It is not left to Irish secondary schools to judge their own performance (though, of course, all schools should and do so); the Department of Education and Skills maintains a force of inspectors to visit schools and give an impartial judgement on how they are doing.
Here are some comments plucked from the inspectors’ report on Coláiste Ráithín.
“Coláiste Ráithín provides a high standard of education through the medium of Irish for its students.”
“Students…perform well in matters of acceptance on higher level courses and in pursuing professional careers.”
“The two aspects of the school’s mission – to provide a liberal education and to do so via the Irish language – receive balanced emphasis.”
“[The school is]…noted for sciences, music and the arts.”
“A pleasant, relaxed atmosphere prevails…students [are] content and at ease…atmosphere based on friendship and respect…the very best of care.”
The report goes on to describe the standard of teaching as “good,” with expertise and ability to a high standard shown by the teaching staff. Students are encouraged to work in an organized and systematic way and were said to work diligently and willingly in the main. All students were said to be welcomed into the school, regardless of social, linguistic or economic background.
In 2012, Dr Harold Hislop, Chief Inspector at the Department of Education and Skills, laid out what he believed to be the standards that should be achieved in secondary education and the role of inspectors in seeing that it was reached. His focus was on quality assurance and on the role of all participants in ensuring that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for each student should be taken to the maximum level that that student was capable of reaching. He singled out, among others:
- The quality of the curriculum
- The quality of professional education received by the staff
- The quality of the experience received by learners.
On the basis of the report quoted earlier on this page, there is little doubt that Coláiste Ráithín is delivering a first rate educational experience to its students.