Quality of education in nursery schools, schools and other educational institutions (hereafter jointly referred to as schools) is monitored as part of so-called pedagogical supervision which aims to improve school education. Pursuant to the legislation, pedagogical supervision involves:
- observing, analysing and assessing teaching, learning and educational processes and outcomes of teaching, educational, care-related and other statutory activities of schools;
- assessing the quality and conditions of teaching, educational and care-related activities and other statutory activities of schools;
- supporting schools and teachers in their teaching, educational and care-related activities;
- inspiring teachers to improve existing and introduce new teaching and learning approaches, based on curricular, methodological or organisational innovations which aim to develop pupils’ competences.
Pedagogical supervision covers two types of measures:
- auditing: audits conducted in schools which aim to assess:
- the level of compliance with the legislation concerning teaching, educational, care-related activities and other statutory activities of a school;
- the process of education, teaching and learning; and
- the effectiveness of teaching, educational, care-related and other statutory activities of a school;
- supporting: support for schools which aims to inspire and intensify processes designed to improve and enhance performance, geared towards pupil development (for example, dissemination of information; planning of development activities; organisation of training activities and staff meetings).
For details about auditing, see Chapter 11.1, Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education.
Pedagogical supervision, including the two afore-mentioned types of measures, is exercised at three levels:
- national level: Ministers of Education and Science, of Culture and National Heritage (for art schools), Agriculture and Rural Development (for agricultural schools), Climate and Environment (for forestry schools) and Justice (for youth detention centres, hostels for underage young people, diagnosis and consultation centres, and schools within these institutions);
- regional level: Heads of the Regional Education Authorities (REAs) (kurator oświaty);
- institutional level: the head of a school (in the case of a teaching head; otherwise, related duties are taken over by a teacher holding a management position).
At the national and regional levels, the government bodies supervised by the above-mentioned ministers and the REAs establish the following positions for external pedagogical supervision that require teaching / pedagogical qualifications as specified in the legislation:
- in the ministries:
- inspectors (wizytator), senior inspectors (starszy wizytator) and chief inspectors (główny wizytator);
- in the REAs:
- heads (kurator oświaty) and deputy heads (wicekurator) of the REAs coordinating organisational units responsible for pedagogical supervision;
- heads of organisational units responsible for pedagogical supervision;
- inspectors (wizytator) and senior inspectors (starszy wizytator).
- in specialised units responsible for pedagogical supervision which may be established for schools supervised by ministers other than the Minister of Education and Science:
- heads of units and other staff holding management positions and carrying out pedagogical supervision tasks;
- inspectors (wizytator), senior inspectors (starszy wizytator) and chief inspectors (główny wizytator).
Audits in schools are carried out by inspectors, senior inspectors and chief inspectors (hereafter jointly referred to as inspectors). See Qualification requirements, and Conditions of Service for Inspectors below.
At the institutional level, within schools, internal pedagogical supervision is the responsibility of the school head who works together with other teachers holding management positions (for details about the appointment requirements and conditions of service for heads, see the previous sections). However, the related regulations do not apply to non-public schools which may put in place different arrangements.
Qualification requirements for inspectors
Pursuant to the legislation, inspector positions in ministries, other government agencies and the REAs may be taken by:
- appointed or chartered teachers (the third or fourth professional promotion grade for school-teachers) who hold a Master's (magister or equivalent) degree (awarded upon completion of a second-cycle or long-cycle programme) and:
- have completed in-service training courses in administration or management; or
- have at least 2-year work experience in a management position in a school (nursery school or another educational institution) or an initial teacher training institution; or
- have at least 2-year work experience in a position related to the organisation of work in educational institutions either in a body exercising pedagogical supervision over schools (nursery schools or other educational institutions) or in a body administering schools (or nursery schools or other educational institutions);
- academic teachers who have at least 5-year work experience in a higher education institution and who have completed in-service training courses in administration or management.
The requirements discussed above are applicable to all inspectors, regardless of the level of the school education system where they conduct audits.
Conditions of service for inspectors
The Regional Education Authorities (REAs) are a government administration unit at the regional level. Conditions of service are regulated by the legislation on civil service as inspectors, like other staff in government administration bodies, have the status of civil servants, and by the legislation on the teaching profession as inspectors also have the status of teachers.
Job vacancies for inspectors are published internally for staff in government administration bodies or the REAs in the case of internal recruitment or in the Public Information Bulletin for external recruitment. The recruitment process is conducted by a team which analyses documents submitted by candidates and holds interviews or a test. The team selects one best candidate and several reserve candidates according to the extent to which they fulfil the criteria set. The final decision to employ an inspector is taken by an authorised official in the case of recruitment in a government administration body or the Head of the REA (kurator oświaty) in the case of the regional education authorities.
Pursuant to the legislation on civil service, the employment relationship with an inspector (as any other civil servant) may be terminated or may cease in case he / she has received two successive negative assessments of performance, acted in breach of the law, lost good repute or lost the rights to hold the position, or is no longer able to hold the position for health-related reasons.
Inspectors are entitled to a salary and other benefits for civil servants. The salary comprises the basic pay, determined according to the position held, an allowance for the employment period in civil service and, depending on the mode of employment, an allowance for the professional grade held. Inspectors are also eligible to receive a number of benefits available to teachers. These include, for example, opportunities for the promotion to a higher grade in the professional promotion system for teachers, special retirement benefits (see Chapter 9.2, Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education) and the right to tied accommodation.
Participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities is taken into account in the performance appraisal of inspectors. Inspectors can take part in various types of CPD activities for school education staff which are organised by in-service teacher training institutions, continuing education institutions, higher education institutions and other educational and training institutions.