Interview with Chief Inspector – Call for Questions

by admin on 26/09/2011

Dr. Harold Hislop, Chief Inspector

Seomra Ranga is delighted to announce that Dr. Harold Hislop, the Chief Inspector with the Department of Education and Skills (DES) has kindly agreed to be the next subject in our interview series. Originally from Co. Cavan, he trained as a primary teacher in Church of Ireland College of Education (CICE). He taught in Whitechurch NS in Rathfarnham, where he later became principal. He gained a Ph.D. from University College Dublin (UCD) and in the mid-1990’s was seconded to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). He subsequently joined the Inspectorate of the DES in 1998 and was appointed Chief Inspector in April 2010.

This is where visitors to the website can become involved. Harold has agreed to take questions from visitors to the website. You can submit questions for him via the Facebook or Twitter pages, or by posting a comment on this post. These questions must not be of a specific nature but about points in general in relation to education in Ireland and the work of the Inspectorate in the DES. Questions should also not be of a personal nature, they must not relate to your individual school and should be succinct and to the point. I will collate / edit /amalgamate these and submit them to Harold for answers / comments. I will then put his answers together into a post on the Seomra Ranga website.

It’s a welcome development that the door of the office of the Chief Inspector is open for questioning from the teachers of Ireland through this website. This is a great opportunity for practising teachers to put questions directly to the Chief Inspector of the DES, so I hope that we can get a wide range of questions from the the teaching community. I wish to express my appreciation to Harold for agreeing to submit himself to questioning through the Seomra Ranga website. Please insert your suggestions for questions below.

For more information on the role and management structure of the Inspectorate, the DES has recently published a Reference Guide to the Inspectorate, which can be downloaded from the DES website HERE.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Fintan O'Mahony September 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I’d like to ask the CI about two things:
1. What is his preferred model for future school inspection WSE, subject inspection, MLL or unannounced inspections?
2. What is the current situation regarding staffing in the Inspectorate, how have the moratorium on promotions and retirements affected the Inspectorate?

Venessa burke September 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm

When one thinks of what an inspector sees ( the good, the bad and the rest) it is an awful shame that this insight is never used in a real way in the schools they inspect. Inspectors could help in a very positive way by sharing the good ideas and strategies they have seen up and running in schools. Would this more advisory role every be considered?
Many thanks for this opportunity,
Venessa Burke.

Peter September 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm

What does Dr. Hislop think of Finland’s decision to abolish the inspectorate in the 1990s?
Would such a move be beneficial here?
Why, or why not?

admin September 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Interesting question Peter, and I look forward to definitely including it.

Peter September 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Thanks. I also have one more, but it is purely one of curiosity.
On what topic did Dr. Hislop do his doctoral research?

Brid September 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Why is there such difference in accepted requirements by different inspectors? For example why do some inspectors accept Folens planners while others insist on pages of notes for Scéim Coicíse/Cuntas Míosúla?

Michéal September 30, 2011 at 8:52 am

I would love clarity on the requirement to do IEP’s since the EPSEN has been deferred indefinitely. As some inspectors are asking for these even though there is no legal background and legal cases could be brought forward against a teacher who is compelled to do an IEP for an individual. Can this be clarified as there is a lot of confusion on the issue.

Joe Farrelly October 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm

What training do the inspectorate receive?
How is this training assessed?
Who inspects the inspectors?
What the inspectorate doing to change the “old” style cigire stigma?

admin October 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Hi Joe, I’m afraid your questions are too late to be included in the interview. The questions are with the Chief Inspector at the moment and I’m awaiting his replies.

Stephen Hayes October 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

Hi Damian,
My two questions for the Chief Inspector are as follows:
A. Can you outline what level of training that inspectors receive in terms of understanding how schools really work? (Many teachers will say off the record that the current style is unhelpful, unrealistic and overly bureaucratic)
B. Have you any plans to attempt some co-ordination between the inspectorate and the planning advice service? (My understanding is that the inspectorate has never met with the lanning facilitators at any level)

Mark November 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm

He sure is taking his time to get back.

Brid February 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Did the chief inspector ever return the questions? Or was he scared off by them? 🙂

admin February 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Still awaiting the replies!

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