knew straight away that this was where I wanted my two children to go to school.

    I also knew that we couldn’t afford the fees for one child let alone two, so I contacted Mr Dix about the possibility of a bursary, and found him to be open, approachable and receptive to receiving a bursary application for my kids. Well, they got a bursary. And a couple of years on, they are still at Headfort, and they love it. And my son now reads three years ahead of his age. And he’s so happy at Headfort that he can’t wait to go back to school.

    Yes, the fees at Headfort are high. Yes, it’s private, but unlike private secondary schools they get no support from the State. Yes, the headmaster may have made a mistake with his Jobbridge ads, but that doesn’t justify such a ferocious attack on both him and the school from some commentators here.

    Private schools work for many people for different reasons and it’s not just for the wealthy. There are many good folk out there who, like us, are saving every penny to send their children to private schools – at both primary and secondary level – in Ireland. We love our kids just as much as parents who send their children to state schools.

  22. The Real Jane

    It’s refreshing to see such support for the old school, eh, fellows? Who knew there were so many satisfied Old Headfordians on this site? And such levels of satisfaction! This must be one top drawer institution looking to employ teachers by mistake on a widely advertised scheme that they didn’t know about and didn’t need.

    Also, shut up, hayterz. You hate us because you ain’t us.

  23. Hicksonian

    Just looked back on this thread today. Hands up on the Porsche 911. Irish public schoolboy error, as school’s out now. It must have been one of the residents in the boutique apartments you helped develop on your land 20 years ago. Not many schools in Ireland have access to an isolated woodland for exclusive celebrity diggs. Forgive me for mistaking the wrong member of the 1%, sitting pretty behind their gated community.

    1. Dermot Dix

      In reply to Hicksonian:

      The school had nothing to do with developing the houses and apartments in Headfort Demesne. The school owns no land at all — it is a tenant now, it was a tenant 20 years ago, it was always a tenant (with different landlords at different times). In fact more than once a landlord expressed interest in evicting the school from the premises.

  24. Hicksonian

    Evictions from the Big House will always carry the public’s sympathy. All I’ve heard is that Headfort School famously charges the highest annual fees of all primary schools in Ireland, which suggests a balance sheet that isn’t under threat. Apologies for not researching the landholding arangement before making the comment.

    1. Dermot Dix

      The school’s balance sheet has always been precarious; we receive no state funding, and all wages (the bulk of the school’s costs) are paid for by fee income. Yes, fees are high; but we have been lowering them and also raising money to spend on bursaries to support increasing numbers of children from families who cannot afford full fees. Things are not always what they seem.

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