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In defence of inspectors

In response to DH (Write Back, December 12) regarding school inspectors, the Education and Training Inspectorate is on record as saying that inspection alone cannot bring about improvement.

That said, there is compelling evidence that inspection (including the publication of inspection reports) is a very important catalyst to improvement both at the level of individual schools/organisations and across the education, youth and training sectors.

Quite legitimately, DH asks ‘who is monitoring their performance’; and ‘what evalua

tions have been done on their contribution to the education sector?’.

The inspectorate is a very open and transparent organisation. We are scrutinised every time we go into a school. Following every inspection, our processes and conduct are evaluated by an independent consultancy firm. These annual reports are in the public domain and can be accessed at www/

Each teacher/lecturer and leader of the organisation inspected is given the opportunity to comment, anonymously, on the manner in which the inspection was conducted.

In the main, the results we get back from these evaluations are very positive. However, while we value these positive comments we are not complacent and are always willing to act on constructive criticism. Another way in which we receive feedback about our

processes and the manner in which we conduct our work is through listening to the views of the lay members and Associate Assessors whom we deploy on inspection teams whenever possible.

Finally, like any public body, we are subject to scrutiny by the Northern Ireland Audit Office, the Northern Ireland Public Accounts Committee and the relevant Committees of the Assembly.

I believe these measures indicate that the inspectorate is one of the most scrutinised bodies in education. I trust they serve to reassure readers that the inspectorate is a highly professional organisation dedicated fully to the education and well-being of all learners and one which seeks always to learn and improve.


Chief Inspector, Department of Education

Belfast Telegraph


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