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Education Minister celebrates School Leadership

4 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has highlighted the importance of school leadership in driving improvements in education.

The Minister was speaking at a graduation ceremony for 237 candidates who have achieved the Professional Qualification for Headship (PQH). The Minister said:

"A key challenge for us all is the need to equip current and future school leaders with the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex, accountable and demanding role. Today's graduates have shown their aspiration to advance the cause of educational leadership within the education sector.

"The importance of school leadership and the crucial role that it plays in all our children's futures cannot be underestimated, as it plays a vital role in schools in addressing the issue of educational underachievement and in contributing to the department's aim of "Every School a Good School.

"In today's uncertain economic climate, parents are understandably concerned that their children receive the best that our education system has to offer in order to give them a good start towards their future career. The professional commitment, drive and energy of our head teachers and other school leaders in addressing this and the other challenges that they face is to be commended.

"One of the measures of success of any qualification is whether it enables the student to obtain the necessary skills required to apply for and hopefully acquire the employment that they seek. In this regard, the PQH can be applauded as a real success story. Between one quarter and one third of the previous graduates are already serving head teachers and 50% of all newly appointed head teachers last year were either PQH graduates or were nearing completion of this qualification."

The Minister also outlined the range of reforms underway in education and highlighted the background leading to the issuing of Guidance for Transfer 2010.

The Minister said:

"I have always been clear that we need an education system based on equality for all children and young people. On two occasions I submitted my compromise proposals on Transfer 2010 to Executive colleagues, but parties refused to discuss them or put them on the agenda.

"My department has issued guidance to schools to inform Transfer 2010. I hope grammar schools choose not to step outside the system and have breakaway tests because Transfer 2010 offers the opportunity for them to make their excellent educational provision available in a fair manner for the first time.

"We now have the guidance to govern the admission to post-primary schools in 2010. I would ask all post-primary schools to consider this carefully and join with us in creating an education system to meet the needs of all our children. A system that treats all of our children equally." ENDS

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