The following statement has been issued by the Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC), responding to Ulster University’s ‘Briefing Paper on the Governance of Schools’.
Speaking on behalf of the Transferor Representatives’ Council, Chairperson Miss Rosemary Rainey said: “Whilst we always welcome and respect good quality, robust and impartial research, this report seems not to have involved engagement directly with schools, or representative bodies and fails to acknowledge the role of the Shared Education programme in promoting learning between schools.
“Boards of Governors across all sectors continue to support schools to promote sensitivity, respect and tolerance as core values while encouraging the development of each individual’s gifts and talents in preparation for adult and working life.
“The TRC works closely with the Education Authority to ensure that governors are provided with a wide range of training and support. All governors, including transferor representatives, are unpaid volunteers who sacrifice time and energy to improve school life and the education of our children, bringing insights and skills, such as financial management and human resources, from a school’s surrounding community, which includes churches, who remain an important part of community life.
“Governors act in accordance with recruitment policies and procedures which are designed to be transparent and fair, and school governance is subject to inspection by the Education and Training Inspectorate. To imply that governors do not follow guidelines and best practice in the exercise of their duties is disingenuous and fails to acknowledge the training they have received and the way they conduct their business.”
Rosemary Rainey continued by saying: “Shared Education remains an important part of school life and the most recent report to the Northern Ireland Assembly in June 2020 acknowledged that: ‘There have been many positive developments in Shared Education over the reporting period, not just in participation levels, but also in the provision of professional learning that has increased the capacity across the workforce to deliver quality shared education experiences.’
“It is important that we also recognise and express our continued gratitude for the significant commitment which principals and teachers have given – under considerable stress and strain – to provide education during lockdown and the amazing job that they have done to bring pupils back into schools. We thank all those who have stepped forward to serve in the rewarding and challenging role of school governor, especially at this time.”
Concluding her comments, Miss Rainey said: “Our priority continues to be the welfare of all our children and young people and we are available to engage with those who share this priority at any time.”
The TRC represents the Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church in relation to education issues in Northern Ireland.