Laois Offaly Education and Training Board services set for an independent quality review

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

laois offaly education and training board

Roisin Morris-Drennan, Senior Quality Officer, QQI; Tony Dalton, Director of Further Education and Training, Laois Offaly ETB; Padraig Walsh, CEO, QQI

The State-funded agency that provides education and training to thousands of young people and adults in Laois and Offaly is set to undergo a review of the effectiveness and quality of the services it provides.

The Laois Offaly Education and Training Board (ETB) is set to be one of the first agencies to undergo the new quality review programme for the country’s ETBs by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the statutory body responsible for quality assurance of higher and further education and training in Ireland. 

QQI says the review programme will evaluate the effectiveness of quality assurance of further education and training within ETBs and aims to encourage a quality culture which will improve the experience and outcomes for their learners.

The sixteen ETBs around Ireland will be reviewed over the next two years. Laois & Offaly ETB, Cork ETB, Limerick & Clare ETB,  and Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETB are scheduled for the initial phase.   

A statement announcing the reviews said that while each ETB is responsible for evaluating and improving their own quality, QQI is responsible for carrying out external quality reviews.  It said each review will be carried out by an independent team of national and international members convened by QQI.  

QQI said the review process requires each ETB to evaluate the implementation of its quality assurance procedures. It said the resulting self-evaluation report will be considered by the independent review team and discussed with staff, learners and stakeholders during a site visit. The findings of the review team will be contained in a review report published by QQI. 

Dr Padraig Walsh, CEO of QQI, spoke at the launch of the ETB review cycle. 

"This is an exciting development for the ETBs and the first review of its kind within the sector.  It provides a platform for the sector to highlight the initiatives and innovations which contribute to the quality of the education and training they provide, and which make a real difference in the lives of their learners.  

"The ETBs will learn much about themselves through feedback from the review teams and a broad range of stakeholders.  In turn, there will be increased public confidence in a sector committed to a transparent review process that demonstrates good practice and drives continuous improvements," he said. 

In addition to the sixteen individual ETB reports, a sectoral report will also be produced. QQI says this report will provide an independent overview of quality assurance across further education and training in the ETB sector, highlighting developments and issues impacting quality assurance. QQI says it is anticipated that the findings will help inform and shape future strategic decision-making on the ongoing development of quality and quality assurance within the sector.

LOETB provides education services at secondary school level in nine community colleges across the two counties. It also runs adult education and training services including those provided at Portlaoise's prison complex.

QQI describes itself is an independent State agency responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland.  It says its mission is to sustain public confidence in the quality of education and training, promote trust in the National Framework of Qualifications and drive a culture of continuous improvement by education and training providers.

Read more about the ETB Quality Review process here.