Tánaiste is a leadership-training programme for newly appointed Deputy Principals/Acting Deputy Principals which commences in August and concludes in the September of the following academic year.

The programme aims to support Deputy Principals over the course of their first year as senior school leaders. The Tanaiste programme Team is dedicated to growing participants’ knowledge and confidence as well as key leadership skills and dispositions which will help to sustain them in their new roles.

Tánaiste consists of 5 ‘one-day’ and 2 ‘evening’ sessions, during which participants explore a broad range of topics related to both the day-to-day management and the strategic leadership of their schools.

The following is a sample of some of the programme content




Tánaiste Testimonials

“The Tanaiste programme is a great opportunity to get to know other new appointees. It builds connections and forges friendships with others. It is very important in countering any feeling of isolation that may come with a new appointment and it brings great comfort to know that you are not alone - that others are experiencing similar challenges and opportunities at the same time as yourself.”

“I was very impressed overall. I thought the presentations were excellent. Meeting other deputy principals informally for a chat at meal times was most helpful and I thank most sincerely the Tánaiste team for giving us this opportunity. It has given me great confidence in my job. The support is excellent.”

“Fantastic opportunity to meet fellow Deputy Principals and discuss strategies for improvement.”   

“I welcome the fact that I can now call upon some of the participants and vice versa should I need advice or resources.  I feel that many areas of school leadership were discussed-it was such an enjoyable experience, with many important networks formed along the way.”  

“Thank you to all at PDST. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Tanaiste programme over the last year. I found the experience very helpful in providing guidance and support for my role as Deputy Principal.”

“It was an excellent programme from start to finish. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to participate. I looked forward to the sessions and getting a chance to learn about the role and share issues in a constructive way with others on the same journey. The sharing in the group by email was a powerful back up too. Thank you all for all the effort and organisation that went into planning a great course.”   

“The Tánaiste Programme has been invaluable to me. The mailing list, training days, excellence of the facilitators and opportunity to meet colleagues made the year enjoyable, enlightening and very worthwhile. A must for any new DP to attend.”

“I found the whole programme extremely useful, I learned lots from it, some good practical advice and some great networking. It also reaffirmed some of the good practice that’s already going on in our school and has encouraged me to do even more. This course has reenergised me and has been a great support to me throughout.”

“The Tánaiste course has provided me with very practical advice and training for the day to day role of Deputy Principal. I particularly value the informal advice, support and friendships formed over the 5 sessions and from the email support.  Many thanks to all involved.”

“The Tánaiste course has provided me with very practical advice and training for the day to day role of Deputy Principal. I particularly value the informal advice, support and friendships formed over the 5 sessions and from the email support.  Many thanks to all involved.”

“Tánaiste was an excellent programme, it offered practical support through the presentations and activities but maybe more importantly, the team and other participants gave valuable moral support throughout our first year in an extremely demanding but rewarding role within our schools. I am grateful for all the wonderful resources, guidance and most especially for the quality time to share that was offered during our days working together.” 

“Terrific networking experience. Very informative modules, great to hear different perspectives.”

“Thank you so much for making the transition to DP much easier with all your support.”

“I have three degrees and this course outshone all of this in terms of relevance, guidance and support. The PDST team epitomise professionalism and I am privileged to have been a part of this programme. Well done to all the team for all they have done for the future of education in Ireland.”

“I am so delighted to have been part of Tánaiste. I have gained such valuable experience of how to perform in the role and I have made great friends and contacts. Well Done PDST.”

“Thanks to all the team at PDST.  I am glad that the idea of cluster groups has been initiated, as sharing experience and best practice is so needed from day to day.”

“Participating in the Tanaiste Programme gave me the confidence to step up to the challenge of being Deputy Principal. Tanaiste has been like a DP toolkit. Meeting colleagues and being able to share the journey stories was hugely supportive.”

“As always the best combination is to have the opportunity to meet fellow practitioners and explore issues together in a formal and informal way as well as being supported by the PDST team who have heard others before in our position and are well placed to offer support. Thank you for a great induction!”