15 January 2009 Edition
Sustainable schools policy published
THE North’s Education Minister Caitríona Ruane this week announced the publication of her Policy for Sustainable Schools.
The policy was the subject of a public consultation and also subsequently benefited from the views of the Assembly Education Committee.
The Minister said: “It is essential that we have a robust policy to ensure that we have an estate of educationally sustainable schools, planned on an area basis to meet the needs of local communities.
“The Policy for Sustainable Schools is about ensuring that our children are provided with a high quality education regardless of background or where they live. It is not an agenda to close small schools. It is also important that teachers have opportunities for professional development and mutual support and don’t face undue pressures.” The Policy sets out six criteria for helping to assess the important issue of the viability of schools. These cover the strength of links to the community, educational experience of children, enrolment trends, school leadership and management, accessibility and financial position.
“Schools will be reviewed against these criteria on a case-by-case basis to ensure all relevant facts, including local circumstances, are considered in the best interests of the education of our children and young people.
“This policy is about ensuring our schools estate is robust and capable of delivering educational excellence to meet the needs and aspirations of all pupils while ensuring school leaders receive the appropriate level of support to help them deliver this excellence.”
The document, which can be downloaded from the Education Department’s website: