Update while inspection continues to be paused

Date published: 13 April 2021

Formal inspections across all education and training phases continue to be paused (subject to review). Nevertheless, ETI continues to reserve the right to conduct a formal inspection where there are serious concerns about provision, for example in relation to safeguarding arrangements in an organisation.

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During the Summer Term, in line with the Minister for Education’s priorities, and those of other commissioning departments, a wide range of ETI district inspector activity will continue across all phases of education and training. This will include identifying and sharing good and effective practice on the ETI web site. In the primary and post-primary sectors also, there will be a continued focus on monitoring and evaluating the Engage programme. Additionally, ETI will seek the views of children and young people about their experiences of learning remotely during the pandemic.

Through the above work ETI is aiming to capture individual organisation’s experiences of delivering, monitoring and reviewing provision with a view to evaluating the impact of the pandemic at system level, and identifying priorities for future development. As part of that work, we welcome invitations from organisations which wish to highlight emerging learning in their own setting, that they think will benefit the education system more widely.  Inspectors are keen to learn with and alongside practitioners and leaders for the future benefit of all learners.

ETI intends also to conduct a range of short formal monitoring visits to a number of schools and organisations across all education and training phases which are currently in the follow-up inspection process. The visits will focus on the individual organisation’s view of improvements effected prior to the pandemic and any impact of COVID-19 on the curriculum, including practical work, learning experiences, and the quality of learning and teaching. The visits are intended to support organisations to reflect on the strengths of their current provision with a view to being well prepared for a follow-up inspection when that can take place.  

Inspectors continue to work collaboratively with CCMS, CSSC and EA officers to support individual schools as designated COVID-19 link officers providing support for COVID-19 related issues and school day guidance.

The ETI is committed to supporting and guiding education leaders as together we continue to place children and young people at the heart of everything we do.

ETI remains committed to ongoing engagement with reference groups including policy makers, leaders, teachers’ unions and professional associations to discuss approaches to inspection, and areas of focus.

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.

As outlined above, ETI remains committed over the coming period to learning alongside and from the excellent work of practitioners across all phases of education and training. 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 and training policy and practice in Northern Ireland.


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