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Education Minister celebrates success in our schools

20 June, 2011 - by John O'Dowd

Celebrating success and sharing good practice is vital in helping to raise educational standards.

That was the message from Education Minister, John O’Dowd, in advance of a reception he is hosting to recognise schools and pre-schools rated as 'Outstanding' and 'Very Good' following inspection.

During the past year the Education and Training Inspectorate has evaluated 82 grant-aided schools and 22 pre-school settings as providing a very good or outstanding quality of educational provision.

The Minister said: “A top priority for me as Education Minister is raising standards. My Department’s school improvement policy, Every School a Good School, aims to promote equality and the raising of standards for all our young people. It identifies the characteristics of a good school as child-centred provision, effective leadership, high quality teaching and learning, and strong links with the community.

“Schools and pre-school settings evaluated by the Education and Training Inspectorate as outstanding or very good have clearly demonstrated that they put the needs of the young person first. They demonstrate effective leadership and support every child to fulfil their potential.”

The Minister continued: “Celebrating success and sharing good practice is vital in helping to raise standards and improve morale. Too often the focus is on the negative issues in education. We need to get better at identifying, disseminating and sharing best practice. We also need to get better at show-casing and celebrating these positive factors.

“We know that the numbers of children leaving school without relevant qualifications is reducing but we cannot become complacent. There is still too much underachievement in our education system. However, with the quality of leaders in our successful schools we can face the future challenges with confidence.

“I would like to thank and pay tribute to those working to support schools in the Education and Library Boards, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, the Council for Integrated Education and Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta. Those staff play an important role in supporting schools and teachers right across the north of Ireland in bringing about improvement and striving to better meet the needs of our young people.

“The Education and Training Inspectorate also have a vital role in inspecting schools. Inspection is a key part of our work to raise standards. It is through the work of the ETI that we can identify the excellent practice being demonstrated in schools.”

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