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Press Releases 2015

Union Calls Urgent Meetings As Anger Over Assessment Arrangements Deepens

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Irish National Teachers Organisation, (INTO), will hold a series of emergency meetings, this week, with school leaders over a deepening row with the Department of Education regarding the arrangements for assessing the educational progress of children.

The meetings have been called on the foot of correspondence sent to school governors from DE regarding the new assessment arrangements.

Mr Gerry Murphy, Northern Secretary, INTO said, “The letter from DE has ignited the fury of school leaders who support the view that the proposed assessment arrangements are not fit for purpose. Governors should not be used by DE to bolster a flawed assessment system in which their Principals have no confidence. Since the letter was issued last week this office has been bombarded with phone calls from school leaders who feel that their professional judgement has been ignored by the Department of Education officials on such a crucial issue.”

Mr Murphy continued, “These assessment arrangements are flawed educationally and for many schools impracticable to work. Yet the Minister is now determined to push a flawed system forward and impose it on our school system. INTO must question this approach which we believe is simply to allow a statistical analysis of grades for a range of government subscribed surveys. INTO firmly believes that engaging in this flawed approach will not improve the educational outcomes for one child by one iota.”

Mr Murphy concluded, “INTO had been working with DE officials on a way forward. Yet suddenly these talks stopped and we are left to question why this occurred. Our school leaders and the INTO membership feel so strongly about these flawed assessment arrangements that they are presently engaging in industrial action over this issue. This letter from the Department has ignited an anger amongst our school leaders. These professionals continue on a day to day basis to work to achieve the best educational outcomes for every child in their schools, - they do not need a flawed test or grading system to demonstrate they are doing it right or to report to parents on their children’s progress. These leaders demand that INTO takes action; that the discussions are resumed and that the assessment arrangements eventually agreed are fit for purpose and enjoy the confidence of the entire education community – not just a handful of DE officials.”