Integrated College ‘unfairly judged’ says new governor

A NEWLY-APPOINTED school governor has said that inspectors “unfairly judged” Erne Integrated College in their report last year.

Last May, nine of the 11 governors resigned with Principal Jimmy Jackson-Ware announcing his retirement shortly after.

No official reason was given for the governors’ walkout but the College did receive a less than satisfactory report from the Education and Training Inspectorate last March with two issues cited. Namely, staff training to raise awareness of how to safeguard pupils and to review and update key policies relating to child protection and safeguarding.


Cllr Eddie Roofe is one of the new board of nine governors and he stated that the inspectors could have taken a number of factors into account.

He said: “I feel that the school was unfairly judged by the inspectors. When you see the minimal amount that was required to amend the unsatisfactory report, it has already been resolved.

“The inspectors were a bit harsh to come in at a time when there was strikes taking place as well. So the report didn’t give a fair reflection of how the school actually performs.

“Going forward, I’m looking ahead to seeing the school continuing to progress. Academically, the results were pretty good this year and the school has been strong for some time.

“Maybe the inspectors needed to reflect on the actual circumstances with Covid and everything. I think the inspectors were in a pre-Covid mindset.

“We now have our governors in place and we’ll be looking for a response from the inspectors and I’m hoping they will have positive news for us very soon.”

A spokesperson for the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) said: “The ETI does not comment on the work of any individual school beyond what is contained in a published report.


“The work of ETI aims to build the capacity of the organisations it inspects to provide high quality education and outcomes for children and young people.  

“Inspectors are very experienced, professional evaluators who evaluate and report objectively and fairly on the quality of education being provided in our schools and other settings. 

“They share examples of the effective and innovative practice they observe and identify where and why a school is not thriving so that focused support can be put in place as quickly as possible.

“The best interests of children and young people are at the heart of all they do.”

Meanwhile, joining Cllr Roofe on the new Board of Governors are: Kevin Lambe and Ellen McVea, the former principal and vice principal of Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle, Co. Down, and Eugene Martin, the retired principal of Ulidia Integrated College in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim.

Alliance Party local representative Eric Bullick is also on the new board. Helen Smith is listed as the sixth foundation governor and Lorna McAlpine, an Alliance Party councillor in Ards and North Down, is co-opted to the board.
Two teacher-governors complete the line-up.

One of their first tasks will be to appoint a new Principal to succeed Jimmy Jackson-Ware who has retired.

Cllr Roofe added: “There’s been a sub-committee of governors convened for the recruitment of a new principal.

“The process is underway and there hasn’t been an announcement on a new appointment yet but I’m sure we’ll find an excellent replacement for Jimmy in the not-too-distant future.”

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