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Teachers 'deserve right to appeal'

The school inspectorate is under pressure to introduce an appeals process for schools and teachers who feel their reputation is damaged by a negative inspection report.

The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) has received 25 complaints in five years through its internal complaints process.

But the Assembly's education committee chairman, Mervyn Storey, has likened the inspectorate's complaints process to "the police investigating themselves", in the absence of an appeal mechanism. Schools and individual teachers cannot currently appeal a decision by the ETI.

Addressing the Assembly's education committee yesterday, chief inspector Noelle Buick pointed to ample opportunities for teachers to raise concerns about an inspection while it is ongoing.

However, committee members pointed to cases where schools have received a verbal inspection report which differed from the final, published inspection report.

The education committee is hearing oral evidence as part of its review into the effectiveness of the Education and Training Inspectorate's approach.

Last year, the Belfast Telegraph highlighted concerns around the removal of two head teachers following separate inspection reports.

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