O'Dowd Welcomes Primary Success

Primary school education was in focus this week when the NI Education Minister, John O'Dowd, has visited St Bernard's Primary School, Glengormley.

St Bernard's recently exited the Department's Formal Intervention Process following an inspection report rating the educational provision in the school as 'very good'.

Speaking during his visit the Minister said: "I am very clear that my priority is to create an education service that ensures all our children receive a high quality education.

"By ensuring this happens, I aim to enrich the lives of our young people and also lay the foundations for a strong economy in the future.

"As part of this work to raise standards, the Formal Intervention Process exists to help schools who are failing to deliver a good education to their pupils by providing them with the assistance they need to improve," he said.

"St Bernard's is an example of the success of this work. The school recently exited the Formal Intervention Process, having improved its educational provision from 'inadequate' to 'very good' in just over a year.

"This achievement reflects the hard work and dedication of everyone involved with St Bernard's - its leadership team, the staff and parents, and also the staff from the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and the North Eastern Education and Library Board involved in supporting the school.

"Above all, however, this means the pupils of the school are enjoying a quality educational experience that will prepare them well for their studies when they leave St Bernard's," he added.

St Bernard's is one of 11 schools that have successfully exited the Formal Intervention Process. The process is about ensuring schools are supported in making the improvements necessary to safeguard children's education. The evidence is that the combination of inspection and self-evaluation, followed up by robust action to address the areas for improvement, helps to raise standards.

The Minister continued: "I am not complacent, however, and am all too aware that, unlike here, there are schools that simply don't have the capacity to improve.

"That is why I have made a change so that from now on, where provision is evaluated as inadequate or unsatisfactory, an immediate assessment of the school's viability will be carried out.

"This is to ensure that, in cases where a school is no longer viable, quick action can be taken to find satisfactory alternative provision for its pupils," he concluded.


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