April 11, 2013
In March, 2012 PACE highlighted the difficulty faced by Education Minister John O’Dowd when Michael Gove announced a move away from modular GCSEs, which had been discredited and devalued over the years as a result of grade inflation.
Michael Gove moved decisively to bring about change but John O’Dowd rejected outright the proposals for Northern Ireland pupils thereby potentially relegating CCEA qualifications as inferior should the pupil be transferred to an English school or apply to a mainland university.
In October, 2012 after realising that serious repercussions would become a reality for N. Ireland pupils, highlighted by the latest GCSE exams blunder, Mr O’Dowd announces his solution - a review by CCEA. Readers will recall that CCEA is led by Gavin Boyd, the pending chief executive of the Education & Skills Authority but current chief of CCEA and the Belfast Education & Library Board.
CCEA is hardly best placed to conduct any review of the examination system since it it also the regulator. The regulator is responsible for ensuring the quality and standards of the examinations system. No doubt the predetermined outcome of any CCEA review will allow Gavin Boyd to position himself as the leader of a world class 21st century education system.
Perhaps Mr Boyd should pay more attention to Ofqual – a body not easily swayed by exams boards who also act as self-regulators
March 24, 2012
The Belfast Telegraph announced Friday March 23rd, 2012 that Gavin Boyd was “good value” for taxpayers’ money.
A meeting of the Chief Executives of ESA, CCEA, the Curriculum and Exams body and the BELB, the Belfast Education & Library Board would effectively mean Gavin Boyd in a mirrored room talking to himself. Instead of outrage at the very idea of such nonsense, the Belfast Telegraph promote such extravagance in a time of austerity as “good value”. Perhaps they may wish to pick up the tab for this inefficiency. No matter how Gavin Boyd slices up the bacon on this porker the most he dedicate to each job is one third of full-time – an indictment which even our political representatives have been forced to address. Will the Belfast Telegraph now apologise to all those politicians they tried holding to account?
“All documents should be checked for personal information before being made available on a website. This case also highlights the importance of organisations having comprehensive data protection training in place for all staff.
“It is vital that schools, colleges and universities introduce robust systems to handle their pupils’ information on electronic and paper based systems in compliance with the Data Protection Act and we will continue to work with those in the education sector to ensure they are keeping young peoples’ details secure.”
February 5, 2012
The Sunday Times today, 5th February, 2012 carried a front page headline: One-third of North Schools are “failing”. The paper was not referring to Donegal.
After receipt of results from the 2012 11-plus tests from AQE and GL Assessment many parents will be anxious about the choice of school for their child. They may benefit from an examination of the performance of all post-primary schools at GCSE, rather than believing the flattering information given at open days. The important figure to examine is the standard 5+ A* – C (including English & Maths). Local media and the DENI have hidden behind the figures which exclude this important information but parents may feel that achieving competency in numeracy and literacy may not be too much to ask of schools after 12 years of compulsory ( and expensive) education.
Kathryn Torney, former education correspondent of the Belfast Telegraph, and currently employed by the Atlantic Philanthropy funded TheDetail.tv authored the article but her qualitative “analysis” mainly refers to the opinions of educationalists with a long-standing anti-academic stance. None have solutions.
“Over the last 20 to 30 years, there has been a whole series of initiatives of different kinds all focused around the issue of low performance or underperformance. The most recent is the Every School a Good School policy. However, the situation doesn’t appear to have changed that very much in terms of the relative patterns.”
Tony Gallagher, Vice Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast
One very disturbing detail: thirty five schools fall into a group in which only one in five pupils leave compulsory education with 5 A* -C GCSEs.
All are named.
Do N.I. parents not have the same rights as parents elsewhere in the UK? Second class representation on exams cheating
December 16, 2011
If a better example of how the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly (108 MLAs) have failed to represent the interests of parents and pupils on education matters it would be hard to find. The media have poured torrents of ink and pixels over concerns about cheating by exam boards. This week the UK Parliament Education Committee met in Select Committee to hear evidence on the matter. One group was missing. Yes – you have probably guessed it by now. None other than CCEA, the Northern Ireland Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment. CCEA were the exams body caught up in examination errors and a spending scandal in the summer. It seems they are beyond accountability. Parents and pupils are paying for this and accepting second-class service. Your MLA is doing nothing to represent your interests. Think carefully about what this will mean for your children and their CCEA certificates when they wave them in front of a university or employer.
December 8, 2011
The Daily Telegraph failed to mention CCEA, the Northern Ireland exams body which is also the regulator for Northern Ireland. What confidence can parents, pupils and the public have in this conflict of interest in the provision of qualifications?
Glenys Stacey said the regulator would be
“looking in detail at just these possible conflicts of interests in the provision of qualifications”.
And she outlined a number of sanctions available to Ofqual including pulling “examinations set for January and for next summer with awarding bodies providing substitute scripts”.
June 30, 2011
Gavin Boyd has described his current CCEA role as “voluntary”. He just happens to be paid £150,000 per annum for his altruism. In testimony to the Northern Ireland Education Committee he claimed to have been brought in to the organisation “to raise standards in the organisation” and “drive up efficiencies”. Consider the following and decide if Mr Boyd’s affinity for self-assessment and an extensive proclivity for profligacy could be behind his frequent lapses in judgement.
June 30, 2011
So PACE will share a few names and faces to make accountable those who sat on CCEA’s remuneration committee in May 2008 and ignored requirements to have the Department of Education review and approve payments made to the “Top Management Team”