Pressure on post-primary schools after chief inspector's report


One in every five secondary school headteachers in Northern Ireland is providing less than satisfactory leadership.

The North’s chief inspector says management is of particular concern in the post-primary sector.

Noelle Buick’s first biennial report, which covers the period 2010-2012, shows leadership is satisfactory at best in 39 per cent of secondary schools. 

In almost one in five secondary schools inspected, the leadership of the principal was evaluated as “less than satisfactory”.

Ms Buick says the North’s education system achieves good value, but its outcomes are too variable. The majority of learners attain good outcomes, but too many children are failing to fulfil their potential. Her inspection evidence identifies the need to improve standards, particularly among those from disadvantaged backgrounds where only 32 per cent achieve five or more A* to C GCSEs including English and maths. 

Her report also says the quality of leadership in many schools is “not good enough”.

Overall, the quality of education in seven post-primary schools was found to be “inadequate” or “unsatisfactory”.

Of the 62 post-primary schools subject to a standard inspection in the last two years, overall effectiveness was judged good or better in 65 per cent.

Achievements and standards were evaluated as good or better in 68 per cent of secondary schools and less than satisfactory in 10 per cent.

“The quality of leadership and management in many schools was found by inspection to be not good enough. This was the case in 39 per cent of post-primary schools,” Ms Buick said.

“Inspection also found that the effectiveness of boards of governors could be improved in 34 per cent of post-primaries.”

Alongside these key challenges, she said, it is also the case that the use of digital technologies by schools, an area that has seen significant investment over recent years, could be more effective.

“In 50 per cent of post-primary schools inspected, the use of digital technologies was found to be less than good,” Ms Buick added.


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