General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Education Minister welcomes improvements in education



Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has welcomed the report from the Chief Inspector of schools showing improvements in education.

Speaking after publication of the biennial report from the Chief Inspector of the Education and Training Inspectorate, Stanley Goudie, Minister Ruane said: "The Chief Inspector’s report confirms the importance of my school improvement policy in raising standards across all schools and in ensuring that the findings from inspections are followed up to ensure schools receive the support they need to address areas for improvement identified by the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) and to acknowledge and share the good practice that the inspectorate sees in many schools. The focus throughout the entire process is on the needs of children and ensuring their right to a good quality education.

"I also welcome the good progress made by schools in implementing the revised curriculum. The report confirms what teachers have frequently told me, that the revised curriculum gives them much greater professional freedom to teach in a way that promotes pupils' enjoyment of learning and secures more active engagement from them. In addition, because of the new post-primary Transfer arrangements the primary curriculum is not distorted.

"The Chief Inspector has reported improvements in overall education provision in pre-school, primary school and post-primary settings. I welcome these improvements but am committed to delivering further advances, particularly in raising standards in literacy and numeracy. I will shortly publish a revised literacy and numeracy strategy, which will set out how teachers will be supported in ensuring pupils develop the literacy and numeracy skills that are fundamental to their education and future employment prospects.

"In response to the Chief Inspector's assessment that there is room for improvement in performance, particularly at GCSE level, that strategy will include clear targets for improvement as well as information on strategies and approaches that will deliver this improvement.

"As I have said many times before, there is still a need to reduce the gap between those achieving at the highest levels and those who, perhaps because of disadvantage, disability or other barriers to learning, are not achieving in line with their full potential.

"The Chief Inspector reports that school leaders continue to face a range of diverse challenges, while the role of leading an organisation is, in itself, a challenging, complex and demanding one. He also advises that an integral part of improving the quality of leadership will be effective and coherent support mechanisms for leaders which provide better opportunities for the development of leadership skills.

"The Inspectorate is presently undertaking an evaluation of school leadership development programmes. This programme of work will extend into the 2010/11 academic year and will inform future developments on school leadership. I have visited hundreds of schools since becoming Education Minister and know the huge difference good leadership can make to a school."


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