Strategic Planning and Policy Development Forum
The Strategic Forum establishes time bound work streams as appropriate to progress specific issues and report back with recommendations. No more than three work streams operate concurrently and the Forum defines the parameters of each through the development and agreement of clear Terms of Reference.
To date Workstreams have operated on the following issues:-
Supporting Area Planning
The Supporting Area Planning Workstream was established in April 2012 with the aim of considering the various possible school management models that may come forward as solutions within the Area Based Planning context and provide recommendations.
The proposals prepared by the Workstream were presented to the Minister for Education in November 2012.
The Raising Standards Workstream was established in August 2012 with the aim of identifying where progress on implementing the Minister’s policies could be enhanced or accelerated, with a particular focus on improving outcomes for pupils entitled to Free School Meals.
The Workstream also undertook an additional piece of work in relation to the publication of the PIRLS and TIMSS study. The workstream’s additional paper was noted by Strategic Forum in March 2013.
Education Budget and Common Funding Scheme
The Education Budget and Review of Common Funding Scheme Workstream was established in August with the aim of identifying opportunities to maximise the education budget and to assist the Independent Panel in its Review of the funding mechanism.
The Group prepared a paper outlining initial views on each recommendation which was agreed by Forum and passed to the Minister for consideration in March 2013.
In his statement of 11 June 2013, the Minister acknowledged the Forum's consideration of the report, noting that their input had helped shape and inform his thinking on the way forward for the Common Funding scheme (CFS).
The Workstream reconvened to provide an agreed joint response to the consultation on the proposed changes to the CFS launched by the Department on 26 June 2013. This response was signed off by the full Forum in September and submitted to the Department on 4 October 2013.
The Budget and Common Funding Scheme Workstream was reconstituted in February 2014 with the revised aim of identifying opportunities to maximise the education budget and assisting the Minister in his planning for Budget 2015/16 and beyond.
The report (Education Budget) prepared by the Workstream was agreed by the main Strategic Forum and submitted to the Minister in March 2015.
School Workforce Review/ Leadership in Schools
The School Workforce Review Workstream was established in May 2013 with the aim of shaping and influencing the Department's strategic review of the school workforce by determining the key challenges ahead that will place demands on the current workforce and make recommendations that will help to identify areas that should be examined as part of the review and on the way forward for future planning.
The Leadership in Schools Workstream was also established in May 2013 with the aim of developing a set of proposals to assist in the development of school leaders.
The Strategic Forum considered the recommendations made in the final reports of the School Workforce Review and the Leadership in Schools Workstreams at the 3 December 2013 meeting. The Forum welcomed both reports as substantive pieces of work and noted the commonalities identified by both Workstreams in relation to professional development for all staff in schools, be they leaders, teachers or support staff. The Forum determined that some further consideration should be given to these recommendations in order to take this work to another level, in terms of producing a prioritised action plan for both the short-term and long-term. This enhanced work would be taken forward by a new Workstream on ‘Future Development of School Staff’
Future Development of School Staff
The Future Development of School Staff Workstream was established in February 2014 in order to undertake a strategic examination of the recommendations of the Leadership in Schools Workstream and School Workforce Review Workstream to identify commonalities (or specific differentials where required) in relation to the future professional development for all school staff and to determine a strategy for the way forward including a set of prioritised actions.
The final report (Future Development of School Staff) produced by the workstream was submitted to the Minister in November 2015.
Inclusion and Prosperity
The Inclusion and Prosperity Workstream was established in July 2015 to consider how the education system might more effectively contribute to promoting inclusion and prosperity for all young people in Northern Ireland.
The final report (Inclusion and Prosperity) produced by the Workstream was submitted to the Minister in November 2016.