General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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School leaders have a vital role to play in raising standards – O’Dowd



School leaders have a vital role to play in raising standards across the local education system.

That was the message from Education Minister, John O’Dowd, as he addressed the conference of the Association of School and College Leaders today.

Speaking after he addressed delegates, the Minister said: “Principals at each phase of education have a difficult but hugely important job. They set their school’s strategic direction while working day to day to promote strong performance from their staff, keeping the educational achievement of their pupils at the forefront.

“It is a job that brings together a wide range of skills: from pedagogy to financial management; human resources to business-style leadership. I want to ensure that principals are equipped to tackle the ever-changing challenges that face them so that we can raise educational outcomes for all.

“That is why I will take action to enhance the professional standing of teachers. I will strengthen the role of the General Teaching Council to support teachers and principals and uphold standards. I will also support the continuing professional development of teachers through a new strategy for teacher education to attract the best people to the profession and support them throughout their career.”

The Minister continued: “As I emphasised yesterday when setting out my priorities to the Assembly, a strong education system here is essential if we are to grow the economy for the benefit of all in society. I see school leaders as key enablers in the process of making our education system genuinely international class, because we cannot currently consider it to be so when it still fails so many young people.

“To achieve this aim we must also compare ourselves to, and learn from, other countries who perform much better than we do, which is why the north of Ireland will be participating in a major OECD review looking at how assessment and evaluation systems deliver improvements for pupils.”

Concluding, the Minister said: “If we are to improve outcomes, and in turn life chances, for all of our young people, it is vital that everyone in education pulls in the same direction. School leaders are at the front line of securing such co-operation every day and I hope we can all work together going forward to achieve what I know we all want – every child fulfilling their potential with not one left behind.”


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