Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Department of Education and Science
School Inspection Reports
Question 87: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her views on the Incidental Inspections 2010 report; the way the draft national plan to improve literacy and numeracy in schools will address the concerns raised in the report; when the full plan will be approved; her plans for implementation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45025/10]
The Incidental Inspection Report on the Teaching and Learning of English and Mathematics in Primary Schools found that pupils in the majority of classrooms have access to appropriate learning experiences and achieve good standards, and that the majority of teachers approach their work in a professional and effective way. But the inspectors have also identified weaknesses in some lessons in areas such as teachers' preparation for teaching, the teaching methods they use, and the ways in which schools and teachers assess and monitor pupils' progress in learning.
These issues are addressed in the programme set out in the Draft National Plan to Improve Literacy and Numeracy through actions on initial teacher education, continuing professional development, school leadership and target setting, and assessment. The Plan also sets out a series of initiatives on the curriculum, targeted supports for schools serving disadvantaged communities and measures to foster wider parental and community involvement in literacy and numeracy development.
I have published the plan as a consultative document and I want the consultation to be as broad and effective as possible. I want to have the views of all of those who have an interest and a stake in this issue. The period for the making of submissions runs until 31 January 2011 and will be followed by the holding of stakeholder consultation meetings. It is hoped to publish the final Plan in Spring 2011.
The draft Plan contains actions for implementation by a wide range of stakeholders. Some of the measures are already underway, some are intended for implementation from the next school year and some require a longer lead-in period . I will appoint a group to co-ordinate and support the implementation of the actions in the plan.
This National Literacy and Numeracy Implementation Group will be chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills and will include national and international experts on literacy and numeracy acquisition and assessment from research, teaching and teacher educator backgrounds, and senior officials from the Department of Education and Skills, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and relevant statutory bodies. The group will also obtain input from representatives of national associations of students, parents, teachers, teacher educators and school management, higher education bodies, business and civil society organisations, and community and family education initiatives through a regular forum.