Minister for Education for Northern Ireland launches report on Polycentric Inspection

Minister John O’Dowd MLA launched the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection Report School Inspection in a Polycentric Context: The Case of Northern Ireland in the Long Room, Stormont Castle on November 18th 2015.

The report, authored by Dr. Martin Brown, Prof Gerry McNamara and Prof Joe O’Hara of EQI strongly endorses school and stakeholder networking and area based inspection in Northern Ireland. The research, conducted as part of the Erasmus + Project ‘Polycentric Inspection of Networked Schools (PINS)’, concludes that networks of educational organisations and institutions guided and advised by the Inspectorate can achieve progress and improvement across a range of areas which is impossible to envisage any single organisation acting alone being capable of. The report notes that networking has brought about increased cooperation between agencies, continuous professional development for teachers, curriculum planning and sharing and inter-agency cooperation transcending traditional boundaries. Moreover the report also suggests that networking of this type closely linked to area based or polycentric inspection can contribute significantly to enhanced educational outcomes for students.

Speaking at the launch Minister O’Dowd commended the authors and indicated the importance of local community involvement at all aspects of educational provision. He noted the central role of the Education and Training Inspectorate in the process and welcomed the manner in which the West Belfast Partnership Board provided a forum for the many and varied stakeholder voices. In response the CEO of WBPB, Geraldine McAteer , welcomed the ongoing support of the Minister and his Junior Ministerial colleague, Jennifer McCann MLA, for the educational endeavours of the West Belfast area. She also welcomed the central involvement of researchers from Dublin City University in providing an insight into the operation of a local process that all involved assume will have national and international implications.

The Centre of Evaluation, Quality and Inspection is located in the new Institute of Education at Dublin City University, led by Prof Joe O’Hara, Prof Gerry McNamara and Dr. Martin Brown. The Centre engages in a range of activities and research projects exploring the role of evaluation and inspection in a wide range of educational provision.

Download the report

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