For those submitting a response to the DENI Numeracy and Literacy Strategy Consultation which closes at the end of November it may be helpful to reflect upon a remark made by a member of the Westminster Public Accounts Committee who had noted that about 40% of young teenagers had not reached the mathematics level expected for their age.

Labour MP Ian Davidson, a member of the committee, said there was “an enormous discrepancy between Catholic and Protestant children”.

“This is particularly in Belfast, in working class areas, which we find very difficult to explain.”

The committee had used research carried out in Glasgow for a comparison of education standards between Catholic and Protestant children.

He added:

“What was absolutely clear was that in Northern Ireland, (Catholic) youngsters from deprived working class areas did much better – in terms of results – than did their Protestant equivalents.

“Their Protestant equivalents were those who were out from the norm.”

Perhaps the Protestant Church leaders should have addressed this fundamental issue prior to their joint statement with the Catholic Church on transfer at 14.

Perhaps they have neglected to examine the damning evidence of the Early Years Enriched Curriculum experiment for which Betty Orr and her evangelist colleagues were responsible for endorsing.

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