October 15, 2009
The Belfast Newsletter published a story highlighting the creation of a Department of Education master database containing records of all school children.
Ms Ruane’s Department of Education has developed the multi-million pound eSchools Data project which is currently being phased in across the Province.
It allows each school to view details of their own pupils, parents and staff — but some officials at the Department of Education will be able to access information about any entry.
The DENI said in a statement:
“Access to the data warehouse and its reports is strictly controlled. Users are obliged to obey acceptable use policies and sign up to a statement of responsibility.”
PACE members wonder if this is the same level of responsibility exercised by the Education Minister applied to post-primary arrangements and the numeracy and literacy failures of the primary schools?
In a statement Mr Allister said:-
“ESA and the Department under Ruane will, at the touch of a button, have not just educational data on every child, but highly sensitive personal data, including the religion of every child, the home and work address of every child’s contact, normally their parents. To this I object. At this time of increased terrorist threat and given the history in Northern Ireland of republican terrorists targeting security personnel, it is madness to collate information of this sensitivity and make it available within a Department where it only takes one mole to feed the IRA with security-compromising information and we will have murder on our hands.”
The entire statement is available here. http://www.tuv.org.uk/press-releases/view/354/allister-objects-to-�big-brother�-data-collection-by-ruane�s-department
While not a word of concern has been raised by Northern Ireland MPs or MLAs on this subject teachers in Kent have expressed fury over a census which asked them about what car they drive. Source: Mail on Sunday. Glen Owen Political Corespondent.
Examples of the data collection tool
George Orwell couldn’t have anticipated this unintended consequence when he wrote 1984. It took a Northern Ireland Education Minister linked to the IRA’s Columbia Three to find a back door entry into intelligence gathering methods.
In a move welcomed by many Antrim parents The Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister has issued a press statement on Parkhall College, once the only state secondary school in Antrim.
Most telling is that Jim Allister is not an Antrim councillor, MLA or MP but has listened and acted on behalf of parents from Antrim when their elected representatives have remained silent.
The triple-jobbing non-constituency member of parliament for the area, William McCrea, MP MLA has been typically and conspicuously silent on the transformation of the school from controlled to integrated status. The DUP education spokesperson, Mervyn Storey is familar with such experiences as a school in his constituency, Ballymoney Model School transformed while Storey was a member of the board of governors. Rank earned him no privileges. His failures may pale in comparison however to the three Ulster Unionist members of the Board of Governors of Parkhall school who may quit their involvement with the school after helping to deliver to integrated status against the wishes of the local community.
December 1, 2008
Jim Allister gave a speech in Bangor on Friday evening and spend some time on the new ESA chief executive
An extract from the speech included:
Mr Boyd’s time at the helm in CCEA was characterised by radical curriculum reform: he introduced a “progressivist” curriculum which moves us away from the tried and trusted priority of grounding children in the basics of English, mathematics, reading and science and instead emphasises, often in the critical early years through mere play, self-development of “the whole child”, leading inexorably to a woolly, frothy product, incapable of objective testing. Hence the link between this approach to education and outlawing selection. In an address to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, Mr Boyd’s manager for Curriculum Development, Carmel Gallagher, described the curriculum as a “Trojan Horse that would be the vehicle for effecting significant change.” The chaos which is playing out before our eyes is the result.
Parents can only wonder what will come next from Mr Allister.
December 1, 2008
In an interview with Mark Devenport on BBC Inside Politics Martin McGuinness added his latest “prediction” on the question of post-primary transfer.
“In my view there is a growing consensus about the age of 14 for transfer” said the man who asked a series of questions on post-primary transfer in 2002 to which he received answers OPPOSITE to his predictions.
Of course he ignored those responses from parents.
Listen to his latest effort at about 12 mins 20 sec in. The DUP have yet to make it clear that they will not be moved to selection at 14 despite the embarrassment caused by revelation of a document exposing their confused position by Jim Allister MEP
When asked, Martin McGuinness refused to comment on the Jim Allister paper because he claimed he hadn’t seen the document. No doubt arrangements could be made for Martin McGuinness to see the document admitted by his party colleague John O’Dowd that Sinn Fein have had sight of.
November 27, 2008
In addition to Ulster Unionist Party concerns about the ESA Bill troubles on the education front abound.
The Democratic Unionist Party, the DUP seem to have reversed a position cited in the Times Educational Supplement recently on academic selection at 14.
According to a press release from Traditional Unionist Voice’s Jim Allister MEP the DUP provided a position paper to Sinn Fein on the subject of transfer at 14.
Mervyn Storey, Education Spokesman, recently told the Belfast Telegraph that the St. Andrew’s Agreement meant academic selection at 11
The BBC have picked up the story. No doubt more to follow.
October 22, 2008
Prior to the media announcement by the Catholic Heads Association on their position on academic selection and testing a unionist politican seems to have stolen their thunder.
Jim Allister QC MEP issued a press release on his web site.
The message was a warning on a political fudge by unionists on academic selection and testing that would see a retreat away from the 11-plus by accepting a test which has less validity and reliability than the current transfer test. No doubt he was alluding to the St Andrews Agreement and the votes obtained by the DUP on the subject.