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
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
Parents win in battle to provide more selective school places.
Kent County Council overwhelmingly backed a 2,600-plus name petition demanding a boost in grammar school places in Sevenoaks to meet high demand.
Perhaps John O’Dowd and other “educational experts” in Northern Ireland need reminding of the Martin McGuinness instigated Department of Education Household Survey of 2002 in which the majority of respondents told the Sinn Fein DENI Minister that they wished to retain the 11-plus and academic selection.
The difference in the two campaigns is the fact that 200,551 respondents took part in the Household Survey and yet John O’Dowd persists in his bullying campaign to try to eradicate grammar schools.
Northern Ireland still has a very popular 11-plus testing system – the good news is that it is out of Minister O’Dowd’s reach.
March 13, 2012
John O’ Dowd, Education Minister for Northern Ireland issued a Press Release via the N I Direct Executive web site announcing his decision for the future of assessment at GCSE level.
Unfortunately for the hapless Sinn Fein representative the extent to which the Minister is not fit for purpose is revealed in the content of his PR. Announcing an increased emphasis on punctuation, grammar and spelling, Mr O’ Dowd includes a spelling mistake for good measure. The mistake was contained in a paragraph referencing O’Dowd’s equivalent post-holder and political nemesis in England, the Secretary of state for Education.
One may only assume that someone prepared the press release, someone proofed it and the minister actually read it prior to publication. On the other hand…..
March 9, 2012
Absent a willingness or ability of the Detail.tv and the Belfast Telegraph to address the DENI data on pupil performance at GCSE and A-Level, Paceni offers a warning to the DENI and some reassurance to parents.
League tables and their limitations in the comparison of institutional performance such as schools is not a new issue. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2983325?uid=3738032&uid=2134&uid=372782467&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3&uid=60&uid=372782457&sid=47698738446577
Martin McGuinness banned such tables when he was Education Minister in the 1990s but his party colleague John O’Dowd has reintroduced them via the media to persist in the attack on academic selection and grammar schools. However no reference has been made by any education correspondent to an important paper published in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society in 1996.
John O’Dowd and the DENI have a statistics and research branch http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/32-statisticsandresearch_pg.htm but it would seem that they ignore warnings provided by those who cautioned against the inappropriate use of data to compare schools. The reason is quite clear. Mr O’Dowd is stepping up his attack on grammar schools for political and ideological purposes. Unfortunately other political representatives are colluding with O’Dowd in order to panic and decieve parents. If the DENI have a response to Harvey Goldstein and david Spiegelhalter the world would be delighted to examine it.