Students and parents to have say in education
Parents and students will have a say in the running of their schools with a new inspection process being planned for September.
The new questionnaires allow students and parents the opportunity to let the Department of Education know their views on everything from bullying, to how the school is run, to teaching and learning.
Between 20 and 30 questions, available in English, Irish, Polish, Lithuanian and some other languages, are planned and will be used as part of the Whole School Evaluation (WSE) process.
Parents and pupils will be asked to tick boxes ranging from "strongly agree" to "not sure" in response to questions such as "the school deals well with bullying" or "teaching is good in the school".
Education Minister Mary Coughlan said yesterday the questionnaires would add to the robustness of the evaluation process.
Currently, inspectors meet with parents' councils in schools and they also interview students on students' councils in second-level schools.
However, using questionnaires will ensure the views of many more parents and students are listened to when the work of school is being evaluated.
At primary level, pupil questionnaires, from third class up, will be completed at school and, in small schools all pupils will be involved, while in medium to large schools, samples will be selected.
In trials during the last school year, questionnaires were administered successfully to all students in second year and fifth year and to their parents, using a system similar to the one for primary schools.
A decision will be taken on the implementation of the new model this autumn.