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.
November 14, 2010
The Belfast Telegraph, www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk carried the headline; Keep out of it on the eve of this year’s AQE transfer test. The anti-academic selection SDLP’s education spokesman Dominic Bradley told Kathryn Torney that responses to a secret paper comprised by the self-styled Educationalists Advisory Panel including Michele Marken and Paul Hewitt were out of bounds.
“That is not any of your business. That is private business within the parties”
Dominic Bradley SDLP education spokesman
The attitute of both the newspaper and the politicians to post-primary transfer highlights their basic misunderstanding of the principle of academic selection for grammar schools.
- It is not a matter for consensus. There can be no compromise without betrayal of the principle. A grammar school without academic selection is not a grammar school. In England the Academies programme initiated by Labour and carried on by the Conservatives/Liberal Democrats has become the substitute for comprehensive schools. Some grammar school headteachers have, in persuit of more money, sought to transform their schools to academies. An academy has an all-ability, non-academically selective intake therefore the school becomes a comprehensive. Retaining the name grammar in the school’s name exacerbates the deception.
- Gerald Warner has highlighted Michael Gove’s deception on the academies, it is a pity that none of the educationalists in Northern Ireland have pointed out the danger in a part of the UK where 42% of pupils attend grammar schools. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100049415/michael-goves-potemkin-academies-and-free-schools-are-bogus-evasions-of-real-education-reform/
Michael Gove has made no secret of his delusional ploy
”to provide a grammar education without the selection”
Northern Ireland is now holding its breath for the first Montessori and Steiner schools to appear on the Shankill Road. Dawn Purvis MLA will be cutting the ribbon if her former colleagues in the PUP/UVF allow.
September 20, 2010
While the local media report on appeals surrounding grammar schools admission refusals, the Minister of Education and the Department of Education, Northern Ireland continue with their stealthy attempts to undermine the principle and practice of academic selection via testing. It should be noted by Belfast Telegraph readers that the education correspondent, Kathryn Torney failed to mention the DENI circular “procedures for admission complaints” in her “background” piece of September 17, 2010. One can only speculate whose interests she represents. When a grammar school can not select on the basis of academic ability by testing it is then a comprehensive school.
December 11, 2009
Only towards the end of the Belfast Telegraph “Sit Down – Sort it Out” did they reveal their default anti-academic selection position . There can be no doubt that readers convinced otherwise by previous Belfast Telegraph campaigns reflecting popular views on selection have been misled. Sinn Fein John O’Dowd’s refusal to participate may have given the impression that his objection was based on the Belfast Telegraph’s support for a choice of academic selection. The Belfast Telegraph made no such commitment. The rival Belfast Media Group proved that impression false.
September 25, 2009
The Belfast Telegraph petition campaign to pressure politicians into a compromise on the use of academic selection tests for grammar schools has taken on a new twist. The newspaper has established a Facebook site.
Interestingly there are no sign-ups from the AQE or Catholic Consortium leaders but many members of the Belfast Telegraph staff including the education correspondent Kathryn Torney have backed their own petition. So is Ms Torney for or agianst academic selection?