Update for schools while inspection continues to be paused

Date published: 21 January 2021

During the current lockdown, (January to February 2021), inspections across all education and training phases continue to be paused (subject to review). In line with the Minister for Education’s priorities, a wide range of ETI district inspector activity continues across all phases of education and training, including identifying effective practice and challenges.

The Education and Training Inspectorate logo.


Inspectors continue to work in partnership with CCMS, CSSC and EA officers to support individual schools as designated Covid-19 link officers. ETI is prioritising how it can best support schools and report at a system level on effective remote learning and the Engage Programme.


In the youth sector, inspectors have completed evaluations commissioned by the Department of Education (DE) and The Executive Office (TEO) to inform future policy development and planning.

Further Education and Training

Inspectors are continuing to work closely with the Department for the Economy (DfE) and further education and training providers, including: reviewing the provision for the essential skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT; working collaboratively with the Criminal Justice Inspectorate to undertake evaluation work in the prisons; and, improving the implementation and delivery of remote learning.

ETI remains committed to engage with reference groups including policy makers, leaders, teachers’ unions and professional associations to discuss when inspection will resume, associated approaches to inspection, and areas of focus.

While inspections continue to be paused, priorities for ETI’s engagement with education and training providers will evaluate the effectiveness of curriculum delivery focusing particularly on:

  • the design, delivery and quality of remote learning;
  • the impact on quality of learning and teaching; and
  • the mental health and wellbeing support for learners, schools/providers and leaders.

ETI will publish individual phase reports covering:

  • inspection findings (September 2018 to March 2020); and
  • lessons learned during the Covid-19 response and recovery phases with a specific focus on remote learning (March 2020 to December 2020).

Should any school or other education and training provider’s staff wish to discuss their approaches to remote learning with a District Inspector in the interim, please contact the Inspection Services Team on 028 9127 9726 or by emailing eti@education-ni.gov.uk.

ETI remains committed over the coming period to learning alongside and from the excellent work of practitioners across all phases of education. In doing so we hope to capture and disseminate the best practice that is emerging despite the challenging circumstances and to identify practical priorities for the future of education policy and practice in Northern Ireland.

We will also continue to provide further information on our website, which you can access at https://www.etini.gov.uk as well as on ETI’s social media.  Follow us on Twitter @ETI_news or Facebook @ETInews for regular updates.

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