FIP inspection scheme stalled

Written by: Simon Doyle | Published:

Northern Ireland’s “special measures” scheme has effectively been stalled due to industrial action by teachers.

It has been more than two years since any school was placed into the Formal Intervention Process (FIP).

A school will typically be put into formal intervention after issues are raised by inspectors. However, unions’ refusal to cooperate with inspections due to a dispute over pay and workload means FIP is also shelved.

Incomplete reports mean that potential shortcomings that could be addressed through intervention are not being identified.

There are five secondary schools in FIP at present. Each school commits to working with management to deliver an agreed action plan to address the areas for improvement.

All the main unions withdrew cooperation as part of action short of a strike, which began in January 2017. Unions say their action must continue.

Mark Langhammer of the National Education Union said it will only cease once a pay deal is sealed and reaches teachers’ pockets: “Teachers have little or no confidence in the culture of inspections and their high-stakes nature. Inspection outcomes mirror results, and results mirror – for the most part – nothing more than the social class of the in-take. Teacher unions, working together, will argue for radical change in the review of accountability proposed through the teachers’ pay talks.”

Irish National Teachers’ Organisation Northern secretary Gerry Murphy said formal intervention “is a failed concept”.

He added: “Schools that require additional support have in reality nowhere to turn. The time has come for a root and branch re-evaluation of our education system. As things currently stand we have a system that is being maintained by a workforce that is underpaid and overworked.”


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