February 18, 2011
November 11, 2010
MINISTER’S FOREWORD to the CircularIn many respects Transfer 2011 will operate in a similar way to Transfer 2010, however, I have decided to make one change to the process
Department’s policy on post-primary transfer, initially described in Transfer 2010 Guidance published on 25 June 2009, and further consolidated by the publication on 5 July 2010 of a postprimary transfer policy covering Transfer 20II and beyond. It is important that recipients read this document carefully to ensure that the process of transfer remains functional and coherent in the interests of all children and their parents. It is clearly very important that primary school principals continue to offer their help and advice to all P7 parents. It is also very important that the primary school principal’s role in
“Primary School Principals should note that it is clearly very important that they continue to offer their help and advice to all P7 parents. It is also very important that the primary school principal’s role in Transfer is clear and receives the support ofthe Department. For these reasons, all primary school principals should invite parents of P7 children to an interview to advise on the completion of a Transfer Form and these interviews should take place on or before 4 February 2011. Grammar school breakaway entrance test results issue after this date. Primaryprocedure. It is possible that the need to generate savings in the education budget may preclude
principals are advised, therefore, that they should conduct transfer interviews with parents during a period when these interviews cannot become involved in issues related to breakaway entrance test results. Primary school principals have no formal involvement in these tests. Responsibility for completion ofthe Transfer Form continues to rest entirely with the parent. Primary schoolprincipals should also note that any transfer interviews conducted after 4 February 2011 will not be considered by the Department to be part ofthe transfer procedure and will not therefore be eligiblefor substitute teacher cover. An appropriate adjustment is being made to the arrangements for claiming substitute cover for involvement in the transfer
The DENI Circular on transfer: 2010-12 circular_2010-12_-_the_procedure_for_transfer_from_primary_to_post-primary_education_2011-12_pdf_2.62mb raises issues about the future of parent interviews.
AQE and GL Assessment tests and the GBA: Information for parents
While decisions over admission to grammar schools from last years tests have yet to be announced, the secrecy surrounded a group claiming to represent grammar schools (Parents – have you ever heard of or from them?) are busy making sure this year will be just as perplexing.
The BBC has carried accounts about the development of “one test” and allowed an expectation to flourish that such an outcome is possible. However the BBC have failed to differentiate between a single set of tests (a combining of those schools using AQE and GL as the test provider) and one exam instead of two or three.The facts and history prove otherwise.
Enter the role of the GBA. The Governing Bodies Association claim to represent the voluntary grammar schools. Exactly who represents your local grammar school and in what capacity is not made clear http://www.gbani.org/?tabindex=15&tabid=810
The GBA have two secretaries, many spokesmen but no treasurer even though they demand membership fees. A claim from their website states:
It supports, in appropriate ways, Governors, Principals, Teachers, Pupils and Parents. Members work tirelessly on a voluntary basis for all young people in the province. To achieve its aims it interacts with the business, commerce, industry and other public services.
It fails to mention the close, some would say, intimate, relationship with the Minister of Education and the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the DENI. Hence the statement by Caitriona Ruane yesterday on BBC Radio Ulster that she was aware of full details of a recent meeting of the GBA held in Methodist College, Belfast , including the fact that there was no agreement on a single test.
There are 52 grammar schools eligible for membership but the entire state controlled grammar school sector are excluded.
Twice in the last month Finbar McCallion, Hon Secretary of the GBA, was interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster Good Morning Ulster. Mr McCallion raised the issue of the “one test” and spoke of a search for consensus on the basis of the specifications for the AQE and GL Assessment tests being “similar”. A specification for the GL Assessment test has yet to be disclosed to parents. How can a test be valid or reliable without a specification prepared in advance? Was Mr McCallion misleading parents and the public to avoid further difficulties for the Minister’s failed strategy prior to the General Election? How is that Mr McCallion can claim to have compared the two specifications? In what capacity did Mr McCallion have access to the GL Assessment specification ? Who are the Joint Commissioning Group he referred to on BBC Radio Ulster? Is he a member? Which schools have agreed to this arrangement?
PACE contacted GL Assessment requesting a copy in February and were referred on the basis of commercial confidence to the Post Primary Consortium. An FOI request to Ballymena Academy, a GBA member school using the GL Assessment test is still pending a response.
Mr McCallion implied to the listeners that the two testing providers were actively working on a common test. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr McCallion and fellow travellers such as Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, Wilfred Mulryne, Scott Naismith, David Manning seem willing to see all grammar schools go the way of the Catholic grammars, i.e. to comprehensive status. Hiding the intent behind descriptions such as “all ability, foundation, bipartite ” or otherwise does not change the essential fact that a school failing to use academic selection by testing at 11 is not legally a grammar school. Even the GBA managed to point this out to the Minister for Education. Why they waited so long to do still requires an answer.
The two GL Assessment multiple choice tests are not similar or comparable to the AQE CEA “constructed response” tests. That being so, the motivation for introducing GL Assessment tests, mainly by the Catholic schools, is raised. The question of who paid GL Assessment for the creation, trialling, administration and marking of the test has yet to be answered. The AQE test was available to all grammar schools. Two tests were introduced in order for the Catholic grammars to achieve a goal identified on Slugger O’Toole by one poster.
“generations of Catholics who were abandoned and left to rot by self righteous institutional sectarianism”
The catholic church chose to set up a parallel sectarian system, and the state disgracefully acceded.
State schools were always open to catholics, still are, which gets us to the real reason the catholic church will keep selection at least until it it ended in the state sector.
They don’t want catholics going to mixed grammar schools, where they are already very welcome, especially for the schools’ accountants.
on Mar 03, 2010 @ 07:34 AM
3 into 2 won’t go
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.
March 24, 2009
Caitriona Ruane’s excuse for the continued deregulated and chaotic vacuum in post-primary transfer arrangements has been made clear in answer to a question put by an assembly member
Post-Primary Transfer: CCEA Test
Mr W Clarke asked the Minister of Education to detail why she has withdrawn the test that CCEA had been developing.
Minister of Education: Is é an t-aon bhealach amháin gur féidir teist a chur ar fáil ar bhonn freagrach, ná creatlach reachtach a chur léi a mhíníonn cén dóigh a n-úsáidfear í.
The only way a test could responsibly be made available is if there is a legislative framework defining its use. The successful operation of an admission-determining test requires not just a test, but a legal framework providing for which schools can and cannot use it, stating exactly how it should and should not be used and also stating that it alone should be used.
The test was a contingency for an agreement. My proposals featured a test in the interests of compromise and to give grammar schools three years to adjust to a long-term future without any selection and without any test. The reason that will not now happen is because others were not capable of equivalent concessions.
Minister Ruane’s warped thinking is exposed in her answer. She had hoped to gain political consensus from her victims, the grammar schools and those who believe in a choice for a grammar school, via their political representatives, to agree their own suicide.
Her effort has rightly failed but it remains her responsibility and duty of care to uphold the rights of children and their parents to a form of schooling which meets their needs. Ms Ruane continues to preside over a failed administration. It is unfortunate that her political opponents have been unable to outwit her.
March 11, 2009
During her announcement denying parents a regulated measure of their child’s attainment at primary school the education minister stated:
“I will not do it. The test has been cancelled,”
“To simply make a test available and not have a legal framework to define its use would be highly |irresponsible.”
Caitriona Ruane MLA , Minister for Education Northern Ireland Assembly
On 16th May 2008 the promise to parents was very different.
NI’s education minister has faced the assembly’s education committee about her plans for primary school transfer.
Caitríona Ruane aims to extend academic selection for three years before ending it.
It will take the form of one hour-long test of literacy and numeracy, and it will be held in a grammar school.
The Minister sent instructions through the Permanent Secretary, Will Haire, outlining how CCEA were to proceed.
Asked for the specification under the Freedom of Information Act the CCEA refused.
In early February the Minister withdrew her “regulated test” costing the taxpayer over £100,000
So who’s being irresponsible Minister Ruane?
December 31, 2008
On the eve of 2009 it is opportune to reflect on the legacy of ending the 11-plus in Northern Ireland. The “unregulated” system has left a vacuum of uncertainty for parents and children in primary schools. One group of grammar schools are offering a privitased transfer test similar to the most recent form of 11-plus testing.
The Catholic sector, unwilling to join their Christian fellows in the Voluntary and Controlled grammar schools, have broken away and will offer a retrograde “intelligence test” impossible to teach for using the current revised curriculum.
The Apartheid system facing parents in 2009 will result in further and formal segregation of schooling on a denominational basis. There will be no parity between the tests and parents living in Belfast will struggle to decide which test to enter their child for. The practical difficulties alone only serve to highlight the ineptitude of those charged with delivering education services. The peculiar moral and ethical juxtaposition of the Catholic Church’s position over a retrograde test for admission is best highlighted in the following passage. It should be remembered that the Church supports the revised curriculum.
As for the DUP; their support for the ESA and the litany of failures delivered by CCEA is only matched by their facile reversal of the St Andrew’s Agreement promises on academic selection and grammar schools.
CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION :THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL
In the specifically educational field, the scope of educational functions has broadened, becoming more complex, more specialized. The sciences of education, which concentrated in the past on the study of the child and teacher-training, have been widened to include the various stages of life, and the different spheres and situations beyond the school. New requirements have given force to the demand for new contents, new capabilities and new educational models besides those followed traditionally. Thus education and schooling become particularly difficult today.Such an outlook calls for courageous renewal on the part of the Catholic school. The precious heritage of the experience gained over the centuries reveals its vitality precisely in the capacity for prudent innovation. And so, now as in the past, the Catholic school must be able to speak for itself effectively and convincingly.The Catholic school, therefore, undertakes a cordial and constructive dialogue with states and civil authorities. Such dialogue and collaboration must be based on mutual respect, on the reciprocal recognition of each other’s role and on a common service to mankind. To achieve this end, the Catholic school willingly occupies its place within the school system of the different countries and in the legislation of the individual states, when the latter respect the fundamental rights of the human person, starting with respect for life and religious freedom. A correct relationship between state and school, not only a Catholic school, is based not so much on institutional relations as on the right of each person to receive a suitable education of their free choice. This right is acknowledged according to the principle of subsidiarity.(18) For “The public authority, therefore, whose duty it is to protect and defend the liberty of the citizens, is bound according to the principle of distributive justice to ensure that public subsidies are so allocated that parents are truly free to select schools for their children in accordance with their conscience“.
December 18, 2008
Parents should closely examine Caitriona’s Pupil Profile/Incas Assessment reports.
Since principals and teachers have been fully aware of this for quite some time it is remarkable that they provided no warning to parents. Why the silence?
Why did the media reports from the BBC education correspondent cover only the principals’ comments. Indeed the Twinbrook principal admitted ignoring the comment bank provided. It probably means she could have staff work from home rather than in the classroom.
In case Santa doesn’t bring you a better read.
Saving the best for last.
Exactly what is a developed ability and how is it measured? What is the Education Minister’s attitude?