Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 04/11/2013. Tags: Education And Politics Teachers News
The Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D., has today launched the Chief Inspector's Report on quality and standards in primary and post-primary schools and centres for education. The report, which is based on inspections carried out by the Department
between 2010 and 2012, found the standards of teaching and learning were satisfactory or better in the majority of lessons inspected. Chief Inspector, Dr Harold Hislop, also noted there was room for improvement in a significant minority of lessons.
For the first time the Chief Inspector's Report
includes parental surveys that show very high levels of satisfaction with schools. Some 97 per cent of the more than 47,000 parents surveyed in primary schools felt that teaching was good in their child's school. In post-primary schools, 87 per cent of the 20,000 parents surveyed held similar views.
This report follows a period of significant reform in how school inspections are carried out since 2010. Many inspections are now unannounced and while the number of inspectors has fallen, inspections of schools have become more frequent. Confidential surveys of parents and students now also form part of all whole-school evaluations.
"The reform of inspection has led to the introduction of a range of new models of inspection including unannounced inspections, follow-up inspections and a re-modelling of whole-school evaluation," Minister Quinn said. "The Inspectorate also gathers the views and opinions of parents and learners and I am delighted to see how these important views are reflected in the Chief Inspector's Report."
Inspectors judged that 86 per cent of lessons inspected in unannounced inspections were satisfactory or better in primary schools, while 14 per cent were not satisfactory. Similar findings emerged in whole-school evaluations in post-primary schools with 87 per cent of lessons judged to be satisfactory or better and 13 per cent not satisfactory.
"Inspections provide an important external look at the work of schools," said the Chief Inspector, "and are focused on helping each school to improve its teaching and learning. They also provide an important reassurance to parents and the public about the quality of the work of schools", Dr Hislop added.
The Chief Inspector's Report 2010-12 raises particular concerns about the teaching of Irish and the teaching of Mathematics.
Students' learning was found to be less than satisfactory in almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Irish lessons in primary schools and almost a third (32 per cent) of Irish lessons in post-primary schools. The lack of a comprehensive
Irish-language programme for English-medium primary schools and concerns about the Irish-language competence of teachers in a small but significant number of classrooms were among the factors noted by the Chief Inspector.
Standards in the teaching and learning of mathematics were generally good at primary level with learning satisfactory or better in 85 per cent of lessons inspected and good results for Irish students in international surveys. However, inspectors noted the lack of opportunities for primary pupils to engage in the sort of collaborative working needed for effective problem-solving.
At post-primary level, students' learning was judged to be less than satisfactory in over a quarter of mathematics lessons (26 per cent). The Chief Inspector noted that Project Maths was being introduced during the period covered by this report to address many of the weaknesses in maths teaching. However, inspectors also noted that the depth of mathematical understanding required to teach Project Maths was challenging for some teachers.
The Chief Inspector's Report 2010-12 also describes the "challenging" environment in which schools operated in the period 2010-12. It notes that spending on education rose from €3.218bn to €3.263bn at primary level and from €3.070bn to € 3.147bn at post-primary level, and that spending per student in 2010 was above the OECD average. Spending on supports for children with special education needs rose from €1.2bn in 2010 to €1.3bn in 2012 and now represents 15 per cent of the total budget of the Department. The report shows that student numbers rose by 5.5 per cent at primary level and by 6.3 per cent at post-primary level but that the number of teachers was relatively static.
The retirement of large numbers of experienced teachers and the loss of middle management posts in schools due to the public service moratorium are also among the developments noted by the Chief Inspector.
Source: Department of Education Press Release - Read full Press Release here