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
No words required – the video tells the story. Not one mention of the academic excellence achieved by the pupils required. Michael Gove and John O’Dowd should watch this to realise that they will never get rid of grammar schools – the next generation are already enthused.
November 11, 2011
Fred Naylor, the co-founder of the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education has died, aged 92. Fred , who was in charge of the Bath Technical School, which later became Culverhay School, was actively involved in local and national education even after his retirement.
He was born in St Helen’s in Lancashire and after leaving school, went to study chemistry at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
It was while he was there that he met his future wife Marjorie, also a teacher, who died just a month before him, in September at the age of 86.
Fred Naylor taught at a number of schools around the country, including ones in Leeds and in Scotland, before joining the Bath Technical School in 1963.
While he was there he was seconded to work in London, on an educational think tank. It was during this time that the school system in Bath was reformed and went comprehensive, a change Mr Naylor was opposed to, so when his job was re-advertised he did not apply.
Instead, he went to work at Newton Park College, which later became Bath Spa University, and was involved with teacher training.
Mr Naylor and his family lived in Kingsdown, near Box, and throughout his retirement he continued to be interested in the local education system.
He set up the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education (PACE), which campaigned for parents to have more say over schooling, and was also active in the National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA).
His work with these organisations led him to meet many influential politicians, including Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron.
One of Fred Naylor’s many publications had a particular emphasis on the Northern Ireland education system. Education for the 21st Century: Report by the Post Primary Review Body was published in October 2001 at the behest of Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s education minister. Known colloquially as the Burns Report, it advocates abolishing Northern Ireland’s grammar and secondary (modern) schools and setting up a new ‘collegial system’ of comprehensive schools without any concern for standards.
The pamphlet, Comprehensive Ideology: Burns and the Betrayal of Two Communities was written in response, though it is also relevant to the rest of the UK.
The authors of the Burns Report have failed to grasp that comprehensivisation has reduced educational opportunities on the mainland. Ever since 1972, when research by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) showed that comprehensivisation was a handicap to raising standards, the destruction of selective schools has been pursued for ideological, not educational, reasons.
The Burns Report is riddled with incoherences and omissions, not least the remarkable achievements of secondary (modern) schools. Fred Naylor uses quotations from supporters of comprehensivisation to show how illiberal they are and how they are undermining the Human Rights of parents. His analysis demonstrates that the ‘comprehensive principle’ is designed, not to protect and preserve different cultures, but to destroy them.
It is timely that the warnings provided by Fred Naylor and PACE are available to counter the cynical efforts of Sinn Fein Education Ministers determined to remove parental rights in education.
Comprehensive Ideology costs £4.00 including postage from 18 Westlands Grove, York YO31 1EF.
While Northern Ireland Education Minister, John O’Dowd pushes forward with his undemocratic removal of grammar schools by denying parents choice, the opposite is happening in England. Nick Gibb has called for the expansion of grammar school places. His support for the aims of the National Grammar Schools Association is to be welcomed. There can be little wonder about O’Dowd’s reluctance to admit the failures of comprehensive education available across the Irish Sea. Forty- plus years of evidence is inconvenient for Sinn Fein. Today’s Daily Express highlights an expansion of grammar school places as a good move.
Read the full story here: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/254638/Grammar-school-comment
A further article appeared in the DailyExpress http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/254638/Grammar-school-comment
and in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8592624/Grammar-schools-should-be-allowed-to-expand-says-Gibb.html
The Academies Bill has been passed into legislation in Westminster this week. Already it has begun to unravel. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/jul/29/michael-gove-academy-schools
The Conservative Party (which abandoned support for grammar schools and academic selection in 2007) has now come clean with an unequivocal quote from schools minister Nick Gibb MP,
”We are committed to comprehensive education and this bill will strengthen comprehensive education,”
Nick Gibb MP
he said. “Nor is this bill about scrapping the admissions code. All academies will be bound by the admissions code through the model funding agreement.”
Nick Gibb, said the bill would “grant greater autonomy to individual schools, give more freedom to teachers and inject a new level of dynamism into a programme that has been proven to raise standards for all children.”
Unfortunately for Msrs Cameron, Gove and Gibb the evidence for this claim is lacking.
Perhaps the Conservative Party in general and their “Friends of Grammar Schools” rebel Graham Brady in particular should examine the Northern Ireland experience closely.
When the Education Minister, Sinn Fein’s Caitriona Ruane attempted to end academic selection by withdrawing the official 11-plus parents demonstrated their objections and encouraged the development of a commercial replacement.
The number of pupils entered for the replacement 11-plus test was almost equivalent to the previous 11-plus. Parents were willing to fund the tests themselves. Unfortunately for some parents some grammar school heads have choosen to abandon the principle of academic selection and therefore the basis of grammar schools. Therein lies the dangers inherent in the English Academies Bill. Giving increased powers, without commensurate accountability, to headteachers, could result in disaster. Parents should not be surprised by the behaviour of politicians but should ask themselves about the decision making abilities and incentives behind the decisions of some grammar school heads to sign up for Academy status.
Caitriona Ruane learned a hard lesson. Time for David Cameron, Michael Gove and Nick Gibb to learn theirs too.
This is the undated, unattributed, incomplete and tardy response received from the Headmaster of Ballymena Academy Grammar School, Ronnie Hazzard in response to an FOIA request sent by the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education in March 2010. The postmark on the letter was 4th June, 2010.
Ballymena Academy joins a growing list of grammar schools appearing to think that the law on providing information, as a public authority, does not apply to them. Mr Hazzard’s personal assistant first claimed that the request had not been received when contacted after the 20 working day deadline had passed. An immediate e-mail with the original request date-stamped instantly disavowed the claim.
Read the request here and note carefully how Ballymena Academy totally ignored the first question and also subtly reworded questions posed.
No doubt the Information Commissioner’s Office will have something to say on the matter.