Inspection of schools

What is a school inspection?

All State primary and post-primary schools in Ireland are inspected by the Department of Education on a regular basis. An inspection is carried out to ensure that educational standards in schools are maintained.

The Department has a special division called the Inspectorate that carries out school inspections. The Education Act (1998) sets out the responsibilities of the Inspectorate.

The Inspectorate

  • Evaluates and reports on the quality of education provision
  • Inspects and evaluates education provision at primary and post-primary school
  • Advises those working in the education system
  • Contributes to the development of education policy

The Inspectorate also evaluates the educational services for students with special educational needs. This is separate to the role of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) which helps improve co-ordination between education and health to provide special education.

The Child and Family Agency is responsible for assessing education provision for children who are not attending school.

What types of school inspection are there?

The Inspectorate carries out inspections in schools and centres for education and reports on these school inspections.

The inspections can include:

  • Curriculum evaluations
  • Whole School Evaluation
  • Child protection and safeguarding
  • Follow-through inspections look at how the school has implemented  inspection recommendations

Whole School Evaluations (WSE)

Whole School Evaluations (WSE) are carried out in both primary and post-primary schools. A WSE assesses the quality of school management, teaching and learning at a school and assesses the school’s planning and self-review. The inspectorate may hold pre-evaluation meetings with staff and management, meet with the parents’ association and make school and classroom visits.

The inspectorate prepares a draft report and holds meetings with staff and management before finalising and issuing the Whole School Evaluation.

Inspection reports

You can find inspection reports for individual schools and Whole School Evaluations on the Department of Education’s website.

Further information

Department of Education

Inspectorate Secretariat
Department of Education
Marlborough Street
Dublin 1
D01 RC96

Tel: (01) 889 6553
Page edited: 1 December 2023