General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Chief Inspector Report


Department of Education
28th January 2009

Chief Inspector of the Education and Training Inspectorate, Mr Stanley Goudie, has highlighted improvements in education over the last two years.

However, Mr Goudie warned against complacency because for a minority of our children, young people and adult learners, the standards of achievement continue to be too low.

Mr Goudie was speaking to representatives from the education, youth and training sectors as he presented his first report since being appointed Chief Inspector in September 2008. The report covers the period 2006–2008.

Mr Goudie said: “The report identifies where education, youth and training provision is at its best. It salutes the work whereby serving practitioners achieve and sustain outstanding outcomes for those children, young people and adult learners in their charge. In doing so, many dedicated and talented individuals, both those dealing directly with learners and those in the support services, make a real difference to the life chances of learners from a wide range of diverse needs and social backgrounds. We owe these practitioners a great debt of gratitude.

“The report also identifies where provision is simply not good enough and where standards are too low.

“The raising of standards, particularly in literacy and numeracy, in order to improve the life chances of all children, young people and adult learners, must be the cornerstone of our educational provision. In short, there is still much work to do to raise expectations and to close the achievement gap. This needs to take place within the context of a clear, overall direction of travel for our system of post-primary education.

“Our inspections show that there remains too significant a variation in the standards of literacy and numeracy attained by children across primary schools. As a result, one-fifth of children do not attain the standards in literacy and numeracy expected for their age by the time they leave primary school.

“At post-primary level there continues to be a welcome and steady reduction in the number of pupils who leave school with no qualifications. Nevertheless, almost one thousand pupils leave school without any GCSE qualifications. The majority of new entrants to work-based training programmes have weaknesses in literacy and numeracy.”

In conclusion, Mr Goudie said: “The findings of the 2006–2008 Chief Inspector’s Report are based securely on a wide range of inspection and survey activity over the reporting period. The Report is about the experience and outcomes for learners. Increasingly, all educational providers have to consider carefully how they can best help children and young people achieve their full potential.

“At the centre of all our efforts must be the raising of achievements and standards for children, young people and adult learners, at both personal and academic levels.”


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