Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

Education in Northern Ireland: next steps for the curriculum, assessment and improving standards

Morning, Tuesday, 4th December 2018



This timely seminar will bring out key issues for education policy in Northern Ireland.

The conference takes place as officials in key Government departments and agencies consider options for policy - looking particularly at improving standards and next steps in developing the curriculum and models of assessment - and as the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee conducts its inquiry into education funding.

It will bring out latest thinking from key stakeholders on the way forward for tackling inequalities and educational underachievement - including in groups such as Protestant, working-class boys.

Delegates will also discuss new approaches to improving school standards, the next steps in self-evaluation, challenges for engaging with communities and parents, and opportunities for delivering change through effective school leadership.

Further sessions consider the future for the curriculum in Northern Ireland - meeting the needs of pupils, employers and the wider economy - and will look at the part that schools can play in shaping and delivering the curriculum, including through mutual collaboration.

Keynote Speakers

Tommy O’Reilly

Deputy Secretary, Education and Children’s Services, Department of Education

Justin Edwards

Chief Executive, CCEA

John Unsworth

Assistant Director of Education, Education Authority


Chris Lyttle MLA

Vice-Chairperson, All Party Group on Children and Young People

Rosemary Barton MLA

Education Spokesperson, UUP


Jo McColgan

Headteacher, Ashfield Boys High School, Belfast

Councillor Peter Martin

Ards and North Down Borough Council

Hilary Cunningham

Headteacher, Fane Street Primary School, Belfast

Roger Pollen

Head of External Affairs NI, Federation of Small Businesses

Mark Langhammer

Regional Secretary, NEU Northern Ireland

David Thomas

TIMSS National Research Coordinator, NFER

Professor Allen Thurston

Director, Centre for Effective Education, Queen’s University Belfast