The NASUWT is clear that it is appropriate for school to be held to effective account for their work with children and young people.

However, the NASUWT remains concerned about the implications of the current accountability system in place in Northern Ireland, particularly the system of school inspection overseen by the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI).

The Union is committed to campaigning for the introduction of a more effective system of school accountability.

The NASUWT has produced advice and guidance that members can use to assess the appropriateness of inspection in their school or setting. The NASUWT can provide further support and information if members are concerned by any aspect of an inspection they have experienced.

The NASUWT’s action short of strike action instructions confirm that members should cease co-operation with any ETI inspection. This instruction has been in place since 1 February 2017. The instructions confirm that members should withdraw from any activity related to an ETI inspection, including being observed by members of the inspection team.

Members should withdraw from any inspection-related activity, making clear that they are available to carry out any of their normal duties not related to inspection.

 When an inspection is called in their school, members should:

  • ensure that their principal is aware of the NASUWT position on inspection before any inspection takes place;
  • speak to their local secretary, National Executive Member or the NASUWT Northern Ireland Centre for advice; and
  • not co-operate with any request from the ETI, which might include:
    • handing over information, pupil books, data or policies;
    • discussing any issues relating to their job or role within the school; or
    • distributing documents on the ETI’s behalf.

Members are instructed that if an inspector attempts to visit their classrooms, they should inform the inspector that they are NASUWT members and have been instructed not to co-operate with any inspection. The NASUWT’s detailed briefing on the action provides a form of words that can be used for this purpose.

The NASUWT’s action short of strike action instructions are designed to protect members from the excessive workload demands associated with inspection.

Further support and advice for members on using the action instructions in their schools is available from the NASUWT Northern Ireland Centre on

Call 028 9078 4480 or at rc-nireland@mail.nasuwt.org.uk.