The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) is a ‘unitary’ inspectorate and part of the Department of Education (DE), providing independent inspection services and policy advice for DE.
The ETI also provides independent inspection services and policy advice for a number of other government departments including the Department for the Economy and the Department for Communities. In addition, inspection services are also provided for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Criminal Justice Inspection (CJI) and the Home Office.
The legal basis for ETI’s work is set out in The Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (Articles102 and 102A).
The ETI is in direct unbroken descent from the Inspectorate established in 1832 by The Commissioners of National Education in Ireland. In January 1989 the then Inspectorate’s work was extended to include the training service in Northern Ireland and it became known as the Education and Training Inspectorate.
Within the ETI, inspectors may have specific roles. A District Inspector (DI) has responsibility for a group of organisations within sectors and phases:
- pre-school sector
- primary, post primary and special schools
- EOTAS provision
- colleges of further education
- work-based learning organisations
- youth organisations
In most phases and where possible, the DI will be a member of the inspection team. Where follow-on work is required after an inspection, this will normally be led by the DI.
District visits complement and supplement the centrally determined inspections. They provide a valuable opportunity for the DI and school/organisation to engage professionally, outside the context of the formal inspection programme. This different context does not in any way lessen the need for inspectors to adhere to the principles governing inspection. They, at all times, report as they find in order to promote improvement in the interest of all learners.