Professor Connolly led a team comprised of anti-academic selection, anti-grammar school zealots for the Education Minister to investigate how to advance shared education. Not surprisingly the major recommendation of the report was propose legislation to end academic selection making it illegal.
Read the Report here http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofEducation/MinisterialAdvisoryGroup/
Note that this Ministerial Report is hosted by QUB not his DENI and and is clearly a political position heralded by the university. Readers will recall that QUB School of Education also produced the report on The Effects of the Selective System of Secondary Education in Northern Ireland in 2000 but the publisher was DENI.
April 11, 2013
Good luck to all the pupils waiting for their transfer test results. The children and their parents/guardians are to be commended for their efforts. The children, not least, for being willing to have their numeracy and literacy skills tested and excerising their right to compete for a place in a grammar school. The parents/guardians for supporting the efforts of those schools determined to deliver the equality of opportunity that a transfer test affords. 2013 is the forth year that the “unregulated” tests have been organised and delivered to the highest of standards and it is testament to those who have resisted the determination of an Education Minister hellbound on removing parental choice for a grammar school education to match the needs of their children.
It is important when the results are known not to fall into the annual trap generated by opponents of selection by stressing over the marks or grades (these always remove information and should not ever be compared to the old CCEA grading system) obtained by the pupil. Expect and resist the rumour mill but instead arm yourself with the knowledge that until the admissions process is completed no one can issue a guarantee of a place at any grammar school. The marks/grades from previous years may give a reasonable indication of a school’s 2013 intake but do not be put off in listing a preference because of something someone has told you “on good authority” or “inside information”. Remember that Open Enrolment has resulted in about 42% of post-primary pupils getting a place in a grammar school.
In making a selection of preferences it is important to take into consideration future plans for the schools. There is little benefit in choosing a school which in a short period will no longer be a grammar school. The school is unlikely to inform you of their change in direction, after all they are competing for your child and relying on their marketing efforts. Your child will not benefit in the long run. Forty plus years of research evidence and data on attainment shows that mixed ability schools generally produce lower attainments at GCSE and A-Level.
Add to that the negative impact of the revised curriculum and the entitlement framework and the Education Minister's insistence in breaking parity on examinations with England and this year's cohort of parents making vital decisions on behalf of their children must be sure of their choices.
Specific information on schools will follow
When you receive AQE test results for your child in the coming weeks the natural response to this news will be to avoid Cambridge House Grammar since it is designated to become Bi-Lateral (code for comprehensive)
“Cambridge House Grammar School will continue as an 11-19 Bi-Lateral school, selecting a proportion of its intake on the basis of academic ability, of 1030 pupils up to the year 2014 and will then reduce in stages to a maximum enrolment of 935 pupils.”
Notice that no information is provided on the percentage of pupils to be selected by academic abilty nor any indication that parents were consulted prior to the NEELB proposal
Contact the school principal and the NEELB to register your objection to the destruction of a controlled grammar school. Also contact your political representative and tell them you will note vote for them unless they reverse this proposal.
So much for the representation delivered by John O’Dowd’s Sectoral Support Body for the Controlled Sector. Antrim Grammar School principal, Stephen Black, a member, will be aware of this attack on controlled grammar schools but has remained silent. Perhaps he thinks the NEELB won’t come for his school too or perhaps he was too busy with his Gangham-style video production to notice.
The Rev. Trevor Gribben a TRC representative and avowed anti-selection man told members of the assembly education committee that the churches did not want anything in legislation that gave any particular sector particular rights. His concerns did not extend to denying the NEELB the opportunity to remove a grammar school from Ballymena without the consent of parents. Gribben was quoted telling Mervyn Storey and Danny Kinahan;
“The controlled sector has suffered long enough by being the Cinderalla. It has educated the vast majority of children from a Protestant background. Those schools must be treated with equality.”