The Department is committed to ensuring that every school is a good school and has identified raising standards and tackling underachievement as key priorities in enabling every young person to fulfil their potential at each stage of their development.  As stated in the school improvement policy:

“Our vision is of schools as vibrant, self-improving, well governed and effectively led communities of good practice, focusing not on institutions but on meeting the needs and aspirations of all pupils through high quality learning, recognising the centrality of the teacher” Our Policies and Strategies for School Improvement

Count Read Succeed - A Strategy for Improving Outcomes in Literacy and Numeracy was published in March 2011, and sets out an approach that is designed to support teachers in raising levels of literacy and numeracy.  The final strategy was informed by a consultation exercise, which ran from 24th June to 30th November 2008.

Every School A Good school: The Way Forward for Special Educational Needs and Inclusion is the consultation document on the policy   proposals which have emerged from the Review of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Inclusion. These policy proposals aim to both strengthen the current arrangements for children with special educational needs and address the growing diversity of need in our schools. The Department is now inviting comments on the policy proposals. Consultation will run from 10 August 2009 to 31 October 2009

Every School a Good School (ESaGS) – A Policy for School Improvement was published April 2009 and is the overall policy for School Improvement.  The final policy was informed by a consultation exercise, which ran from 21st January to 31st March 2008.  This policy includes a requirement to provide focused support for schools which, as a result of inspection by the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI), are found to be offering less than satisfactory provision for their pupils.  This support is provided through the Formal Intervention Process.

The Literacy and Numeracy Taskforce was established to oversee progress and make recommendations on the Department’s strategy for raising standards in literacy and numeracy.

Guidance for schools on the School Development Planning process including measures to improve the quality of school leadership and guidance on Target Setting and Benchmarking as an integral part of development planning.

This work is informed by, and responds to, issues raised in the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) and Westminster Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports on literacy and numeracy.  This includes Circular 2007/11 and Memorandum of Reply on the 2nd/3rd Report of PAC Session 2006/07 – Improving Literacy and Numeracy in Schools.

North-South Working Group on Educational Underachievement

This Group was established under the auspices of the North-South Ministerial Council in Education Sectoral Format, as underachievement is an area of concern across the island.  The Group’s work programme has a specific focus on underachievement in literacy and numeracy, particularly among those from deprived backgrounds, and aims to promote sharing of best practice in this area.  Activities include:


Also available for viewing are Speeches from Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane in association with Educational Outcomes and Raising Standards.