Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Inspection report into schools

A recent inspection report into schools showed that problems with poor leadership were much worse than expected, a DUP MLA said on 13 November 2012.

Every two years, inspectors write a formal report into how pupils, teachers and managers are performing.

In October 2012, the chief inspector of schools, Noelle Buick, said primary school leadership had improved but criticised those who managed secondary and grammar schools.

She also said she was concerned about poor exam results among less well-off pupils.

Jonathan Craig proposed his party's motion in response to the report, .

It called on Education Minister John O'Dowd to introduce more stringent measures and to increase confidence in the system of schools management.

"Personally whilst I see some issues out there, I would never have dreamt that they were as large as in this report," he said.

Mr Craig said he had "huge admiration" for teachers and said he felt they were being asked to perform management duties in addition to their daily teaching duties.

The UUP's Danny Kinahan said there were 59 people "on the ground" inspecting schools, and 38 of these had no classroom experience.

"We need more teachers involved in this process," he said.

The Alliance Party's Trevor Lunn said teachers were being asked to perform many extra activities.

Sinn Fein's Michaela Boyle said that although the report had identified good performance in many areas, it also posed many challenges for our education system.

"It is clear there are problems and more needs to be done on the quality of leadership," she said.

Sean Rogers of the SDLP said improving governance in schools would help pupils in their education.

"Good leadership and a strong system of self-evaluation in our schools makes people feel better, if people feel better, people perform better and if they perform better, leadership becomes better and pupils' achievements will improve," he said.

Education Minister John O'Dowd acknowledged that the report had shown that standards in 39% of post-primary schools and 22% of primary schools had been evaluated as not good enough.

He said he had no difficulty in the motion's request for him to bring forward "more robust policies".

The motion passed on an oral vote.

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