General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Education Inspectors find improvements needed in community relations work


Department of Education

The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) has found that while good work on promoting community relations is evident in the education and youth sectors, improvements are needed.

The Chief Inspector of ETI, Stanley Goudie, was speaking following publication of a detailed evaluation of the quality assurance of community relations activities funded by the Department of Education.

Mr Goudie said: “Community relations work across the education and youth sectors receives funding of around £3.5million every year. The Inspectorate sought to ensure that this funding is achieving real outcomes across the sectors.

“While there is clear evidence of the experience and commitment of the majority of those working and volunteering in community relations, and recognition that their work is difficult and often contentious, the lack of an overall policy framework diminishes their contribution to the improvement of community relations. It has therefore proven impossible to make a valid assessment of the standards achieved or to have a definitive view of how successful their work has been.

“The Inspectorate found that the arrangements for funding the four current strands are unnecessarily complex and there is little evidence of connections between the strands, which often provide support for young people within the same communities.

“Training of those involved in community relations work, including teachers, can be insufficient and there is little scope for sharing good practice across the groups.

“However, we are aware that the Department of Education is in the process of reviewing its community relations responsibilities and this report will help to inform that review.”



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