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.