Pay dispute teachers disrupt inspections

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Teachers at several Derry primary schools have succeeded in putting pressure on the Department of Education and their employers by disrupting a series of inspections over the past two months.

The Education and Training Inspectorate have revealed that its inspectors were unable to properly assess the quality of provision at Steelstown, Groarty, Ballougry, Donemana, Eglinton, Faughanvale and St. Mary’, Altinure, primary schools during April and May due to the non-cooperation of staff.

Members of the four teaching unions, which make up the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council (NITC) are currently in dispute with the Government and school bosses over lagging pay.

As part of this dispute teachers at local schools have been refusing to co-operate with inspectors.

According to reports for each of the aforementioned schools, which have been newly published by the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI): “Owing to the impact of the action short of strike being taken by the staff, the ETI is unable to assure parents/carers, the wider school community and stakeholders of the quality of education being provided for the children.”

The reports all note that staff at the local schools refused to distribute confidential online questionnaires to parents and staff and thus it was impossible for inspectors to report on the views of parents and staff on quality of provision.

As a matter of course ETI said all of the schools were listed as having a “high priority for future inspectionwith no further notice” following the incomplete inspections.