Parents in Northern Ireland will have access to more information than ever before after the Education Minister announced every school will be audited on an annual basis. This is from the Belfast Telegraph…
From April, the five education and library boards will publish information on every school’s finances, enrolment figures and educational performance.
The data will help parents, particularly those with children in pre-school or Year 7, make informed choices about the best school for their child.
A school’s finances, enrolment and performance are important indicators for a viable school.
Department of Education criteria describes a school’s enrolment as sustainable if it is a rural primary and has more than 105 pupils, an urban primary with more than 140 pupils, a post-primary with more than 500 in Years 8 to 12 and 100 pupils in Years 13 and 14. Its financial deficit should not be greater than 5%.
The information will build on the viability audits that were published in February last year.
Minister John O’Dowd said: “This information will be designed to give the public a clear picture of the shape of education provision in their area.”
It was just one of several announcements Mr O’Dowd made as he updated the Assembly on Tuesday on the next steps for Northern Ireland’s education system.
He also revealed that the primary area plans outlining the future for more than 800 schools will be made public on March 19.
Local communities, parents and schools will have until the end of June to respond.
According to the viability audits, 390 primary schools out of a total of 839 (46.5%) were evidencing stress in at least one category.