Further proof that the attack on grammar schools is ideological rather than evidence based. Perhaps secondary school principals such as Uel McCrea of Ballyclare will stop talking nonsense on academic selection. Social engineering is not currently on the Northern Ireland curriculum so perhaps Mr McCrea should stop using it.
Allison Pearson recently interviewed the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Extracts appeared in the Daily Mail. The Prime Minister’s admission on the failure of comprehensives lies hidden in the text.
I am a pretty ordinary guy who went to the local school and was lucky enough to go to university.
Another way of putting it would be :
Gordon was a prodigy put into the fast stream of Kirkaldy High School where masters wore gowns and Young Gordon was named ‘ Dux’ or leader.
Two years ago , after decades of egalitarian education policy, Kirkaldy High was put into special measures and threatened with closure.
How would a young Gordon Brown fare now with a sink school to go to instead of a de-facto grammar?
Does he still have no doubts about what the comprehensive system has done for kids from homes without books?
He gets quite defensive.
I didn’t say that I had no doubts. We are now dealing with all the failing schools. I think that comprehensives did not work in the cities.
It is an extraordinary admission, even if it comes forty years too late.
Perhaps he should share it with Caitriona Ruane, Tony Gallagher, Gavin Boyd and Bishop Donal McKeown?
A story in the Sunday Telegraph reveals the mechanisms used to attack grammar schools without declaring war. The role of the Catholic Church leaders becomes clear along with the intent to mislead and misrepresent parents’ views.
It is interesting that not one single media outlet in Northern Ireland has tackled this issue in depth despite examples of Catholic bilateral schools having been established here.
Evidence on the effects of selective educational systems – A report for the Sutton Trust
by Robert Coe, Karen Jones, Jeff Searle, Dimitra Kokotsaki, Azlina Mohd Kosnin, Paul Skinner, CEM Centre, Durham University, UK
www.cemcentre.org, October 2008
“The majority of studies (and all of those we judge to be methodologically strongest) report that pupils who attend grammar schools do better than equally able pupils in comprehensives. This is true both for those that used national datasets and those based on the NCDS data.”
“We have also failed to find any evidence of collateral harm to any other schools, arising from the existence of grammar schools. Overall, schools are just as likely to be performing well, whether or not they are ‘creamed’ by a grammar school. Hence, on the basis of KS4 performance at least, there do not appear to be strong grounds for abolishing selection as it currently operates.” [Page 236]
“Different qualifications taken at KS4 are not of equal difficulty, and the points awarded to ‘equivalent’ qualifications do not necessarily reflect this…Overall, more able pupils tend to take harder qualifications, and those in grammar schools even harder still. Any comparison of grades achieved should therefore take account of these differences (Section 6.4, p144).”
“The most socially selective state schools in the country are ‘nonselective’ schools. These socially selective schools are more likely to be Voluntary Aided or CTCs, to be single sex, faith schools, larger than average and drawing from more competed wards.”
“In terms of raw KS4 (GCSE) results, it is clear that pupils in grammar schools do much better.”
“The schools that are affected by grammar schools, in terms of losing pupils to them, are performing no differently from all other schools (Section 8.3.4, 215). Although these analyses
indicate that grammar school pupils appear to make greater progress from KS2 to KS4 than other pupils, we also find that these same pupils were already making more progress from KS1 to KS2 (ie in their primary school).” [All the above from the Executive Summary, pages iii to vi.]
The Sutton Trust has published research on school choice and socio-economic disadvantage.
The summary of the report and the full report will be posted on the Trust’s website at: www.suttontrust.com
It states clearlynin the executive summary:
The ways in which school choice and selection operate to reinforce disadvantage within the system as a whole are complex and subtle. Abolishing grammar schools, without addressing these systemic problems, might do little or nothing to increase fairness overall.”
we found no evidence that the performance of secondary moderns, or any schools creamed by grammars, was different from other schools.
In light of this Sutton Trust reserach combined with evidence that many primary schools in Belfast such as Harmony Primary School (one of the first “enriched curriculum” schools) have a history of entering no pupils for the 11-plus transfer test it must fall to the DENI to admit failure in their efforts to improve social mobility opportunities for the disadvantaged.
A story in today’s Daily Mail may be a sign of things to come for Northern Ireland Grammar Schools.
Competition appears to have intensified during the credit crunch as parents shun private schools in favour of cheaper alternatives.
Research published by the Good Schools Guide shows that applications at almost one in five private schools have tumbled by 10 per cent in four years. The main winners appear to be academically selective schools such as Wallington County Grammar, which dominate league tables without demanding fees.
Robert McCartney QC, chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, said that
applications across the country have risen in a ‘record year’. In Kent alone, the number of children applying has risen from just over 9,000 to 11,000.
‘Because of the poor state of the comprehensive system, they are desperate to get their children into grammar schools.’
With the current state of affairs in the Northern Ireland education system the remaining grammar schools can look forward to similar popularity so long as their admission procedures include the 11-plus equivalent
A Survey of primary school pupils has confirmed what their parents have repeatedly told government
Pupils want to keep the 11-plus transfer test.
Less than 10% of pupils feel pressured by the 11-plus
Perhaps the Minister of Education should apologise for misrepresenting their views.
The following warning to parents about comprehensivation was published in the Newsletter on 1st December 2004.
Platform – Future of education rests firmly on shoulders of parental choice.
Byline: STEPHEN ELLIOTT, PARENTAL ALLIANCE FOR CHOICE IN EDUCATION NORTHERN IRELAND
THE debate over changes to post-primary arrangements has trundled on for over five years.
Despite initial efforts to make consultation open and transparent, the Government has used their direct rule majority in Westminster to impose their preferred solution.
Legislation activity is currently proceeding unchallenged while the public think that no news is good news.
However, the forces behind the education upheaval raise basic questions that all parents must ask and answer for themselves.
Do parents recognise the two phases of comprehensivisation? The first has been sold to the public as a means of raising academic standards for pupils across the ability range. Just recall the Gallagher, Burns or Costello reports for evidence.
The failure to deliver on this promise has been a public relations blow to its proponents. The excellent academic results from our children in Northern Ireland provide an inconvenient obstacle.
Those ideologically committed to comprehensive education do not wish to see any child excluded from a school on the grounds of academic ability or socio-economic background.
There would be little point to these planned common schools, however, if pupils were segregated within them. Especially since ability and performance are highly correlated with social class.
The comprehensive principal requires that each school and each group within a school should contain a complete cross-section of the population at large – in respect of ability and socio-economic group.
In order for the comprehensive principal to be activated, the responsible authority must strictly control the intake to the school. Hence the need for new entrance criteria. These are to be used to further restrict parental choice.
On the subject of equality and competition, the political arguments raise their heads. Meritocratic principals form the basis of differentiated education and an egalitarian philosophy underlies comprehensive education. You must choose which to accept on behalf of your children.
These philosophies are powered by opposite ideas as to the nature of the child, his learning and the good society. The distinction between the meritocratic and the egalitarian corresponds to the distinction between “equality of opportunity” and “equality of results”.
A society that shuns equality of opportunity in favour of equality of results will try to prevent anyone with natural talent, whether it is artistic, athletic or academic from excelling or developing their talent to the full.
The communists learned to value competition highly because it encouraged all to do their very best, even if their contributions were necessarily unequal – for the sake of society as a whole.
This enlightened approach to competition seems preferable to labelling hard-working youngsters as “failures” if they do not do as well as their equals.
A differentiated education system with lateral transfer ensures the maximisation of opportunities.
In the first phase of comprehensivisation the emphasis was on ability and socioeconomic grouping; a political clash of interests between different socio-economic groups.
The oft-cited Household Survey represented the views of the people who matter, yet Government and educational policy wonks ignore their will and input.
So what can you do? Demonstrate your rejection of the Costello recommendations and their implementation by joining the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education.
Only parents can decide the future of the education landscape for Northern Ireland on behalf of their children. No one else counts. Act today.
The Parental Alliance for Choice in Education have drawn attention to the latest example of controlled schools being “transformed” into integrated status
Read the Belfast Newsletter story here.
Parents wishing to support the Ballymoney parents complaining about the conduct of the school governors, North Eastern Education and Library Board and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education should contact on firstname.lastname@example.org
11-plus, academic selection, Add new tag, conservative party, David Cameron, Democratic Unionist Party, Grammar Schools, National Grammar Schools Association, NGSA, Robert McCartney, Tory, Ulster Unionist Party
A prominent Northern Ireland QC has sent an Open Letter to Conservative |Party leader David Cameron on behalf of the National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA)
Read the letter here.
The letter was sent prior to the Conservative Party Confernce in Birmingham. It is remarkable that so little has been reported from Northern Ireland MLAs and MPs given that many attended the Conservative Conference and hosted fringe meetings.
Has the cat got their collective tongue or are deals underway to guarantee the destruction of Northern Ireland’s academic selection system and with it grammar schools via the Tories and their Unionist friends?
Parents must decide if the failed position of political and church leaders will be allowed to destroy their child’s right to a suitable education.