Press Release

Leadership is the Key to a Successful School

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Monday, 21 March 2011

Reference: EDU 07/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly debated the Committee for Education’s Report [1] on its Inquiry into Successful Post-Primary Schools Serving Disadvantaged Communities [2] today.

The Report makes a number of recommendations to the Department of Education highlighting in particular the importance of leadership to a school’s success.

Committee Chairperson Mr Mervyn Storey said: “This Report reflects what the Committee learned during its Inquiry into what makes post-primary schools successful, specifically those serving disadvantaged communities.

“The key theme which emerged from our meetings with schools was leadership. Many talked about how important the school Principal is in driving school improvement and it is the Committee’s view that effective school leadership is critical to a school’s success.

“The Committee would urge the Department to review its policies to ensure that the selection process for Principals is robust. It is the Committee’s view that the recruitment process should include a range of relevant tasks and test for the key characteristics of effective leadership. The Department also needs to ensure that Chairs and Boards of Governors are properly selected and trained for this process and are able to identify and select good leaders.”

The Committee also recommends that the Department of Education review its policy making process to ensure that, where appropriate, policy is developed on a fully integrated basis across relevant departments. This will foster cooperation and joined up delivery of front line services for children, young people and their parents/guardians. Linked to this, the Committee recommends that the Department of Education take the lead in the development of a policy on information sharing between departments in relation to services for children’s education needs.

The Committee also identified the importance of engagement between the school, parents and the wider community to help raise awareness of the value of education and to improve children’s aspirations.

In conducting its Inquiry the Committee heard oral evidence about good practice from ten schools representing different regions and educational sectors in Northern Ireland. It also received written evidence from many other schools and education stakeholders.

Notes to Editors:

[1] A copy of the Committee’s report is available at

[2] Aim of the Inquiry: “To consider examples of successful post-primary schools serving economically and socially disadvantaged communities, identify the key characteristics/factors which contribute to their success and consider how they can be reproduced in schools where they are lacking.”

Committee Membership:

Mr. Mervyn Storey (Chairperson) 
Mr. David Hilditch (Deputy Chairperson) 
Mr. Dominic Bradley 
Mrs. Mary Bradley 
Mr. Jonathan Craig 
Mr. Trevor Lunn 
Lord Empey 
Mr. Basil McCrea 
Miss. Michelle McIlveen 
Mr. John O’Dowd 
Ms. Michelle O’Neill

The Clerk to the Committee is John Simmons 
Committee for Education, Rm 242, Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont Belfast BT4 3XX 
Tel: 028 9052 1787 
Mob: 07900 053929 
Fax: 028 9052 1371 

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