Policy Definition in the
Department and the Role of the
Gearóid Ó Conluain, Deputy Chief Inspector
Emer Egan, Assistant Chief Inspector
Presentation to SDPI Summer School
22 June 2006
Key drivers of the
Policy formation
 Modernisation programme for the Irish Civil
Service (Strategic Management Initiative [SMI])
launched in 1994
 Delivering Better Government 1996
 Report by the Implementation Group of Secretaries
– Greater openness and accountability
– Efficient and fair operation of simplified regulation
– Clarity on business objectives of Departments
Key drivers of the
 Public Service Management Act 1997
– Enhance management, efficiency and transparency of
– Mechanisms for increased accountability of civil servants
– Obligations on Departments to produce Strategy Statement
setting out key objectives, outputs and how these are to be
 Social Partnership Agreements
– National wage agreements, but more than that
– Sustaining Progress 2003-6 provides for the continuation of the
modernisation programme across the Civil Service – targets for
– Specific references in SP to School Development Planning –
teacher unions made commitments that SDP would continue to
be implemented and embedded in the school system
Strategy statement
 Strategy statement
– Must be prepared by each department every three years or
within six months of appointment of Minister
– Led by Change Management Unit in DES
– Outlines key objectives, strategies and outputs/impacts
– Sets out the medium to long-term goals and the best approach to
their development
– Formal responsibility for SS lies with the Secretary General
 Annual progress report on implementation in the
Annual Report of the Department
 In addition, a six-monthly progress report as part of
Sustaining Progress
– Much more focussed report on achievement of targets
Drivers of content
 Programme for Government
– Policy commitments given by government on taking up office
 Sustaining Progress
– Specific section on better government and public services
– Themes such as stable industrial relations, flexibility and change,
performance and accountability, recruitment
– Issues included: customer service, better regulation, egovernment, performance verification
 Legislation
– e.g. legal duties of the Department or Inspectorate
Drivers of content
 Efficient use of resources
 Accountability
 Freedom of Information climate
– Open to greater critical scrutiny
 Reform of the Department of Education and
– Heavily centralised system
– Independently managed schools
– Over concern with provision of resources and
services – too little time for strategic planning
 Secretary General & MAC
– DES priorities and high level goals
– Series of objectives identified for each High Level Goal
 Unit Heads/principal officers
– Strategies/programmes/actions and outputs identified
– Business Plans for Section/Unit
 Line managers
– Business plans for individuals
– Performance management system
 Staff members
For staff
 Relate the individual business plan to the
Performance management and Development System
PMDS bi-annual review and planning process
December/January – planning and review
July – mid-term review
Covers work plan/training needs/skills development
 Weekly/monthly return of work – tracking of
evaluation plans and reports
 In 2007, PMDS will be linked to promotions,
increments etc
 Effective business planning is at the heart of
delivering strategic objectives of the DES
 Clarity on what needs to be done, by whom,
when and how this is to be resourced
 Provides benchmarks to measure progress
 Communicates priorities and progress internally
Critical elements
 Focus on key objectives, outcomes and customer
 Staff have clear understanding of their role and role
of the division/unit
 Monitoring and tracking
– Self-monitoring
– Monitoring by managers
 Aligning targets to specific dates
 Communication within organisation – shared
commitment/new staff/decentralisation
 Responding to emerging issues
 Co-ordination and alignment between business
The Irish education
 Education budget €7.2 billion
 Schools state aided not state run
 Local Boards of Management
 Centralised administration
 Varied demographics: concentrated urban / rural
System change and
 Social partnership model for social and economic
 Education legislation
o Education Act 1998
o Education Welfare Act (2000)
o Teaching Council Act (2001)
o Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act
 Clarification of functions and responsibilities of stakeholders
 Establishment of agencies for effective delivery of services
 Public Sector Management Reforms – Strategic Management
Initiative (SMI)
System improvement
Continuum of
and Review
Quality of
School and
Reporting on
Quality of
Services to
Bases for
in Schools
Questions &
The Inspectorate
 A centralised Inspectorate: primary and
second level
 A division of the Department of Education and
 Statutory remit under the Education Act 1998
o Programme of inspection in schools
o Promoting compliance with regulation and
o Advisory role for schools and for the
o Contribution to policy development
Emphasis on compliance
or building commitment
 A policing model of external inspection
o Locates control and development outside the school
o Requires significant personnel resources
o Dealing with unsatisfactory teaching seen as an external QA
 Promoting internal control and development
o Recognises that change must be fostered within organisations
o Based on a vision of school as a professional organisation
o Sees inspectors and school personnel as co-professionals
Our dominant
philosophy is formative
 Purposes of Inspection
o Assure quality in education system
o Provide an external perspective on the work of the
o Affirm good practice
o Constructively Identify areas for improvement
o Facilitate school self-evaluation
o Recommendations provide a platform for development
Transparent processes
 Publishing of criteria and explaining procedures
o Consultation with partners
o Publication of Looking at Our School
evaluation criteria
o Evaluation procedures fully explained in Guidelines
for Subject Inspection and Whole-School Evaluation
o Code of Practice
o Appeal Procedure
Publication of reports:
Minister’s decision
In summary, the Minister decided that…
 Wider availability of Inspectorate reports will benefit the
 Reports should be available in an easily accessible format
 Reports should be published in their entirety
 Inspectorate consulted with the education partners
 Inspectorate to publish school evaluation reports
Evaluation findings: a wider
audience for reports
 Reports for schools
following WSE, Subject
Inspection, Thematic and
Programme Evaluations
 National trends from
major Thematic
Evaluation Reports
 Composite reports of
Subject Inspections and
Findings have implications for schools
… and for services and agencies supporting schools
Supporting schools and the system to respond
where areas for development are identified
Policy Support
 Five policy support business units supporting policy…
 Evaluation Support & Research Unit (BU6)
 Teacher Education (BU7)
 Qualifications, Curriculum & Assessment (BU8)
 Special Education/Travellers/International students (BU9)
 Corporate Services / International linkages (BU10)
 An Ghaeilge (undertaken by BU4)
 Responsible for …
– contributing to the development of Departmental policy
across a range of areas
– for supporting inspection/evaluative activity generally
– for operational services for the Inspectorate
Objective 4(a)
Teacher Education
Contribute to policy development & implementation
 Advise TES on teacher education….
– Initial teacher education
– National Pilot Project on Teacher Induction
– Continuing professional development
 Teaching Council
Sections 24, 28 and 29
Under-performing teachers
Induction and probation: looking to the future
Objective 4(b)
Policy Support for QCA
 Advise sections in DES
– Ongoing advice
– When needs arise
 NCCA – approx 44 committees
 PISA – national committee and point of contact for
 Equivalences of international school leaving
 Languages – initiatives at primary and post-primary
Objective 4(b)
Advise sections in the DES
Liaise with outside bodies e.g. NCGE, IGC
Composite report on inspections of guidance
Guidance Forum
Guidance in Youthreach and for adults
Objective 4(c)
Special Ed, Travellers &
International students
 Inspections
 Publications
 CPD for teachers
– TES, SESS, Colleges, Inspectors
 Policy support
– Special Education & other sections
NCCA Committee work
Legal cases
North-South & international work
Liaison with NCSE and NEPS
Objective 4(c)
Special Ed, Travellers &
International students
 Advise on policy
 Assist Administration with Implementation Plan for
Traveller Education Strategy
 Process applications for teachers
 Revision of guidelines
Objective 4(e)
An Ghaeilge
 Official Languages Act 2003
 Exemptions from Irish
 Irish in Primary Schools: National Trends in
Achievement 1985-2002 (Harris)
 The SCG (Qualifying Examination in Irish)
 Ardteastas i dTeagasc na Gaeilge
 Inspection of Irish Colleges
 Provision of resource materials
Objective 5
North/South &
 European Schools
Curriculum and In-service provision
Extension of European Schooling
Centre for European Schooling at Dunshaughlin
 European and international bodies
Supporting International Section…. examples include….
OECD at CERI and other networks
EU Future objectives e.g. peer learning on teacher education
EU Network of Policy Makers – EFLUSL & CSEP Projects
Inspectorate co-operation: N. Ireland, Scotland, SICI
Questions &
Teacher professional
 Teacher Education Section
 Established May 2003
 Function
To provide a range of Teacher Education and
Development Programmes spanning the continuum
from initial teacher education to induction to continuing
professional development - covers curricular change
and specific areas relating to teaching and learning at
primary and post-primary levels.
 Links with Inspectorate which has a remit to provide
policy advice
Scope of activities
 Initial Teacher Education
– Colleges of Education [funding]
– Education Departments in Universities
 Induction
– National Pilot Project on Teacher Induction [2002]
 In-career development programmes [move
towards CPD]
– Linkage with system priorities and initiatives
– Management of Education Centre network
 Teaching Council
Current system:
some strengths
 Incremental growth in models of provision; a range of
 Direct involvement of teachers in design, delivery &
management of most activities
 Considerable professional development opportunities for
teachers involved
 High level of support from participants for support
service activities
 Cadre of high quality trainers with generic skills in the
 Active partnership between stakeholders
 Significant voluntary effort at Education Centre level
 Infrastructure of Education Centres
 Growth in TNPs and clustering arrangements
 Inspectorate evaluation of impact at school level
Current system:
some challenges
 Timing of in-career development activities: disruption
caused by teacher absence (mainly second level)
 Teacher replacement: experienced teachers joining SSs
 Time for collaborative school planning and team
 System essentially centrally driven
 Turnover of teachers in subjects such as CSPE/SPHE
 Accreditation of courses
 Access
Current system:
some challenges
 Fragmentation: independently functioning support
 Meeting system needs while also meeting the
professional development needs of schools and teachers
 CPD – a right and a personal responsibility?
 The development of practice to cover the three Is
 Capacity of system to embrace a new model: colleges,
schools, Education Centres
 Use of e-learning models/ICTs
 Challenge associated with development of Teaching
Questions &
Special Education:
Recent History
 Establishment of special schools/classes
 SERC report 1993
 Salamanca statement and framework for Action on
Special Needs 1994
 Circulars 07/02 and 8/02 and allocation of resources
 EPSEN ACT 2004
 Establishment of NCSE 2005
 NCSE guidelines on IEPs
 All roads leading to greater integration of students
Special Education:
Issues and Challenges
Special Education Services
Visiting teacher services
Grant-aid for assistive technology
Special transport
Reasonable accommodation in state examinations
Exemption from the study of Irish
Legislation Governing
Special Education
Education Act 1998
Equal status Act 2000
Education Welfare Act 2000
Education for persons with SEN Act 2004
Features of the
Duties of BOM
Enrolment of SEN children
Content of educational plans
Implementation of education plans
Role of principal in relation to Educational
 Parental rights
SEN Post-primary
 Will deal with:
 Whole school planning and organisation re
 SEN teamwork in the school
 Whole-school approaches to assessment,
selection and planning
 SEN teaching strategies
 Guidelines on IEPs
Questions &

Department of Education and Science Business Plan 2006