(CMR) Numerous concerns raised by parents about the management of St Ignatius Catholic School last year have been confirmed in a report done by school inspectors.
The December 2020 report from the Office of Education Standards that gave the school a satisfactory rating found that while the school had several significant strengths, it also had fundamental leadership and governance weaknesses.
Parents expressed concerns last year after several members of staff tendered their resignations from the private institution.
According to the report, leadership and management at the school were weak overall, and both staff and parents were unhappy with aspects of the operation at St Ignatius.
The report stated that there were weaknesses in governance that did not follow the best practice requirements and that decision-making arrangements were not fit for purpose.
In fact, over a third of staff stated that the school was not well-led.
School inspectors found that “the lack of effective governance destabilized the school’s operation and continued effectiveness. The high turnover of staff risked compromising the maintenance of high-quality teaching and learning.”
According to the report, “the recent resignation of the Head of School had affected staff morale, and staff turnover had caused many parents to be concerned about the school.”
The report also acknowledged that there was controversy about funding.
The report recommended that the school improve its governance by adopting best practice procedures for school corporate governance. It also recommended a wider representation of parents on a school governing body through elections.
The report also suggested that the school give leaders appropriate delegated powers for decision making and spending within clear and realistic parameters to be held accountable by the properly constituted governing body.
While the school struggled with quality leadership and governance, the report stated that “no weak teaching was observed across the school during the inspection.”
In fact, inspectors found that teaching at the institution was good in the early years and primary and excellent in the secondary and post-16 phases.
According to the report, lessons were exceptionally well planned with imaginative activities, which promoted consistently good and often excellent progress.
The Office of Education Standards will do a Follow-Through inspection in six months.
St. Ignatius Church and School are located on Walkers Road. The Roman Catholic-based institution founded in 1971 caters to children ages 3 to 18.