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Having subjected Northern Ireland parents to a decade of disruption and confusion over the selective system of education in Northern Ireland Professor Tony Gallagher and Professor Alan Smith have been reduced to becoming mere commentators for the Belfast Telegraph. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/education/post-primary-selection/experts-offer-ten-ways-to-resolve-the-transfer-muddle-14562283.html

It will hardly escape the notice of most that while Professor Gallagher and the Belfast Telegraph are calling for Caitriona Ruane to “Sit Down and Sort it Out” it is Professor Gallagher’s advice and research to the DENI that created the mess in the first place.

Compare and contrast the statements from Prof T. Gallagher made this week to the research he was paid for delivering to the DENI in 1998.

 “A decade of debate has produced no consensus, only a self-interested battle of wills between the Minister and the grammar lobby in which the only losers are our children. The chaos must not be allowed to continue. St Andrews means responsibility for re-establishing a regulated system rests with the DUP and Sinn Fein. Can we end the injustice of early, high stakes selection and preserve the academic traditions of the grammar schools? Some form of selection at age 14 fits with the revised Northern Ireland Curriculum and with collaboration in area learning communities. It can advance the goal of making every school a good school, and give every child genuine curriculum choice and a guarantee of a high quality education.

If the politicians don’t buy this, then let them take no more than three years to come up with an alternative agreed solution and, in the interim, establish a simplified system of selection at 11 which restricts grammar schools to grade A pupils only. This will give all schools the stability they need to educate our children, while our elected representatives face their responsibility to prove that shared government can in fact work.”

Professor Tony Gallagher, Head Of School Of Education at Queen’s University, Belfast Telegraph November 13,2009 


Now look  back to November 1998 and the research published by the DENI written by Gallagher. http://gtcni.openrepository.com/gtcni/handle/2428/13956 

“the researchers have concluded that the evidence of this study does not suggest that it provides a better alternative to the 11+ system used throughout the rest of Northern Ireland. In particular, the evidence does not suggest that the two-tier system provides a better educational experience for less able pupils than the 11+ system.”

Title:  An evaluation of the Craigavon Two-Tier System RB 6/1998
Issue date:  Nov-1998

Instead of parroting the flawed and contradictory views of Professor Gallagher the entire political body of MLAs and those omnipresent  “education experts” should hold him to account for his flawed analysis. Professor Gallagher seems more concerned with propping up the Assembly mandatory coalition  than admitting his role in helping to undermine and destroy and education system that worked for the vast majority.