Education news

Teachers' action prevents school from exiting `special measures'

Movilla High School in Newtownards has been in formal intervention since February 2014

A HIGH school is stuck in `special measures' after action from teachers blocked inspectors carrying out a follow-up examination.

Movilla High School in Newtownards has been in formal intervention for almost five years, longer than any other school.

Schools in this process must work to address issues raised during inspection.

The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) gave it a grade of inadequate in January 2014.

Enrolments had fallen steadily while there was a need to address underachievement in exams.

A follow-up in 2015 concluded Movilla still needed to "address urgently significant areas for improvement".

An interim inspection in 2016 found progress was being made, however a second follow-up in May 2018 coincided with industrial action.

Teaching unions withdrew cooperation with ETI as part of action short of strike in a dispute over pay.

"Prior to the follow-up inspection, the school informed the ETI that there would be no co-operation with the inspection," the report of May's visit read.

"The ETI has a statutory duty to monitor, inspect and report on the quality of education. Therefore, the second follow-up inspection proceeded and evaluations are based on the evidence as made available at the time of the inspection.

"As a result of the action short of strike, the re-issued online questionnaire information was not distributed to parents and staff. Therefore it is not possible to report on the views of parents and staff."

The ETI said it was unable to evaluate the extent to which the areas for improvement had been addressed.

These included raising the standards achieved by the pupils in public examinations, improving the quality of the learning and teaching and improving arrangements for pastoral care "in particular by implementing more effective strategies to engage the pupils in their learning".

There was also a need for the senior leaders "to evaluate more rigorously the impact of the work done to effect improvement".

"Consequently, there remains a need for Movilla High School to address urgently the significant areas for improvement," inspectors concluded.

Meanwhile, Holy Cross PS in Attical has exited formal intervention after making improvements.

"The children express their views confidently and articulately. There has been significant improvement in the accuracy and creativity of the children's writing

across the curriculum, a particular strength being their topic work," they noted.

"The teachers' planning now includes an appropriate focus on differentiation to meet the needs of all of the children and the development of their thinking skills and personal capabilities. Almost all of the lessons observed were good or better."

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