If there was ever a need to answer the persistently wrong and ideologically failed attack on academic selection by 11-plus testing carried out by the DENI, an answer to an Assembly Question by a Sinn Fein MLA gives a resounding response.
|AQW 6202/11-15||Mr Daithí McKay
(SF – North Antrim)
It is little wonder that there were no press releases, planted media articles or angst-filled human interest stories obediently spewed up using words and phrases such as child abuse, stress-laden, difficult, morally wrong, scandalous. The DENI have known since the Household Survey of 2002 that the majority of parents want valid and reliable transfer testing at 11. Their miserable decade long campaign has resulted in failure but the DENI promote failure by denying the taxpayers their right to regulated testing and then object to and hamper those who suceed in doing their work for them. If an example of promoting failure is required then linking the ending of regulated transfer tests to the promotion of the multi-jobbing ESA Chief Execuive may be a good place to start.
Also note that there has been no effort by the unionist parties to highlight the response to AQW 6202/ 11-15. This may be explained by their secret desire to see the issue of transfer testing disappear or perhaps they don’t read answers that don’t refer to themselves.
One written complaint was received by the Western Education and Library Board in the last three years in relation to a primary school in that area preparing its pupils for unregulated transfer tests. No written complaints were received by any of the other boards during that period and records are not kept of any verbal complaints.
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Mr W Clarke asked the Minister of Education to detail why she has withdrawn the test that CCEA had been developing.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.
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 1, 2008
In an interview with Mark Devenport on BBC Inside Politics Martin McGuinness added his latest “prediction” on the question of post-primary transfer.
“In my view there is a growing consensus about the age of 14 for transfer” said the man who asked a series of questions on post-primary transfer in 2002 to which he received answers OPPOSITE to his predictions.
Of course he ignored those responses from parents.
Listen to his latest effort at about 12 mins 20 sec in. The DUP have yet to make it clear that they will not be moved to selection at 14 despite the embarrassment caused by revelation of a document exposing their confused position by Jim Allister MEP
When asked, Martin McGuinness refused to comment on the Jim Allister paper because he claimed he hadn’t seen the document. No doubt arrangements could be made for Martin McGuinness to see the document admitted by his party colleague John O’Dowd that Sinn Fein have had sight of.
November 5, 2008
The BBC’s Maggie Taggart has made much of an “old wine in new bottles” story rearding a press conference announcement by the four main denominational church leaders on the way forward on academic selection, the 11-plus and the revised curriculum.
Unfortunately the Catholic Church, who have seen their schools rebel against plans to take them comprehensive, offer no answers to the problem but unhelpfully add to the schism.
There is no detail in the proposal -just an empty plea to permit a “compromise” between ideological opponents.
The Irish News exposed the fact that those deciding the future of the education system had been provided a blanket of secrecy. How many church leaders were involved?