Inspectorate and Inspection

Advice for second-level teachers in Ireland.

Inspection and Evaluation in Schools

Please see Covid-19 related Circular 0056/2022 on school self-evaluation and school inspections for your information.

Section 13 of the Education Act 1998 defines the statutory functions of the Inspectorate. Sub-section 7 states that “An Inspector shall have all such powers as are necessary or expedient for the purpose of performing his or her functions and shall be accorded every reasonable facility and co-operation by the board and the staff of a school or centre for education”.

The Department of Education has published a single comprehensive guide to inspections/evaluations currently conducted at second-level in “A Guide to Inspection in Post-Primary Schools”.

Second-level inspections/evaluations include:

  • Incidental Inspection
  • Subject Inspection
  • Programme Evaluation
  • Evaluation Of Action Planning For Improvement In DEIS Schools
  • Whole-School Evaluation –Management, Leadership and Learning
  • Whole-School Evaluation
  • Follow-through Inspection
  • Specialised or Thematic Inspection
  • Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspection
  • Evaluation of Provision for Students with Additional and Special Educational Needs in Post-Primary Schools

Work of Inspectorate

The “Code of Practice for the Inspectorate 2015” sets out how the Inspectorate conducts its work in schools.

The work of inspectors in schools and the ensuing reports are based on the standards set out in “Looking at Our School 2016: A Quality Framework for Post-Primary Schools”.

Publication of Inspection Reports

Guidelines for the publication of school inspection reports are set out here.

Review of Inspection Reports

A teacher or a board of management affected by an inspection may seek a review of the inspection using the procedures outlined in the “Procedures for Review of Inspections on Schools and Teachers under Section 13(9) of the Education Act,1998”.

School Self-Evaluation

Section 21 of the Education Act 1998 requires schools to develop a school plan, stating the school’s objectives regarding access and participation, and the measures proposed by the school to achieve these objectives. 

School self-evaluation is defined in Circular 0040/2016 as a further development of school planning. Circular 0040/2016 sets out the requirements on schools for the second cycle of school self-evaluation.

School self-evaluation must be undertaken in the context of the teaching and learning domains and standards set out in "Looking at Our School 2016: A Quality Framework for Post-Primary Schools”.