Representatives of statutory bodies today heard of the benefits for young people of joined-up working across government.
They were attending a conference at the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle, organised by the Education and Training Inspectorate, aimed at encouraging statutory bodies to collaborate in the interests of the learner. The need for more connected collaboration reflects one of the main findings of the Chief Inspector's Report, published in April.
Explaining the purpose of the conference, the Chief Inspector, Marion Matchett, said: "It has become increasingly clear over recent years that, despite the excellent results achieved by many in our education system, there are still large numbers of young people who leave education with inadequate literacy and numeracy skills.
"Many young people, for example, suffer mental health problems, for others English is not their first language. There needs to be more joined-up thinking and collaboration across government to help these learners get the most out of their education.
"There is much in the way of good practice in our schools and colleges. Today is about looking at what has been achieved and exploring how we can encourage better connections across sectoral and professional boundaries and within and among government departments."
The Conference heard examples of collaboration, such as at the Girls Model school in North Belfast, where the establishment of a 'Full Service School' has seen the school work with a variety of partners to deliver educational, health and social services to the school and wider community. Delegates were also addressed by the Permanent Secretaries at the Departments of Education, Employment and Learning and Culture Arts and Leisure, who talked about the benefits collaboration could bring.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Alan Dyson, Professor of Education at the University of Manchester, where he directs the Centre for Equity in Education.
Talking about the benefits of joined-up working across government and agencies, he identified the need for collaborative working at all levels with strong local involvement to ensure that everyone in the education system had the opportunity to make the most of the opportunities provided to them.
Delegates will be asked to identify ways in which more collaboration can be achieved in order to benefit learners and these will be published and followed up by the Education and Training Inspectorate.