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.
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
UTV broke a story on the unregulated transfer tests http://www.u.tv/News/Transfer-tests-leaked-to-parents/aa9483bf-7684-4e40-926a-e18574a0ab69 UTV decided only to mention this development on their website thereby robbing parents and pupils of an opportunity to ask pertinent questions of their school principals and teachers.
At present GL assessment have yet to deny the growing belief that questions appearing in the 2009 test may re-appear in the 2011 version. If this turns out t be the case the validity and reliability of the PPTC sponsored test is destroyed.
Parents will recall PACE’s previous warning about the lack of specification for the GL Assessment test
Peter Robinson this morning signaled his personal willingness to sacrifice the principle of academic selection in order to stay in power. In a statement conveniently timed with Cardinal Brady’s announcement for the future comprehensivisation of Catholic education, the DUP leader has signalled to Sinn Fein and other anti-selection that it is now safe for them to make academic selection and the 11-plus an issue over which they can threaten to bring down the Northern Ireland Executive. Peter Robinson has made the principle of selection negotiable.
“I am determined to ensure that an academic option is available to those from all backgrounds who wish to pursue this path.”
Peter Robinson First Minister
Unfortunately Mr Robinson has not insisted that during the interim period before any introduction of Computer Adaptive Testing, the AQE CEA 11-plus must become the only acceptable exams option not the GL Assessment one day and inferior approach.
Leaving the decision on agreeing a single test to grammar school principals at a meeting in Methodist College this evening is akin to Peter Robinson and the DUP insisting the the Ulster Unionists endorse the Hillsborough Agreement with Sinn Fein.
September 30, 2009
May 12, 2009
Letters like this must be difficult for the Minister of Education to read, given her failure to deliver a better solution to post-primary transfer.
March 7, 2009
In a dramatic fashion one Northern Ireland Primary School demonstrated that they understand who they work for and who controls their school – the parents.
Parents have withdrawn their children from the County Down primary school.
The parents at Millennium Integrated Primary in Carryduff believed the school was not going to teach pupils for a replacement to the 11 plus.
The school quickly sought to characterise the matter as a misunderstanding. Perhaps the management and teachers now understand that their various attempts to cajole, bully and mislead parents on behalf of their unions and the DENI can be easily remedied by a simple action by parents - withdrawal of children.
In their rapid response to the removal of the pupils the Millennium Integrated Primary have demonstrated that the ” misunderstanding” was nothing of the sort. Indeed the position is now further complicated by their claim to be:
“ preparing pupils for up to three different sorts of exams to cover the diversity of its pupil population.”
The only exam to be prepared for is the AQE numeracy and literacy test which is a part of the revised curriculum.
The so-called NFER verbal reasoning tests offered by the Catholic schools can only be coached for by ignoring some other aspect of the curriculum. The Minister has made clear that her Inspectorate will take action if this occurs.
Since the Education Minister withdrew her CCEA commissioned test and no specification has ever been revealed for it then Millennium Integrated Primary are further mistaken in telling the BBC that they are preparing children for a third exam.
The nonsense and misinformation spouted by the teachers’ union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, is exemplified by the statement to its members claiming “it is illegal to divert from the new primary school curriculum during school hours to coach for the new tests.”
PACE suggests that the union place a call to the DENI to check the law.
Well done Carryduff parents. The answer for other concerned P6 parents is obvious. If you have concerns about teachers willingness to prepare your child for numeracy and literacy testing – move your child to a school which is prepared to teach.
March 6, 2009
Stanley Poots and his band of primary heads in Lisburn have escalated their reluctance to comply with legal responsibilities to teach children under their care. In refusing to assist with efforts to ensure smooth transfer from primary to post-primary school Stanley’s band are likely to further enrage parents who wish to see their children afforded equality of opportunity in provision of the revised curriculum.
It is well known that primary school prncipals are adverse to accountability (see Betty Orr et al., Edenbrooke Primary, Belfast) and therefore Mr Poots grandstanding over refusal to cooperate with local grammars will be seen as an extension of this reluctance to be measured.
A simple question arises
“What aspect of the compulsory revised curriculum in numeracy and literacy will not be taught by teachers at Mr Poot’s Dromara Primary School?”
No doubt Mr Poots ‘ answer will be broadcast by the BBC imminently.
Mr Poots may know that instruction has many synonyms, including:
apprenticeship, chalk talk, coaching, direction, discipline, drilling, edification, enlightenment, grounding, guidance, information, lesson, preparation, schooling, teaching, training, tuition, tutelage
If 11-plus papers were good enough for his teachers prior to the withdrawal of the transfer test then what has changed?
Mr Poots expresses “regret” via his inteview with the BBC Good Morning Ulster radio show but such sentiment will stand in stark juxtaposition to his refusal to look out for the interests of pupils under his care.
Parents are free to make uptheir minds about Stanley Poots, the anti teaching principal.
February 4, 2009
Confirming the claims of chaos in the post-primary transfer system one leader of the Catholic education system, bishop Donal McKeown, claims that they will provide a solution in five weeks.
In an interview on BBC radio Good Morning Ulster, the ex-headmaster turned education policy maker could not articulate a coherent Catholic ethos in respect of transfer.
What became clear to listeners was that the church feared an exodus to non-Catholic grammar schools in the wake of the Education Minister’s announcement of her “guidance” What was less clear was the role played by Bishop McKeown during the past decade in providing advice to the Department of Education submitted via Burns Report, Costello Report and various position papers on behalf of CCMS, the Catholic Bishops and heads groups.
It appears that the Catholic Churches position is that of Sinn Fein (ourselves alone) on education The Sinn Fein minister is delivering the policy of the Catholic Church on education. That position is anti-academic selection although selection inside the Catholic schools will continue. The fears of Sinn Fein and the Catholic Church are similar – the organic integration of Christian schoolchildren resulting in a loss of control.
Bishop McKeown cannot avoid his accountability on the descent into chaos. Five weeks, five months or five years will not assuage his fears.
December 1, 2008
BBC Northern Ireland reporter, Maggie Taggart, continues to push the DENI and Sinn Fein line concerning the ending of the 11-plus and the vacuum filling its absence.
Taggart’s first major gaffe on the issue of accuracy surrounds the statement:
Few people mourn the passing of the current test but there is consternation among some parents, teachers and politicians that there will be no officially regulated method for grammar schools to choose the brightest pupils.
Using data from the DENI Household Survey of 2002 where close to 100,000 respondents were satisfied with the 11-plus transfer test and the fact that 15,000 pupils took the last 11-plus transfer test two weeks ago makes the statement “Few people mourn the passing of the current test” seem like editorialising but is neither accurate nor reflective of publc sentiment.
The second area of concern arises from the statement:
As an interim measure, the minister for education has offered a compromise deal: Grammar schools could use tests set and marked by the CCEA (Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment).
The Parental Alliance for Choice in Education sought the specification for such a test given earlier claims that testing the revised curriculum was impossible. The BBC have been provided with a copy of an FOI request reply 2008/184F from the CCEA in which they state:
In applying the exemption CCEA has considered the Public Interest Test (PIT). Some information such as the format and length of the test is already in the public domain. Publication of the specification at this stage would not further public understanding of the issue. We have concluded, therefore, that the balance remains in favour of withholding the information.
Simple message from Ruane’s DENI and CCEA. We’ll tell you what is good for you.