We have been extremely lucky to have secured the services of world renowned educationalist Mike Hughes to work with our staff over three years as we implement his teaching philosophy called the ‘Magenta Principles’.

This work began in October of 2018. Mike Hughes is a well-known and highly acclaimed education trainer/author. A former post-primary principal he is currently working freelance and over a period of many years has developed a deserved reputation as an inspirational and innovative trainer/facilitator and is widely regarded as a leader in the field of learning.


Mike has been conducting workshops over a number of years for teachers and school leaders on behalf of NAPD.  He also made a keynote presentation at NAPD’s 2013 Annual Conference and since then has facilitated a number of workshops  nationally based on his ‘Magenta Principles’, he returned once again to the NAPD conference this year to present on this topic. He is best known as the author of hugely influential books such as ‘And The Main Thing…is Learning’, ‘Tweak to Transform and Closing the Learning Gap’ and ‘The Magenta Principles’, it is this book that Mike is focusing on in his work with the staff of Coláiste Fionnchua as a method to challenging and evolve their teaching practice.


Mike Hughes has undertaken a three-year commitment to work with the entire teaching staff as they look to enhance their own practice to make the learning experience of the students in Coláiste Fionnchua positive, rewarding and most importantly engaging. Mikes’ philosophy is that learning should be both exciting and engaging. In order to make sense of information students must relate to it and use it. Students must do something with the information they encounter in class. Reduce it, assemble it, add to it, squeeze it, classify it, and so on. His philosophy encourages that the teacher deepens the student’s understanding for real learning to take place. He believes that the world is changing rapidly and that old ways of schooling will not serve the future needs of the next generation of students. This philosophy is underpinned by what Hughes refers to as the Magenta Principles. These are a range of ideas that seek to promote engagement and depth in lessons. He believes that learning is a consequence of thinking therefore we must make students think; language is central to learning therefore our job is to help students talk and that learning is an active process. Mike exposed our teachers to many new ideas and encouraged us to explore them in the context of our own classroom. He stressed they are principles not strategies. “Principles to adapt rather than strategies to adopt”. The aim for teachers is to understand how the principles work. Another area that really caused us to reflect was when he spoke about the difference between the teacher as a facilitator and as an instructor’.

Coláiste Fionnchua is extremely fortunate to have established an educational relationship with Mike Hughes as he currently only works with three other schools in Ireland. Furthermore in his latest publication ‘Magenta, Engagement, depth and challenge in Irish classrooms’, Coláiste Fionnchua had the honour of having a lesson by teacher Naoise O’Sullivan published as an example of an exemplary lesson of teaching and learning using the Magenta Principles.