Independent Review of Education

Date published: 15 December 2020

Education Minister Peter Weir has today announced his intention to establish an Independent Review of Education.

The Terms of Reference for the Review, which is an Executive commitment in New Decade New Approach (NDNA) have been published today.

Speaking in the Assembly the Minister said: “The ‘New Decade, New Approach’ agreement sets out the requirement that the Executive will establish an external, independent review of education provision.  The focus of this review will be on securing greater efficiency in delivery costs, raising standards, access to the curriculum for all pupils, and the prospects of moving towards a single education system.

“Work to establish the Review had to be suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I am now keen to make progress and, to that end, have secured the Executive’s agreement to the Terms of Reference.”

The Review will consider a wide range of issues linked to the design and delivery of education.  It will include consideration of the education journey and outcomes of children and young people, support for schools and settings and system level design. 

Concluding the Minister said: “This is an opportunity to strategically review education policy, services and provision and set out a clear vision of how education should be delivered in Northern Ireland in the 21st century.

“We all want the same things for our children and young people, our workforce and our schools.  It is just that we sometimes disagree about the method for obtaining these outcomes. 

“It is important that we approach the Review with open minds.  It will be based on evidence; learn from best practice locally and elsewhere; and, be informed by the voice of stakeholders including children and young people."  

The Review will begin later in 2021 once a five person Panel is appointed via an open appointment process and is expected to last 18 months. 

Notes to editors: 

  1. An open public appointments process to establish an Independent Review Panel will be launched in the New Year by the Department of Education.
  2. It is expected that the members of the Independent Review Panel will be appointed by early May 2021.  Panel members will be remunerated.
  3. The Independent Review Panel will be expected to provide an interim report by within 12 months of appointment with a final report within 18 months.
  4. Estimated cost of the Review is estimated £270k.  This includes panel remuneration, travel and subsistence, accommodation, stakeholder engagement and research.  There will also be costs relating to DE staffing required to provide secretariat support.
  5. The Terms of Reference were agreed by the Executive at its meeting of 10 December 2020 and are available at on this link (external link opens in a new window / tab)
  6. Follow us on Twitter @Education_NI(external link opens in a new window / tab)
  7. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at: Press.Office@education-ni.gov.uk
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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