November 11, 2011
BBC Radio Ulster Evening Extra Listen from 37mins
BBC Radio Ulster Talkback Listen from 32 mins
BBC Radio Good Morning Ulster Listen from 1 hour 8 mins
Education Minister John O’Dowd launched a cynically-timed attack on Northern Ireland’s grammar schools running 11-plus selection tests on the eve of this years first examination. It comes on the back of his recent speech on teacher assessment replacing testing. Unfortunately for Mr O’Dowd PACE have already demonstrated the innacuracies associated with teacher assessment at Key Stage 3. http://paceni.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/northern-ireland%E2%80%99s-key-stage-3-literacy-levels-crash/
When will John O’Dowd learn that the battle to end academic selection has been lost? Since his DENI withdrew the regulated 11-plus without a replacement in place the vacuum was filled by parents teachers and pupils willing to continue a long tradition of providing an academic education to match pupil needs.
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.
May 28, 2011
The PACE NI site has been subject to sustained cyber attacks over the past three months but is now in a position to return to the blogging arena. We apologize for the loss of service and wish to thank all those who have offered or have provided support and practical assistance to combat the efforts of others to prevent the flow of commentary.
Readers can expect to see a series of posts on the pre and post election landscape with an emphasis on education matters.
For those subscribers devourng the revelations on CCEA’s spending then the next few weeks will provide worthwhile reward for visiting the PACE NI site.
February 18, 2011
September 13, 2010
While pupils and parents in Northern Ireland await a determination by Ofqual in the investigation of CCEAs failure in the A-level Chemistry debacle. http://paceni.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/ofqual-investigates-ccea-failure/ The Times Educational Supplement has revealed that grade boundaries were tweaked to avoid a glut of A*s.
The August 27th 2010 article www.tes.co.uk revealed that the practice involved an “artificial” devaluation of the exam marks in order to restrict the numbers of pupils gaining the new A* grade.
Ofquals statistical guidelines, based on last year’s results, suggested that 7 per cent of grades shoud be A* but the final proportion was 8.1 per cent.
In the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine some contributors were rather scathing of CCEAs product.
Of 14 different A-levels in which marks were devalued Chemistry accounted for 18 per cent of overall entries.
Can Ofqual therefore deliver an independent assessment of CCEAs failure or merely compound it?
December 13, 2008
After poor evaluations by teachers and parents the CCEA Pupil Profile has failed its intended purpose. However the DENI and CCEA do not admit defeat – no matter how wrong they are .
To stave off criticisms of Gavin Boyd’s appalling track record , an attempt will be made to include Incas into the Pupil Profile. A silk purse will be constructed out of another invalid and unreliable instrument pretending to possess properties it does not contain.
During workshops and focus groups organised by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) to evaluate the profiles, a large number of principals, teachers and parents did not rate the content of the profiles highly.
Parents’ main criticism was that the profiles did not contain grades/marks or a comparison with their child’s peers and that they deemed this to be an essential component of any school report. Many also stated that they found them “bland” and “impersonal”.
Incas (from the CEM at the University of Durham) will be claimed to address the problem in an attempt to avoid attacks on the establishment of ESA (which includes CCEA)
Information from the CEM web site on Incas Q & A states:
* Once governors and parents see this kind of information we will have a very hard time.
How people use the InCAS information is crucial. It is intended for professional use within schools and not for external consumption. If it were ever linked to promotion, or pay, or parental choice of schools or anything of importance which was not under the control of schools the project would be in trouble. As W. Edwards Deming said “Where there is fear you get the wrong figures”.
The DENI are quite familiar with misusing figures. Parents have every right to distrust utterances of reassuarance.
The attempt to combine the failed Pupil Profile with Incas can have only one outcome: failure.
November 21, 2008
While UK-wide attention is directed to the final 11-plus exam today the elephant in the room is the vacuum deliberately created by the Department of Education. There is no certainty about a test for next year.
The DENI have tried for years to convince parents that a Pupil Profile will “inform” their choice for a post-primary school. However the publication of a report from CCEA suggests that their efforts have once again fallen short.
CCEA Final Evaluation Report on the implementation of the InCAS computer-based assessments and the Annual Pupil Profile Report in Primary Schools during the transitional year 2007/2008A
Although many parents recognised the work required by teachers to produce this new report there were a number of aspects they criticised. Large number of parents were dissatisfied with the format and content of their child’s Annual Pupil Profile Report.
Parents’ main criticism was that it did not contain grades/marks or a comparison with their child’s peers which they deemed to be an essential component of any school report.
Celebrations on the demise of the 11-plus are premature. More to follow…..
February 18, 2008
The Conservative Party in Northern Ireland are closely aligned to Sinn Fein on education matters.
Entries on the Northern Ireland Conservative Party Blog site http://conservativesni.wordpress.com
of January 31st indicate support for the idea of selection at 14.
One must wonder at the thoughts of Margaret Thatcher, John Major,Michael Howard or Norman Tebbitt when the Northern Ireland branch of the party are aligned with the thinking of Sinn Fein minister, Caitriona Ruane, and her host of advisors presiding over the current education chaos. With friends such as these parents need have no fears about their children’s education future. Conservative comps.