Northern Ireland

O'Dowd unveils sanctions on poor teaching

classroom scene
Image caption The state of education is to be reviewed

Education Minister John O'Dowd has said he wants to raise standards in leadership and teaching in Northern Ireland's schools.

Mr O'Dowd told the NI Assembly he plans to give greater legal powers to the General Teaching Council, to deal with poor performance.

This will culminate in removing some teachers from the teacher's register.

He also wants to revamp the system for training principals and vice-principals.

Mr O'Dowd said he may look at the pay structure so that principals are better rewarded for working in schools with lots of difficulties, rather than in schools with many pupils, as at present.

He would also like to see more movement among teachers and principals so that they do not spend their whole career in one school.

Mr O'Dowd has commissioned a major independent review of the state of the education system by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It will begin later this month and report in June 2013, at a cost of £80,000.

There is also an on-going survey of achievement in primary schools, along the lines of the Programme for International Student Assessment report into older children.