Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Ministerial statement: Putting pupils first

The Education Minister rejected criticisms of his department's handling of computer assessment failures, on 6 November 2012.

"We do not have a shambles. We do not have a crisis," John O'Dowd commented.

He was replying to Education Committee chairman Mervyn Storey of the DUP, who said the minister's department had given no leadership on the matter.

Hundreds of primary schools complained of technical problems after P4 to P7 children attempted to take the online assessments.

The minister said computer experts had identified a problem and were working on the best way to resolve it.

Referring to the recent Chief Inspector's report, Mr O'Dowd said one in five post-primary schools suffered from less than satisfactory leadership

It was clear that "effective leadership and high quality teaching are central to delivering improvement," he added.

The minister suggested that it should be possible to reward principals "taking over an under-performing school with low expectations and falling numbers".

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