Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

School inspections are fair and based on facts

In response to the letter 'Don't brand school a failure without the facts' (Write Back, September 20), I would offer the following factual information.

During the process of the inspection of a school by the Education and Training Inspectorate, the members of the inspection team take full cognisance of the context in which the school is operating and of the community which it serves; and do so as an intrinsic part of the inspection process.

Furthermore, when evaluating the achievements of the pupils, the members of the inspection team compare the school's performance figures with schools of a similar type. To do anything less would be unfair to both the pupils and teachers alike.

The ETI aim is to promote improvement in the interests of all learners. To achieve this aim, inspections look much further than just examination results.

The quality of leadership is an important determinant in how well a school provides for its pupils. Good leadership can lift a school in terms of its achievements and morale of staff and this is a key area for inspection.

We are keen to celebrate the successes in our schools and in June participated in an event hosted by the Minister of Education, Caitríona Ruane, to recognise schools which had been evaluated as outstanding or very good following inspection.

It is unfortunate that such events do not attract as much media interest as stories about poorly performing schools.

STANLEY GOUDIE

Chief inspector, Education and Training Inspectorate

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