Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

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Next steps for the education system in NI - recommendations from the Independent Review of Education so far, the future shape and design of the school system, the curriculum, funding and tackling inequality

January 2023


Price: £150 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


This conference looked at the next steps for the shape and design of the education system in Northern Ireland, as the wide-ranging Independent Review of Education in Northern Ireland moves into the final phase of its proceedings.


Delegates examined key findings from the Review’s Interim Report which identified the key focus areas for the final phase, including SEN, funding, curriculum, assessment and pedagogy, and early years - with indication of a 20-year time frame for implementation of changes.


We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with the Independent Review’s Chair, Dr Keir Bloomer; as well as Cynthia Currie, Interim Director of Education, Education Authority; Nicola Byrne, Assistant Chief Inspector, Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI); Dr Brenda Montgomery, Chair of the Northern Ireland SEND Advisory Group, Nasen; and Pauline Walmsley, Chief Executive, Early Years.


The agenda was structured for discussion on:


  • The Independent Review of Education: examining the latest developments - building on the Interim Report - assessing priorities as the review enters its final phase
  • the future outlook: taking forward a shared vision for the future of education in Northern Ireland - ensuring a shared approach to tackling barriers to quality education 
  • the school system: examining its future shape and design - exploring strategies to tackle inequalities and barriers to improving education attainment
  • attainment: priorities for improving literacy and numeracy - early development and improving educational achievement - progression to higher education and employment
  • SEN: early intervention - options for improving SEN provision - support and funding priorities - developing the statement process
  • supporting education delivery: what is needed in terms of funding - the priorities for infrastructure development - supporting the school workforce
  • single education system: latest thinking on developing a shared vision for a single education system
  • early years education: early intervention - priorities for funding and the future remit and focus of the sector
  • curriculum delivery: examining the assessment process, pedagogy and effective support for professionals in curriculum delivery 
  • supporting disadvantaged students - including:
    • exploring links between deprivation and educational achievement
    • tackling the gender-based achievement gap
    • ensuring support for the most disadvantaged 
  • education standards and inspection: areas for improvement - training - learning from best practice
  • forward planning post-review: ensuring the delivery of recommendations and targets

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the Department of Education, NI; the Department for the Economy, NI; Northern Ireland Assembly; and the NIAO.



This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materials, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda