Over 500 principals and education stakeholders attended the second biennial conference of the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) in the Titanic Building on 26 September 2017. The biennial conferences provide an opportunity to update the education sector on developments in inspection as well as helping the sector understand the benefits of inspection. The Chief Inspector Noelle Buick highlighted the need to work collaboratively to drive forward improvement: “I wish to pay tribute to the work you do as the leaders of education and training, supported by a range of stakeholders, some of whom are here today. You make a positive difference to the lives of children and learners across Northern Ireland. But not all learners have access to high quality education and training and that matters to their success and life opportunities. To address these challenges and to use the excellent capacity that we already have in the system we need to get better at working and collaborating together at all levels to drive forward improvement.”
The conference also provided schools and stakeholders with an introduction to the Inspection and Self-evaluation Framework (ISEF) and highlighted how the ISEF can be used to strengthen self-evaluation and quality improvement planning in their own organisation.
A strong focus of the work of the ETI is on building capacity that will endure beyond the inspection itself. This is achieved through professional dialogue with leaders and teachers during inspection; district inspector visits; and by identifying and sharing good practice.
Concluding the Chief Inspector said: “Even during the current period of action short of strike where teachers are not co-operating with school inspections, schools are still attending our events, engaging in professional dialogue with district inspectors and willing to share good practice with their colleagues. Building on this type of collaboration will ensure that improvement endures. The central aim of the ETI is to promote improvement in the interest of all learners so that all children and young people get the best start in life and achieve to their full potential.”
Over the past year the ETI has run dissemination events for hundreds of leaders, teachers and tutors where practitioners showcased their own good practice identified on inspection. Through this type of collaboration and dissemination, improvement is promoted.