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School Inspections

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 December 2020

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Ceisteanna (439)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

439. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education the procedure involved in circumstances in which school inspectorate reports have been challenged by a school's management; if the initial report can be accessed by the public; if the report is the subject of a legal challenge by the school's management; if this is funded by the State via central funding; if there is a timeframe for such reports to be published within; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40426/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Inspectorate is committed to carrying out its inspections in a fair and objective manner and in accordance with its Code of Practice (2015) and its published inspection guides.

The published guides set out how the Inspectorate will conduct its inspections and specifies the inspection activities associated with the various models of inspections that the Inspectorate uses. It also specifies the arrangements for the sharing of the inspection findings with the school. The draft findings of the inspection are initially shared at feedback meetings with members of the school community after the visits to classrooms, interviews and other evidence collection activities have been completed in accordance with the arrangements outlined in the published inspection guides. Following the completion of the feedback meetings, the draft inspection report is finalised and issued to the school for factual verification and later for school response.

Teachers, school leaders, practitioners and boards of management who have been affected by an inspection can seek a review of an inspection in accordance with the Inspectorate’s Procedure for Review of Inspections on Schools and Teachers under Section 13(9) of the Education Act 1998 (2015). This procedure clearly sets out the steps that the Inspectorate will follow where a party affected by the inspection has requested a review of the inspection. The Procedure provides that if a teacher, practitioner or the board of management of a school or other setting requests a formal review, the publication of any associated report will not take place until the review and any matters arising from it are concluded. The formal review involves an examination of the concerns or complaints by an Internal and an External Reviewer. Should the outcome of a formal review be that an inspection and/or the inspection report be rescinded in whole, the report for that inspection will not be published and arrangements will be put in place for a re-inspection.

It should be noted that a review under the published Section 13(9) Procedure for Review of Inspections is entirely separate from any legal actions that any party involved in the review may subsequently take. As with any legal action, the issue of costs is a matter to be determined in the individual proceedings.

The “Code of Practice for the Inspectorate”, the “Procedure for Review of Inspections” and the Inspectorate Inspection Guides can be accessed at:

https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Inspection-Reports-Publications/Evaluation-Reports-Guidelines

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