Inspecting the Inspectors: Education Committee Launches

Synopsis: The Committee for Education today announced the launch of its Inquiry into the School Improvement process and the role of the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI).

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 26 June 2013

Reference: EDUC 10/12/13

The Committee for Education today announced the launch of its Inquiry into the School Improvement process and the role of the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI).

ETI is a part of the Department of Education – it inspects schools (and other educational bodies), keeping a check on teaching quality and pastoral care as well as the leadership and management within a school. Often ETI's findings in respect of a school can have a significant impact on its reputation - ultimately affecting a school's viability.

Chairperson of the Committee, Mervyn Storey MLA said: "ETI is a very important organisation. It has a central role in the school improvement process and will, I believe, be pivotal in the outworking of Area Planning – the on-going process of school rationalisation.

"The governance and powers of ETI in Northern Ireland differ greatly from equivalent organisations in other jurisdictions. During the course of this Inquiry, the Committee will look carefully at this and see what can be learned or what may need to be changed. Additionally, Members want to be sure that our schools, particularly those with lower educational attainment, are recognised by ETI for the value that they add to our children's education."

Mr Storey concluded: "The Committee hopes to encourage the Department to develop a measurement of school performance which will capture the value added by schools dealing with pupils starting from a low or very low educational base. The Committee wants to identify ways which will encourage a more robust school improvement process and increase confidence in the ETI. Ultimately, the Committee wants to help schools to get to a point where they can help themselves to improve. To do this, schools need a school improvement process which is fair and inclusive and makes use of best practice from other jurisdictions."

The Committee is seeking evidence from representative organisations and schools on the role of the Education and Training Inspectorate and the school improvement process.

The closing date for written submissions is 23 August 2013.

ENDS

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