Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

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Priorities and next steps for the education system in Northern Ireland - Independent Review findings | SEN services | early years | standards and outcomes | scrutiny and inspection | resources and workforce development

TO BE PUBLISHED February 2024

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

This conference will focus on next steps for the education system in Northern Ireland.

It will be an opportunity for key stakeholders and policymakers to examine the way forward for the sector following on from the wide-ranging Independent Review of Education in Northern Ireland (IRENI), with the final report due by the end of the year.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session with the Chair of the Independent Review, Dr Keir Bloomer.

Delegates will discuss next steps for the sector following the report, looking at key issues for addressing inefficiencies and budgetary pressures - alongside priorities for raising standards, as well as the prospects for a single education system.

Delegates will also discuss priorities for child development and early years provision, highlighted as a key issue in the IRENI.

Areas for discussion include proposals for developing high quality services and expanding universal provision, and moving towards an integrated service which promotes physical, intellectual and personal development from birth to the start of school.

Further sessions discuss key priorities for SEN provision following the DoE-commissioned Independent Review of SEN Services and Processes undertaken by Ipsos, as well as the Department’s end-to-end review of SEN and its place in the wider reform agenda.

We are also pleased to be able to include further keynote sessions with: Dr Mark Browne, Permanent Secretary, Department of Education; and Pauline Walmsley, Chief Executive Officer, Early Years.

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • IRENI: assessing key findings and priorities for the system in light of the Review’s final report - implications for policy and system change
  • the vision for education in NI: addressing education inequalities and underachievement - a joined up approach to education reform - assessing the case for an integrated education system
  • priorities for the school system: addressing funding challenges - adopting innovations and improving infrastructure - key challenges for the workforce - facilitating access to CPD
  • raising school standards: next steps for the curriculum and assessment - improving outcomes for school leavers - assisting in the progression to FE and employment
  • SEN provision: examining findings from the Review of SEN services - assessing challenges such as value for money
  • early years provision: improving access to high-quality services - balancing physical, intellectual and personal development - early-detection of emerging developmental challenges
  • scrutiny and inspection: ensuring fair and proportionate inspection - understanding how inspection and scrutiny can contribute to raised standards and educational attainment in Northern Ireland

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles